HELENA — Carroll College showed no signs of tired legs as the Saints defeated Northwest University 74-33 in women's basketball Thursday in the PE Center.
Carroll (3-0) beat St. Thomas 67-53 the previous day. Then, the Saints unleashed a torrid defense en route to a 41-point win Thursday.
“We haven’t had very many of those in my career here, so I’m not exactly sure,” Saints coach Rachelle Sayers said of the lopsided win. “I really liked the effort. We were much more disciplined tonight. We had four definite goals that we wanted to accomplish tonight that we weren’t great at yesterday.”
The Saints wanted to limit their turnovers, dominate the rebounds, move the ball around through their offense and outwork the Eagles. Statistically, the Saints cut their turnovers significantly from Wednesday (23 to 7) and did win rebounding (41-26). The Saints executed on offense, recording 15 assists as four players reached double figures. Carroll’s pressure defense also generated 21 turnovers.
“I was really proud of the players,” Sayers said. “They took it to heart, every single one of them, one to 11, got out there and did their job.”
The two teams exchanged barbs against each other’s 2-3 zone. Rebounding and trips to the free-throw line helped the Saints solve Northwest’s zone early. Carroll shifted from a zone to man-to-man defense and kept Northwest off balance.
“I like that we are mixing it up,” Carroll's Hannah Dean said. “The strategy that coach has allows us to play both man and zone at different times. We’re really buying into that. Tonight was really good. We kept girls in front of us and that allows for turnovers up top, easy scores.”
Freshman Jaidyn Lyman showed poise at the end of the first quarter, running a fast break and dropping the ball to a trailing Dean, who fired and sunk a 3 at -pointer at the buzzer for a 20-11 lead.
Lyman kept making plays in the second quarter, spearheading the Saints’ full-court pressure and generating two steals and layups. Lyman finished with 12 points, six steals and three assists.
The Saints kept the pressure up and held the Eagles to six points in the second quarter, taking a 43-17 lead into halftime. Bailey Pasta added her own buzzer-beater just before the half, sinking a 3-pointer to match Dean’s first quarter bucket. Pasta finished with 10 points and three steals.
Oona Harrington reached double figures for Carroll, scoring 11 points.
Dean scored 12 points, led the team with 10 rebounds and added four assists, a block and a steal.
“All of us are scoring,” she said. “It’s really fun. It’s really spread out. It means other teams can’t key on one or two players. In the past, teams have done that. They’ve sent doubles and triples to the post or really pressured our point guards on the top. Now that everyone is scoring it really opens everything up inside and out.”
With their signature win over Boise State in exhibition play, and some strong wins early in the season, Carroll College looks as if it’s going be a force in Frontier Conference play.
The Saints next game comes Nov. 18 against Westmont College in California.