HELENA — Carroll College women’s basketball senior Hannah Dean wasn’t going to let a sore ankle stop her.
Especially when it’s the semifinals of the Frontier Conference Tournament.
Dean scored 14 points as the Saints came away with a 61-50 victory over Rocky Mountain College and punched their ticket to their second straight championship game.
Dean suffered a sprained ankle in the fourth quarter Tuesday against Montana Tech, but said there was no way she was going to miss this game.
“It’s crunch time now, I knew it and I did everything I could to be out there with my team,” Dean said.
While Dean seemed to be playing at full strength, it took her a little while to get going.
She made one of her first four shots and, but luckily she had a little help from her friends.
Sophomore point guard Jaidyn Lyman seeped back with a 3-pointer, giving the Saints their first lead.
Minutes later, junior post Taylor Salonen came off the bench and hit a 3-pointer of her own.
Both have had recent success against the Battlin’ Bears this season as they finished with a combined 12 points.
“We had a lot of different people playing different spots because we got into foul trouble,” Saints coach Rachelle Sayers said. “A lot of people had to come in and step up.”
While Carroll was fortunate their leading scorer wasn’t out for too long, Rocky Mountain senior guard Alecia Chamberlin could only watch from the bench on crutches after suffering a foot injury Tuesday against Montana State-Northern.
Kiana Corpus took Chamberlin's place in the startling lineup but it was Antuanisha Wright providing the spark with six first-half points.
Still, Chamberlin’s absence was noticeable.
“She’s our best defender and our leading scorer,” Rocky Mountain coach Wes Keller said. “We were off a little bit out there on both ends of the floor but give Carroll credit, they defended.”
Carroll's role players continued to make an impact in the second half, more specifically Danielle Wagner.
The sophomore from Havre could not be stopped as she scored 11 of her game-high 18 points in the 3rd quarter, including a 3-pointer that brought Carroll’s bench to its feet.
“In that third quarter, we just moved the ball around a lot and we trust each other,” Wagner said.
It was only fitting that the Saints sealed the game on a 3-pointer from Wagner.
While Carroll prepares to travel the road to Dillon and take on No. 4 Montana Western in the Frontier Conference Championship on Monday night, Rocky Mountain will return home and play in the NAIA National Tournament in Billings as the host team.
But don’t think Keller is satisfied with that.
“Hopefully we (did enough) to qualify,” Keller said. “I’m tired of people of saying you are in because you are the host team. We are in the top 25 so we should qualify.”