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Frontier Conference women’s basketball teams enter league play with three ranked in NAIA top 25

Ashlee Maldonado Providence WBB
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jan 02, 2024

GREAT FALLS — Non-conference games have concluded, and the games that matter most for Frontier Conference women's basketball teams will begin on Saturday.

No. 16 Providence, No. 12 Rocky Mountain, and No. 5 Carroll represent the Frontier in the NAIA top 25 polls after battling tough non-conference schedules. As the race for the conference title gets underway, here is a look at the current standings from top to bottom.

No. 12 Rocky Mountain: 11-1

The Battlin’ Bears are feeling good as they enter conference with the best record. They are the highest-scoring team in the conference with 78.1 points per game and doing it efficiently, as they lead the league in field goal percentage. Rocky has four players averaging double figures led by Morgan Baird. The Bears also lead in assist to turnover ratio at 1.35.

“The preseason was nice. We talked about that season is over and now we’re in conference season," said Rocky head coach Wes Keller. "And the big thing that sticks out in my mind that we need to continue to do is share the basketball on offense, be willing to make the extra pass to get the great shot versus just the good shot."

No. 5 Carroll: 9-3

Led by preseason player of the year Jamie Pickens, the Saints have gotten out to a hot start. Pickens is averaging 17.3 points per game, which puts her second in the conference. The Saints are the only team in the conference shooting above 80% from the free throw line, which has helped them stay in close games. In the three losses on their record, none have been by more than three points.

Montana Tech: 9-4

The Orediggers are a team that spreads the love. Tech has nine players that average six or more points but none that average double figures. The Diggers also rank last in the conference for points per game with 61 but sit at the top on the defensive side as they only give up 50.2 points per game.

“Feels like we have a lot things we are good at. The kids are figuring out their roles and they play so well together — very unselfish, very balanced scoring, and they’re great kids,” said head coach Jeff Graham. “I’m excited to see where we’re at, and hopefully we can finish some of the games we didn’t finish in the fourth quarter last year.”

No. 16 Providence: 9-4

The Argos started the season winning seven straight games with two of them being against a top 25 opponent. They faced four top 25 teams in total thus far and have been victorious against three of them. Of the four losses they have taken this season, only one of them has been by double digits.

“Our non conference schedule made us a lot better. We didn’t have any cupcakes on the schedule at all,” said head coach Bill Himmelberg.

Montana Western: 8-5

Jordan Sweeney (19.9 points per game) is leading the conference in scoring, and Shainy Mack (16.4) sits three spots behind at fourth. The duo has the Bulldogs scoring at the second-highest rate in the Frontier with 73.5 points per game, but the team will need to step it up defensively as league play begins. Western is currently in last place when it comes to points allowed, giving up 66.3 per game.

MSU Northern: 6-7

The Skylights are on a two-game win streak after blowing past Ambrose University and Lakeland University. Earlier in the preseason, they traveled to Hawaii for an exhibition game and handed a loss to NCAA Division II Chaminade University.

Northern is currently leading the conference in assists, averaging almost 19 per game.

The Frontier Conference slate begins Saturday with Rocky at Tech, MSUN at Western and Carroll at Providence. All three games tip off at 2 p.m.