HELENA — The Carroll College women's basketball team started 2024 off on the right foot, rolling to a 91-68 win over Milligan (Tenn.) University inside the P.E. Center Monday.
Two days earlier, Milligan kicked off its Montana road trip with a nail-biting 64-62 victory over Providence.
Both Providence and Carroll wrapped up their non-conference schedules with the games against Milligan and now turn their attention to the Frontier Conference slate. For the Saints, they begin league play with a 9-3 overall record and ranked fifth in the NAIA top 25.
“We kind of split the season up in parts, and, you know, the first season is over, the preseason is over. The second season’s conference, third season’s Frontier Tournament and hopefully the fourth season is the national tournament," said Rachelle Sayers, who is entering her 13th season as head coach of the Carroll women’s basketball program. "And so, we’re stepping into this conference season 0-0, and we know we’re going to get everybody’s best effort every night, and so we have to be ready to step up and do the same to our opponents."
Carroll graduate student and returning super senior Erica Nessan said the win over Milligan is just what the Saints needed heading into Frontier play.
“It was a great win, especially heading into our first conference game on Saturday, just a really big confidence booster," Nessan said. "Every game in conference is going to be tough, there’s no easy games from here on out. Our conference is one of the best for sure, and everybody knows everybody’s strengths, so that’s the toughest part about our conference.”
The Saints will head to Great Falls on Saturday to take on Providence in the conference opener for both teams. The Argos also had a strong start to their season, going 9-4 in non-conference play and climbing to No. 16 in the NAIA top 25.
“These are some great teams that we’re about to play, very well coached, the Frontier is super competitive, so I’m really excited for that," said Jamie Pickens, Carroll's leading scorer at 17.3 points per game. "We play these team’s three times, so when it comes down to it, it’s just who wants it more."
Tipoff is at 2 p.m. at the McLaughlin Center Gymnasium in Great Falls.