GREAT FALLS — The Carroll College women’s basketball team has had pretty good success up at the University of Providence.
The Saints came in winning their last three games at the McLaughlin Center.
But Saints coach Rachelle Sayers said her team lost Friday night at what her Saints do best.
“They out-hustled us, they got the loose balls and they got 20 offensive rebounds,” she said, following a 56-53 defeat. “You aren’t going to win many games when you do that.”
Carroll had a chance to tie the game at the end of regulation when Christine Denny hoisted up a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded, but it rattled off the rim.
It wasn’t the planned shot and Sayers said her team looked confused in the final 30 seconds.
“We panicked,” Sayers said. “We had plenty of time to execute and obviously that’s on me.”
The game was pretty close in the first quarter.
Providence took the lead on its first possession on a 3-pointer by Kristyn Pimperton and extended it up to as many as five points when Kennedy Cartwright hit a 3-pointer of her own.
Carroll railed to get the game within three points on a layup by Danielle Wagner but the Argos responded by getting to the line.
By the end of 10 minutes, Providence held a 20-15 advantage.
During the opening minute of the second quarter, the Saints senior forward Hannah Dean picked up her second foul and headed to the bench.
Dean, who came into the game as Carroll’s leading scorer, averaging 14.3 points per game, but she handed the offense over to sophomore Christine Denny.
Denny made her first five shots before she missed a 3-pointer from the wing and by halftime, nearly had half of her team’s points.
“They were playing in man-to-man defense and that was kind of helping,” said Denny, who scored all 12 points in the first half.
Foul trouble started to haunt the Saints as three starters were forced to sit with two or more fouls.
But Sayers had faith in her bench.
Junior post Taylor Salonen scored with a shot in the paint to get the game down to just a two-point deficit and tied the game on a jump shot from Denny.
Providence stole the momentum with two minutes left in the first half and went into the locker room ahead 33-25.
“We missed some shots we should have knocked down,” Sayers said. “When you get an open look you have to make them.”
The Argos controlled the start of the second half but Carroll made a run midway through.
Sophomore Danielle Wagner scored two baskets followed by 14 second-half points by Dean, but the Saints still couldn’t muster a big enough run to tie the game.
In the fourth quarter, senior Brittney Johnson got hot with a 3-pointer with nearly four minutes left to take the lead.
Carroll held the lead up until the 1:26 mark where Parker Esary made a put-back layup.
She finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.
The Saints had an opportunity to tie the game on their final possession but Denny’s 3-pointer wasn’t the shot that was originally drawn up.
“I’m not a 3-point shooter we want taking a shot at the end of the game,” Denny said. “We didn’t execute and that’s why I had to take it.”
The loss drops Carroll into a three-way tie for second place with Rocky Mountain and Lewis-Clark State. Sayers said her team needs to figure it out on the hour and a half bus ride to Havre.
The Saints have a quick turnaround when they play Montana State-Northern.
“We have to be ready to battle tomorrow because I know (the Skylights) will be,” Sayers said.
The win for the Argos is just their second in five games and will host Rocky Mountain on Saturday.