by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Montana Tech Orediggers used a strong second half to spoil the Whitworth Pirates' season opener, winning 68-52 in both teams' first game at the Whit Classic.
Mollie Peoples led Montana Tech (6-1) with 14 points off the bench, and Megan Dorney led the Pirates (0-1) with 16 points and 9 rebounds in her first collegiate game.
After a back-and-forth start to the game, the Orediggers used a three-pointer from Mesa Williams to key 5-0 run and finish the first quarter with an 18-13 lead. Whitworth struggled to shoot from deep early on, with Camy Aguinaldo contributing the Bucs' only make from three in the first quarter and Alli Kieckbusch knocking down the only triple in the second quarter.
Despite the cold shooting from beyond the arc, the Pirates steadied the ship in the second quarter, using five points off turnovers to head into halftime down 34-29. Dorney led the Bucs with six points in the period.
Montana Tech took control of the game after the break with a 6-2 run that extended its lead to 40-31. Kaylee Zard scored four of the Orediggers' points in the run. After a bucket from Madison Moffat cut the lead to 7, an 8-0 run pushed Montana Tech's lead out to 48-33.
Whitworth pulled back within eight after a trey from Aguinaldo at the end of the third quarter and cut its deficit to five in the fourth following another three from Shannon Tran, but couldn't pull even with Montana Tech. Slowly but surely, the Orediggers pulled their lead back out to their 16-point final margin.
Three Orediggers finished the game in double-figures. In addition to Peoples' 14 points, Zard scored 11 and Mesa Williams added ten points. Zard's 13 rebounds gave her a double-double.
Aguinaldo and Dorney were the only Pirates to finish in double-figures. Aguinaldo also assisted on seven Whitworth buckets. Lexi Tinney added six points off the bench for the Bucs.
Up next, both teams remain in Spokane for the second day of the Whit Classic. Whitworth takes on Texas-Tyler at 7:00 p.m. and Montana Tech battles Whitman at 5:00 p.m. Both games will be in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
Game 1: Whitman 74, UT-Tyler 62
Makana Stone's 24 points and 10 rebounds led the Whitman Blues past the Texas-Tyler Patriots in the inaugural game of the 2018-19 Whit Classic.
The Blues dominated from the outset, taking a 21-13 lead after the first quarter and a 45-23 into the half. Stone's 18 first half points led Whitman.
Tyreesha Blaylock was the lone Patriot to reach double figures with 10 points. She also added five rebounds, including three offensive boards. Mady Burdett and Kaelin Shamseldin joned Stone in double-figures with 12 points each for the Blues.