The phrase goes, "Act like you’ve been there before," and, to be frank, the Carroll College women's basketball team has been there before. The Fighting Saints women won their third Frontier Conference title in four years on Monday, but it was the proverbial road the Carroll College women had to take to get to that title that was different.
"This year has just been so tough with COVID and no fans and canceled games," said Carroll College senior Christine Denny.
A season dictated by COVID-19 was something that nobody foresaw, but it's a year Fighting Saints head coach Rachelle Sayers and her players will never forget.
“I think just the year that we were in and how hard it was to get here and how hard it was to stay here and then be able to finish the year -- I mean, we lost a bunch of games down the stretch that we didn't get to play. So just to know that you're going to get to play and you're going to get to compete makes it that much more rewarding," said Sayers. "The battles that these guys went through weren't always in the game or on the court, they were just trying to get to that point."
With the win in the Frontier Conference tournament, the Fighting Saints women locked up a berth into the NAIA national tournament. A little less than a year ago, that exact same opportunity was pulled out from under the Fighting Saints, which is why the team pushed through this season with little to lose.
“I'm super excited. I mean, last year we learned how quickly that can be taken away, and so I think we try to seize every opportunity that we get," said Denny. "That's exactly what we did (Monday), knowing that tomorrow isn't promised and our national tournament really isn't even promised at this point. But we're really looking forward to hopefully making it all the way to Sioux City (Iowa, the final site of the national tournament).”
The Carroll College women will find out who they face in the regional round of the NAIA national tournament on Thursday.