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MSUB dominates Providence in home opener

Courtesy MSUB Athletics.
Courtesy MSUB Athletics.
Spencer Martin

Editor’s note: This is a release from MSUB Sports Information.

BILLINGS, Mont. – Scoring early and often, Montana State University Billings dominated University of Providence 91-59 behind a 17 point, seven-rebound performance by Taylor Cunningham at Alterowitz Gymnasium Saturday night in women’s basketball. Hannah Collins led MSUB with 18 points, four assists and four rebounds. Freshman Shayla Montague was also effective with 14 points and nine rebounds in the non-conference exhibition contest.

The Yellowjackets (0-3) out-rebounded the Argonauts (2-1) 39-26 with 10 coming from the offensive glass. MSUB achieved a positive start after a 3-pointer by Shayla Montague and a fast break layup by Hannah Collins led to a 15-4 opening run. MSU Billings shot 52-percent in the first half with Collins and Cunningham both elevating to double-figures before the break.

“Shayla is a really good shooter and I was happy to see her have success tonight,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “She plays with a lot of poise for someone that young and she hit that first shot that kind of got us going right away from the 3-point line.”

Providence pushed back in the third quarter but the Yellowjackets ramped up their offensive efficiency again in the fourth to pull away 91-59.

“It was nice to build that early lead which was something we didn’t do in our first four games of the season,” Woodin said. “I really liked our focus today. I felt we rebounded really well in the first half, which helped create more offensive opportunities and we shot the ball much better and made the extra pass a lot more tonight which was good to see.”

Emilee Maldonado and Esary Parker led the Argos with 15 points apiece, though Cunningham was largely responsible for holding Providence top-scorer Bailey Cartwright to six points on the night. The Yellowjackets also shot 52.3-percent from the field (34-for-65) and 48.4-percent from 3-point range (15-for-31).

MSU Billings received scoring contributions from 12 players and had a combined 33 points off the bench. Among non-starters, TyLee Manuel led the charge with nine points, eight rebounds, and 4-for-4 shooting. Emily St. John chipped in eight points and had four assists off the bench.

“Our younger players are starting to settle in,” Woodin said. “I felt TyLee and Shayla played their best game so far. We need some of these freshmen to continue to earn minutes. It’s the mixture with our returning players that is going to make us successful.”

Seniors Jeanann Lemelin and Cunningham marked seven assists apiece to add to MSUB’s total of 25 helpers. The ‘Jackets also limited turnovers to 12. Conversely, Providence committed 18 turnovers and tabbed seven assists in the loss.

The Yellowjackets resume non-conference play on Wednesday, November 13 at Black Hills State University at 6 p.m. MSUB begins play in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference on December 5 against Simon Fraser University.

THE BUZZ: Taylor Cunningham was named St. Vincent Healthcare player of the game for MSUB.

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