(Editor's Note: Carroll College media release)
HELENA -- The nets took a beating in the PE Center on Friday night.
The Fighting Saints scorched the nylon, while the Bulldogs matched, but it was No. 17-ranked Carroll that found the right combination late to take down No. 22-ranked Montana Western 80-77.
The Saints (13-5, 5-1 Frontier Conference) shot 50 percent from the field and 47 percent from the three-point line (14-for-30), while the Bulldogs (10-6, 3-2) shot 61 percent from the field and 57 percent from deep.
"That was an unbelievable matchup," Saints coach Rachelle Sayers said. "To think we'd win a game when they come into our place and shoot 61 percent... I like to think we're a pretty good defensive team, but that tells you how good that Western team is. I would have never guessed we were going to take 30 threes. For them to come in and shoot that well... I'm just so proud of these kids figuring out whatever it takes to win."
The teams traded blows throughout the game, warming up until an explosive fourth quarter where the Saints outscored the Bulldogs 30-27. Carroll nailed 67 percent of its shots in the final period.
Junior guard Danielle Wagner led the Saints with 18 points, while Christine Denny added in 17, Sienna Swannack scored 13, Jaidyn Lyman added 10 and Taylor Salonen added 10.
The Bulldogs got a game-high 25 points from Shannon Worster (9-for-12).
The Saints spent the game executing against a disciplined matchup zone from Western, oftentimes finding the open shooter in corner of the court.
"We knew the corners would be open against the matchup zone," Sayers said. "We had a decent idea of some of the things they had done before. I was pleased with how we moved the ball against it."
The win keeps the Saints in control of the top spot in the Frontier Conference. For the Saints, it was their second win over a Top 25 team this week and their sixth consecutive win overall.
"I can't imagine a better women's basketball game," Sayers said. "It was just shot after shot, one team matching the other team. It was just a really well-played game."
Next week, the Saints travel to Montana State-Northern and visit Providence as the second-third of the Frontier Conference schedule gets underway.