Carroll Men and Women Ready for Conference Play - News, Sports and Weather

Carroll Men and Women Ready for Conference Play

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HELENA - The Carroll men's basketball team hasn't entered conference season with double digit wins since 2010. Going into their opener at 11-3 the Saints have leaned on their post game to generate wins early, and it's not a formula they plan on ditching in conference.

"We've got a solid rebounding margin in the positive," said Saints men's head coach Carson Cunningham. "We're getting a lot of buckets down low. And that's helping us loosen things on the outside."

It's obvious the Saints are improving in year two under Carson Cunningham just based by the increased win totals. Players say his message has been consistent since day one, but that message may just be sinking in a little more this year.

"Last year he was still doing a good job with the game planning," said Saints sophomore guard Zach Taylor. "But this year I think it's us mostly. We're more focused on the game plan and are listening to what he has to say."

"We're deeper, and more athletic, and have more experience," said Cunningham. "All that should lend itself to familiarity and hopefully more efficient action."

On the women's side they enter conference with a 9-4 mark, and are already facing a pretty daunting task right off the bat on the road against #4 Westminster.

"We've never won there," said Saints women's head coach Rachelle Sayers. "We've only beaten them one time since I've been here. And they're excited about the challenge. They want to go step in there and see what they can do."

"We just have to match their intensity and their discipline," said Saints senior guard Bailey Snelling. "We beat them my sophomore year, and that was what we did. So hopefully we can do that when we go down to Utah."

Sayers says this is one of her deepest teams since she took over the program in 2011. With scoring inside and out, along with a deep bench, this is a team that could be poised for a long run.

"I definitely think that we have a bench, and we haven't had that in years past," said Sayers. "I think we have veterans that are doing a great job and giving us leadership."

"Our freshman have been big this year," said Snelling. "With Jordan Johnston coming off the bench that's also huge. And Cassidy Hashley has stepped up and has been great for us."

For the first time in several years both the Carroll men and women have the opportunity and talent to make the national tournament. But the only way both squads can reach that goal is with a solid conference season in 2015.
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