Game recap courtesy of Carroll Sports Information.
HELENA, Mont. - The No. 11 Carroll College women entered the weekend needing just one win to clinch the outright Frontier Conference title. They took all drama out of the equation by taking care of business Thursday in a 49-42 win over Lewis-Clark State.
The win gives Carroll a first-round bye and home-court advantage throughout the conference tournament. The Saints will open the Frontier tournament against the lowest remaining seed on March 3 at the PE Center.
"I couldn't be prouder of this team," head coach Rachelle Sayers said. "They have been so committed and worked so hard. They are completely bought-in. It's been an amazing year. We are having a lot of fun and still working hard to get better every day. We don't have long to enjoy this one, but it feels great to know we were able to wrap things up tonight."
The Saints led nearly the entire game but never built a sizable lead over the Warriors.
LCSC freshman Peyton Souvenir hit a three-pointer for the first points of the game. It would prove to be the lone lead of the game for the defending conference champions. The Saints answered with a three-pointer from Bailey Pasta and never trailed again.
Both defenses shined, The Saints held the Warriors to just six points in the opening frame and took an 11-6 lead into the second quarter. The Saints extended that lead to 23-14 with 2:55 left in the half, but LCSC went on a 7-0 run to cut it to 23-21 with just over a minute to play.
Michaela Dowdy hit a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left, but LC cut the score to 25-24 on a three-pointer with 5 seconds before the break. Pasta took the outlet, dribbled just past mid-court and rattled in a long three at the buzzer to extend the lead back to 28-24 at the break.
The second half would be more defense and more back and forth basketball. The Saints built a 34-26 lead in the third quarter before Lewis-Clark scored seven straight to cut it to 34-33. The Saints responded and took a 40-35 advantage into the fourth.
Lewis-Clark cut the lead to 45-42 with just over three minutes to play, but the Carroll defense tightened up and the Warriors failed to find points for the rest of the game, and the Saints earned the seven-point win.
Dowdy and Taylor Salonen led Carroll with 10 points each and Salonen grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Four others scored six points.
Neither team shot particularly well. The Saints were 18-50 (36 percent) from the field, and LCSC was 15-46 (32.6 percent).
Carroll had 13 assists on 18 made shots.
The Saints close the regular-season with a game over second-place Montana Western. Carroll has the top seed locked up, but Saturday's game will carry the weight of momentum into the Frontier tournament.
Montana Tech has two games to play in the regular season, but the rest of the Frontier has just one. With current in mind and tiebreakers taken into consideration, the seeds are locked into place.
Carroll (14-3) will get a bye as the Conference champions. Montana Western (12-5, tiebreaker over RMC) is No. 2 and will host No. 7 MSU-Northern (2-15). Rocky Mountain (11-6, lost the tiebreaker to UMW) is the third seed and will host No. 6 Montana Tech (4-12). No. 4 Providence (9-8) will host No. 5 Lewis-Clark State (7-10).
The games will be played at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28. Winners will advance to the semifinals, Carroll will play the lowest remaining seed and the second-highest seed will host the third-highest on March 3, also at 7 p.m.