Western forces Warriors to share;
Bulldogs earn co-champion nod, top seed in
conference tourney through 72-65 victory
Copyright The Trib
By MATT BANEY
OF THE TRIBUNE
10 minutes, it appeared that the Lewis-Clark
State women were on the verge of two
accomplishments. They were going to rout
Montana-Western, and they were going to do
permanent damage to the Bulldogs' psyche.
Then again, when has an LCSC-UMW game
ever been decided in the first 10 minutes?
Thanks to their frenzied defense, the
Warriors scooted to an early 10-point edge.
But Western eventually found its footing,
took a surprising halftime lead and bagged a
72-65 win on Saturday night at the Activity
This weighty regular-season finale leaves
the sixth-ranked Warriors and 10th-ranked
Bulldogs with the same Frontier Conference
record -- 11-3. So the longtime rivals will
share the league title.
But thanks to tiebreakers, UMW will be
the top seed in this week's conference
tournament at Butte, Mont. LCSC, the second
seed, will face No. 7 Great Falls in the
opening round Wednesday at 1 p.m. PST.
The Warriors (24-5 overall) are a lock
for the NAIA national tournament. But they
missed the chance to claim sole ownership of
the conference championship.
"It's disappointing," LCSC coach Brian
Orr said. "You've got the table set, and
you're expecting a great meal ... and
somebody burned the potatoes. I don't know.
It's just one of those things. You feel like
you had everything going our way, you just
couldn't close the deal."
Cami Kalbfleisch, a senior from Lewiston
playing her last home game, drained a
3-pointer 20 seconds into the game. That
spurred the Warriors to leads of 13-3 and
But over the final 10 minutes of the
half, the Bulldogs used outside shooting to
generate a 17-5 blitz. They led 25-23 at
The Bulldogs (25-5 overall) pushed the
margin to nine points in the second half,
but eventually had to hold off an LCSC
With a 3-pointer by Janeen Nelson and two
free throws from Aundrea Morrison, the
Warriors cut their deficit to 59-58 with
Then, with LCSC's defense scrambling
around them, the Bulldogs missed three
3-pointers on one possession. But they got
an offensive rebound each time. Katherine
Sunwall was fouled on the third carom, and
she made two free throws.
On UMW's next possession, Sunwall found
some open territory under the hoop, got a
pass and tossed in a layup. That made it a
three-point game with 1:16 left.
The Warriors' ensuing chance marked the
last time they had a shot to tie the game.
Kalbfleisch missed a 3, and Ashley Baker
couldn't hit a follow hook shot.
Guards Megan Schmitz and Billi Suhr
provided UMW with nervy second-half play.
Those two combined for 36 points and six
"Once we relaxed a little bit, we started
making a few shots," Bulldogs coach Kevin
Engellant said. "... It was just a matter of
staying with it and not getting frustrated."
Meanwhile, the Warriors couldn't
duplicate the crispness they showed early.
They often had trouble advancing the ball
against UMW's extended-court pressure.
"The real letdown for us was more than
anything ... we didn't get aggressive," Orr
said. "We were so passive against their
press, and their press really wasn't that
intense. But we just didn't attack it."
NOTES -- Thanks to foul shots, the final
20 seconds of the game saw plenty of
scoring. UMW tossed in nine points, and LCSC
put up five. Also in the closing seconds,
Sunwall, a 6-1 junior, dislocated a finger
when poking at a pass. She went to the
locker room, and the finger was popped back
into place. Engellant said the team would
have Sunwall X-rayed. ... The Bulldogs will
face No. 8 Montana Tech in the tournament's
first round. UMW and LCSC will both have
Thursday off if they win Wednesday.
MONTANA-WESTERN (25-5, 11-3)
O'Neil 4-9 2-3 10, Sunwall 4-7 5-8 13,
Kain 1-5 4-4 7, Schmitz 5-14 8-10 20, Suhr
6-13 0-1 16, Scott 2-5 0-0 6, Shea 0-4 0-0
0, Day 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-57 19-26 72.
LEWIS-CLARK STATE (24-5, 11-3)
Hart 2-4 2-2 6, Fulbright 0-3 2-4 2,
Kalbfleisch 2-9 0-0 6, Baker 6-11 6-9 18,
Morrison 4-11 4-4 12, Wittmer 2-5 0-0 6,
Preston 0-0 0-0 0, Yancheva 0-2 0-2 0,
Nelson 3-5 0-1 8, West 3-5 1-2 7. Totals
22-55 15-24 65.
Halftime score -- UMW 25, LCSC 23.
Three-point goals -- UMW 9-30 (O'Neil 0-1,
Kain 1-4, Schmitz 2-7, Suhr 4-10, Scott 2-5,
Shea 0-3); LCSC 6-19 (Fulbright 0-1,
Kalbfleisch 2-9, Wittmer 2-4, Yancheva 0-1,
Nelson 2-4). Rebounds -- UMW 37 (Sunwall
15); LCSC 41 (Morrison 11). Assists -- UMW
12 (Schmitz, Suhr 4); LCSC 13 (three with
3). Total fouls -- UMW 20; LCSC 21.
Technical fouls -- none. Fouled out --
O'Neil, Sunwall, Hart.