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Carroll wins overtime slugfest to advance to NAIA quarterfinals

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Posted at 9:36 PM, Mar 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-22 10:50:07-04

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Jamie Pickens battled foul trouble Thursday against Loyola (La.) in the Round of 16 at the NAIA women's basketball national championship, but the Carroll College All-American came up big when it mattered.

Pickens scored all seven Carroll points in overtime, helping the No. 2 seed Fighting Saints escape with a 58-55 win over the sixth-seeded Wolf Pack inside the Tyson Events Center.

Pickens played just 20 minutes, picking up her second foul four minutes into the game, her third foul four minutes into the second quarter and her fourth foul just one minute into the third period. Maddie Geritz also faced foul trouble throughout the game, leaving Meagan Karstetter and Isabelle Erickson to play extended minutes.

Karstetter and Erickson did their part, and Kyndall Keller picked up the scoring slack, as the Saints rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit. Trailing 25-12 with 3:30 to play in the second quarter and Pickens and Geritz on the bench, Karstetter scored a paint bucket to kick-start a 15-0 run to get Carroll back in the game. Keller scored seven points during the stretch, Willa Albrecht had four and Erickson had two.

Loyola's Taylor Thomas hit a 3-pointer to end the half and give the Wolf Pack a 28-27 lead going to the break. The teams wouldn't be separated by more than five points throughout the second half.

The Saints got the lead to 51-46 with 5:40 to play in the game on consecutive baskets from Erickson and Pickens, but Carroll went scoreless the rest of regulation, allowing Loyola to rally to force overtime.

The Saints advanced to the quarterfinal round of the national tournament despite shooting just 35.9% from the field and 14.3% from 3-point range. They also had 20 turnovers but made up the possession difference with a 54-36 rebounding advantage.

Loyola made only 31% of its shots from the field and turned the ball over 15 times.

Keller paced Carroll with 16 points, 11 rebounds and three assists, while Geritz also had a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds. Pickens managed 11 points, five rebounds and three assists, and Kartstetter added eight points and four rebounds.

Loyola was led by Caitlin Travis with 16 points and Thomas with 14.

Carroll will now play fourth-seeded Dakota State (S.D.), which knocked the Saints out of the 2023 tournament. Dakota State eliminated No. 1 seed Indiana Wesleyan with a 76-65 win Thursday.

Carroll (27-5) and Dakota State (28-6) will tip off at 2 p.m. (MDT) Saturday, with the winner clinching a berth in the national semifinals.