(Editors note: Carroll College media release)
HELENA — In a battle between two NAIA giants, it was No. 14-ranked The Master’s that prevailed over No. 7 Carroll College 61-55 on Friday night in the PE Center.
The Saints forced 25 turnovers out of the squad from Santa Clarita, California, but were unable to translate enough of those into meaningful points.
“Execute a little better down the stretch and capitalize on some of those turnovers,” Saints coach Rachelle Sayers said of what more her team could have done.
The Saints held the lead the majority of the game, until The Master’s connected on a four-point play with four minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
TMU guard Hannah Forrar threw up a three-pointer and drew a foul, converting the foul shot to give the Mustangs a 52-50 lead with 3:26 left.
The Saints answered a minute later with a three of their own when Emma Madsen drilled one off an assist from Hannah Dean.
A 5-0 spurt by TMU gave them a lead the Saints couldn’t overcome, despite having good looks late.
The Saints lost Cassidy Kosena early in the first quarter. She returned to the game only to exit a few moments later. Her status going forward is unknown.
In her absence, the Saints relied on Brittney Johnson’s big shots in the first half to build a lead. Johnson went 3-of-4 from the three-point line to score 11 points and lead the Saints. The Saints bench scored 21 points on the night.
“I think we saw it last year when we lost Cassie and Sara (Chalich) early in the year and everybody responded,” Sayers said. “I’m super proud of them. I thought they battled to the very end. The Master’s is a great team. They’re a Top 25 team and they return all their starters from last year and added a 6-6 girl into the mix.”
Carroll battled the presence of 6-foot-6 Stephanie Soares, who finished with nine points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Her ability to change shots and defer the Saints
Now the Saints have to move on and prepare for Corban, which comes in Sunday for a matinee battle. The Warriors are coached by the Saints’ all-time leading scorer Bill Pilgeram.
“I thought it was a great battle,” Sayers said. “We don’t really have time to figure out the ifs and the buts. We have to turn around get ready for Sunday and be better.”