BUTTE – Montana Tech women’s basketball, fresh off Thursday afternoon’s 29-point win over St. Finished. Butte’s HPER Complex.
The Tech scored 30 points in the first quarter to defeat the Huskies 85-56 and lead for the second straight 40 minutes.
The Oredigars defense picked up from where they left off from their performance against St. Mary’s with a smothering full-court press.
Tavia Rooney and Aubrie Rademacher hit jumpers within the first 70 seconds to give Tech an early lead.
A three-pointer by Zera Penesa gave the Huskies their first points of the game with 2:51.
Ally deftly filled in two 3-pointers, one from the left corner and one from the top of the key, extending Tech’s lead to seven points before the first media break.
Liv Wangerin took the baseline feed and pushed the ball into the basket. She deftly filled in another of her 3-pointers from the left corner to put Orediggers up her 12 and Tech to her 17-5 and she forced a Keyano timeout.
Wangerin banked in and deftly initiated a pass into the lane fouled on the play. Wangerin hit a free throw and he extended Tech’s lead to 16 with 2:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Challis Westwater continued Tech’s ferocious scoring pace with assists on long field goals from Soda Rice and Macy Mayer.
Tech almost had a buzzer beater to end the first quarter. But the ball left Rooney’s hands a little too late. The Orediggers led 30-9 in his first ten minutes.
“We came back from Christmas and played really well the last two days,” Rooney said. is looking for that extra guy, we’re cutting and we’re passing. I have moved.”
“The girls mixed their zones well,” said Montana Tech head coach Jeff Graham. .”
Rademacher and Cleverly had 3-pointers within the first 90 seconds of the second quarter. Macy Mayer added a 3-pointer shortly after, and Madison Allen’s steals and layups in the backcourt helped Tech balance offense and defense for the Oredigars.
Panesa and Kayla Rutherod made baskets to keep the Huskies’ margin from the mid-20s to midway through the second quarter.
Mayer scored two goals with three minutes remaining, again forcing a timeout for Keyano.
“We were free to play around and have fun,” said Graham. “The new system allows teams to play tight. These girls are free to play and have fun.”
Laterod drove down the lane, scored and was fouled. Rutherod scored a free throw to cut the deficit to 21 with 2:10 left in the half.
Keyano had 12-of-16 shooting off the Charity Stripes in the first half.
A good defense at the top of the key by Rooney started a drive to the basket by McKayla Croker.
“I’ve played really well the last two days,” said Rooney, who had 18 points and 14 rebounds against St. Mary’s. “We did well on defense and that set up the offense well.”
Dani Ulic’s steal and assist led to Kia Wasson’s 3-point shot. Croker’s three-pointer with two seconds to play in the half gave Tech a 55–27 lead at the half.
The Orediggers had a 9-of-17 performance over the arc with 55.3% shooting from the field in the first half. Tech said he was 5/27 overall on Thursday against St. Mary.
The Orediggers’ gritty defense and constant passing in the offensive zone helped them win their chances. Wangerin, Rooney and Rademacher added assists to layups to extend the lead to 38 in the third quarter. Kia his Wasson rebound and layup in the paint beat the buzzer and Tech led the third quarter with his 70–30 lead.
“All energy starts in defense,” Rooney said. “Getting those turnovers early on half court helps pick up the tempo and helps us be more aggressive on offense. team to turn the ball over.”
“The defensive had a lot of hints and loose balls offboard,” Graham said. “It helped increase the number of paint points. Last year he had the most turnovers and offensively he had the fewest rebounds. Those are things we can control and set up offensive opportunities.”
Casey Golew’s five 3-point shots helped break into Keyano’s margin early in the fourth quarter.
Rademacher countered with a pair of turnaround jumpers in the Orediggers paint. Westwater’s pass to Wangerin topped his Keyano coverage in another Tech bucket. He deftly fed Wasson in the corner and played another Tech 3-pointer with 3:22.
The duo teamed for a 2-1 run down the court, skillfully sending a diagonal pass across the lane to Wasson, who sent the ball off the grass and into it. :44 Play.
Tech finished the game 34/75 (44.7%) from the floor. This includes his 23/10 (43.5%) from beyond the Ark.
Five Oredigers scored in double figures. Rademacher added 18, Rooney his 14, Cleverly his 13, Wangerin his 11 and Wasson his 10. Tech’s selflessness on the floor has led to success up and down the lineup, not to mention regular player rotation.
“It was fun to see five players in double digits and all the numbers in the scorebook shooting,” Rooney said. “It makes the bench looser and everyone gets a chance to contribute.”
“It’s cool to walk into the locker room and see the girls write down the three things they did best and the three things they struggled with,” Graham said. “Nobody cares who scores. They’re not taking bad shots. It was cool to see so many girls scoring.”
Keyano scored from the floor 49-17 (34.7%), which included 26-9 goals (34.6%). The Huskies were 8/9 from behind the 3-point line in the 4th quarter.
Gorieu led all scorers with 20 points and was highlighted with a 6-of-12 performance behind the arc. Penesa added his 13 points to Keyano.
The Orediggers won the turnover battle, forcing 27 turnovers and committing nine.
“Girls like to play uptempo,” said Graham. “It’s like it’s pushing us forward and pushing our shot forward. Someone like Ally (Cleverly) comes off the bench and hits a four straight. It inspires you.”
“I think this is exactly what we need to do to prepare for next week,” Rooney said. “To get a win and then some wins. We’ve been tumbling down a tunnel of losses. The energy is high and the mood is up.These games were exactly what we needed.”
Montana Tech (4-10) will be back in Frontier Conference action for two games next week. Orediggers hosts Carroll College on Thursdays at 7pm.
“These last two days have given me the confidence that I need to get back into conference play,” Graham said. “We were in Arizona and we played against two very good teams and we conceded some goals. We played great the last two days. It helped give me the experience.”