BUTTE — The last time Montana Tech women’s basketball team got a win, it was an upset over Providence in the HPER Complex just over weeks ago.
On Friday evening, they were able to do what they did that night, once again ֫— upset a ranked Argos squad and break a three-game skid. Behind a strong fourth quarter surge and 17 points from Mesa Williams, the Orediggers were able to grab a 66-57 win over the No. 20 Argos.
“I had a meeting this week with Mesa where we went and watched the film from the Rocky and Carroll games,” Tech head coach Carly Sanon said. “We talked about, for her, she’s got to shoot the ball. She can’t be scared. She has the green light and she has to do it.
“She’s such a great shooter. The more times she shoots, the better.”
Williams gave Tech the lead for good on a deep 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter and followed it up with another moments later. The sophomore out of White Sulphur Springs hit three triples on the day and scored eight points in the final frame.
Mollie Peoples — who finished with 16 points — made it a three-possession game with a little over four minutes left on the clock, which gave Tech some breathing room it ultimately needed. Providence was able to claw back and got the game within four points, but could not get the stop it needed.
Reaching for a steal with around 45 seconds left on the clock, Providence’s Tristian Murphy fouled Peoples. The sophomore Tech guard from Butte Central hit both free throws, again making it a three-possession game.
“We didn’t follow our defensive gameplan,” Providence head coach Bill Himmelberg said. “I thought we did through three quarters. In the fourth quarter we didn’t and they took advantage of it. If you don’t communicate bad things are going to happen.”
The squads traded baskets to start the game, with the Argos holding a two-point lead after the first quarter. Providence extended the lead early in the second quarter, but following a timeout at the 5:54 mark Tech was able to pull the deficit to just three by halftime.
The Orediggers seemed to recommit themselves to the defensive side of the ball and the Argos scored just four points over the period from the timeout on. Tech forced Providence into a shot clock violation and had several other defensive possessions that ended in bad Argo shots or turnovers.
“I said, what happened at Rocky, in the end of the third quarter? We missed shots,” Sanon said of the timeout. “That puts so much pressure on your defense to get stops. Our defense then just went to the next level and we started scoring.
“I’m really happy with how they responded after that timeout.”
The win moves the Orediggers to 12-8 on the year with a 2-7 mark in the Frontier Conference. Providence, meanwhile, moves to 14-8 overall and 3-7 in conference play. The Argos were coming off an overtime game Thursday night against MSU-Northern.
Himmelberg was not happy with how the schedule has played out.
“It’s a horrible schedule, I’m not going to lie. Tech sat here all week and prepared for us Monday through Friday,” Himmelberg said. “The last time we lost here we had to play Northern two days before and Tech had a week to prepare for us. If you give Carly, a good coach, a week to prepare for you it’s going to be a tough night.
“I’m not making excuses but the schedule does us no favors. It’s an unbalanced, unfair schedule.”