BUTTE – A couple of challenges were on the table as the Montana Tech women’s basketball team opened its 2017-18 campaign, Saturday night at the HPER Complex.
The Orediggers obviously wanted to win but some of the spectators in the crowd wondered if they could surpass the 93 points scored by the Montana Tech football team earlier in the day.
Carly Sanon’s squad did both.
Kaylynn Coverdell scored a game-high 15 points, while Shay Potter and Sammy McGree added 10 apiece to pace the Orediggers to a 102-32 win over Yellowstone Christian.
Eleven of Tech’s 12 players scored points and the Orediggers finished the game with 24 assists to the Centurions’ four.
“We lost our two leading scorers from last year in Hattie Thatcher and Martha Dembeck,” Sanon said. “We lost three of our five starters so we have some big holes to fill. I thought there were a lot of things we did well.
“Kaylynn came out and had a great night for us. She had 15 points, seven rebounds and five steals. She is a two-year starter coming into this and she really stepped up. And she really stepped into that leadership role, which has been good because losing those seniors from last year, we really needed some leaders coming in.”
Kaylynn Coverdell wasn’t the only player who helped lessen the blow that came with losing Thatcher and Dembek.
Hannah Sparks (nine points) showed positive signs as one of the team’s on-the-court leaders, and the return of Sammy McGree was also a blessing. McGree, who was out for the majority of last season with an injury, played in 22 games as a freshman, averaging 12.6 points per game.
“It was good to see Sammy McGree back,” Sanon said of the Butte High grad. “In the last week, I’ve started to see a lot of glimpses of what she was like her freshman year. She just keeps getting more experienced but she ended up with 10 (points) and played really well.”
The Orediggers were bigger, faster and had more experienced than their opponent on Saturday night and bounced out to a 28-6 lead after the opening quarter. The lead swelled to 59-14 by halftime, taking any suspense out of the game’s outcome.
Sanon was able to get all of her players in the game, including true freshmen Hailey Crawford, Mesa Williams and Mollie Peoples. Peoples and Williams combined to score 13 points and Crawford was stout on defense.
Williams was second on the team with eight rebounds, while Kaylee Zard had 10 and came one point shy of a double-double.
A couple of areas of concern to Sanon didn’t fade away despite the one-sided win. But she realizes that it’s still early in the season and that there is work to be done on several levels.
“I’ve been preaching about turnovers and rebounding and those were the two things that we struggled with (Saturday),” she said. “But it was good for them to see it against somebody else as something that we need to work on.
"We’re small, we’re fast but we’ve got to box out and get rebounds. They (Yellowstone Christian) had nine offensive boards so it’s something we can get good at. We had 11 turnovers in the second half. Those are things that we’ve been really preaching on as something to get better.
“There were a lot of good things and things we need to work on. It’s nice to get out of here 1-0 and now we’ll focus on rebounding and not turning the ball over as much.”
Taneil Poitier led the Centurions (0-1) with 10 points.