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Westminster basketball: Women handle Montana State-Northern, 72-43

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Jan. 12 2013 11:45 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY – Behind four starters in double figures, the fourth-ranked Westminster College women’s basketball team defeated Montana State-Northern, 72-43, on Saturday night in the Behnken Field House.

Westminster wins for the eighth-straight time and is now 16-2 overall this season. The Griffins move to a perfect 5-0 in Frontier Conference play and remain tied atop the standings. MSU-Northern drops to 10-7 overall and 2-3 in the league.

“I was really proud of the team tonight,” head coach Shelley Jarrard said after the game. “We had balanced scoring, rebounded the ball and played unselfish.”

The Griffins shot 51.7 percent from the field in the first half to carry them to a 37-16 lead at intermission. They outscored Northern 21-7 over the final 8:33 of the period, and when Nicole Yazzie made a three as time expired in the half, Westminster had capped string of 10 straight points.

Westminster would score the opening nine points of the second half to open up a 30-point lead with 15 minutes reaming. The 24-2 run that spanned the two halves was snapped with a Laci Keller layup at the 14:55 mark of the second half. The Griffins would shoot 42.3 percent in the second half to cruise to the victory.

Cydney Tibbitts filled up the stat sheet for the Griffins. She narrowly missed a triple-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high seven assists. Kelsi Wells led the four players in double figures with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting while grabbing three rebounds and three assists. Yazzie finished with 13 points and seven rebounds and Allie Eastman added 10.

“I loved how aggressive Kelsi Wells was tonight,” Jarrard said. “She went to the basket tonight and finished with 19 points.”

Westminster finished the game at 47.3 percent from the floor and scored 28 points in the paint to just 16 by Northern. The Griffins made five treys and crashed the glass for a 43-23 edge on the boards. The Griffins scored 17 second chance points with 16 offensive rebounds and recorded 12 assists and only nine turnovers. They held the Sky Lights to 34.9 percent shooting and scored 20 points from 17 Northern turnovers.

Jordan Bruursema led Northern with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Nikki Tresch added eight points and made two triples.

Next up for the Griffins is a home game against Dickinson State (N.D.) on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the Behnken Field House.

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