Montana Western, Lewis-Clark State win NAIA Championship openers

BILLINGS – The Frontier Conference is off to a 2-0 start at this year’s NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championships.

A slow start didn’t deter top-seeded Montana Western in Wednesday’s 8 p.m. game, as the Bulldogs trailed early but raced by Georgetown (Ky.) 89-69.

The Tigers opened leads of 8-1 and 14-6 before Western hit the gas pedal for a 27-21 lead after the opening quarter. The Bulldogs never trailed again, improving to 26-4 on the season. Their largest lead was by 28 points with 3:23 to play.

Tori Anderson led Western in scoring with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Savanna Bignell added 14, Shannon Worster 13 and 2019 WCBA NAIA Player of the Year Brianna King had 11. The Bulldogs shot almost 55 percent for the game.

Georgetown (21-11) placed three players in double-digit scoring, led by Madison Darnell with 14 to go with a team-high six rebounds. Lydia Graves chipped in with 11 points and Raegan Williams had 10.

Western meets Lyon College at 2:15 p.m. on Friday.

Lewis-Clark State College 64, William Penn College (Iowa) 58

Sixth-seeded Lewis-Clark state opened with a mild afternoon upset over third-seeded William Penn College from Iowa, 64-58. The Warriors nearly led wire-to-wire with the exception of giving up a brief fourth-quarter lead as part of a 10-2 William Penn run.

Trailing 58-55 with under four minutes to play, Lewis-Clark State closed the game on a 9-0 run, mostly with clutch free throw shooting, to advance.

Hailey Turner led the Warriors (21-11) with 13 points, followed by Abbie Johnson with 12. Jossilyn Blackman pulled down nine rebounds.

Nashti Nwagbaraocha led William Penn (30-3) in both scoring and rebounding with 22 points and 11 boards.

Lewis-Clark State will face LSU Alexandria in the next round at 10:45 a.m. Friday. The Warriors are led by Livingston native Brian Orr, who is now coaching in his 15th NAIA National Tournament with Lewis-Clark State.

Livingston native Brian Orr huddles with his Lewis-Clark State team during Wednesday’s opening round win over William Penn College at the NAIA Women’s National Basketball Championship in Billings. (SCOTT BREEN/MTN Sports photo)
Scott Breen

Scott Breen

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