Montana-Western Downs Bearcats, 58-46, at Westminster College Tournament

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The University of Montana-Western outscored Willamette University 34-21 in the second half to overcome a 25-24 halftime deficit and defeat the Bearcats, 58-46, in the opening round of the Westminster College Tournament, Nov. 29 in Salt Lake City. UMW, which competes in the NAIA, improved to 7-1. Willamette, from NCAA Division III, fell to 2-4 on the season.

Willamette was led in scoring by senior guard Laura Payne (Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) with 16 points. Payne also earned three rebounds and two assists. She was 3 of 5 on three-point shots. WU's leading scorer, Molly Fillion (Jr., G, Silverton, OR/Silverton HS/Linn-Benton HS), who entered the game averaging 17.2 points and 13.4 rebounds, was held scoreless, but led all players on both teams with 10 rebounds.

Jill Dana recorded 13 points, four rebounds and five assists for Montana-Western. The Lady Bulldogs have won six consecutive games.

UMW opened the second half with a 7-0 run to take a 31-25 lead. Willamette pulled within 31-29 at the 15:58 mark on a basket by Jenny Fillion (Jr., G, Silverton, OR/Silverton HS/Linn-Benton HS).

The Bulldogs held a nine-point lead at 42-33 with 11:08 on the clock, but Willamette cut the lead to 46-42 on a free throw by Payne with 3:31 left. Laura Shea converted a traditional three-point play for UMW at the 3:07 mark and the Lady Bulldogs led by at least five points the rest of the way.

Willamette was very much in striking distance of UMW when Tracie Nygaard (Sr., F, Knappa, OR/Knappa HS) put in a basket with 2:05 left, pulling WU within 51-46. Montana-Western scored the final seven points in the last 1:14 of the game.

The Bulldogs shot 37.5% (21 of 56) and achieved a 39-31 rebounding edge. Willamette connected on 34.0% of its shots, as the Bearcats hit 18 of 53 field goals.

Willamette will conclude the tournament by taking on host Westminster College on Friday, Nov. 30. Game time is set for 5 p.m. (PST).

University of Montana-Western 58, Willamette University 46
(Originally entered in DakStats rather than Stat Crew - no play-by-play)