HELENA — Carroll College sophomore guard Danielle Wagner started the game with a 3-pointer.
Little did she know that she would set the tone for the women's basketball game.
The eighth-ranked Saints sunk 10 3-pointers as they ran all over the University of Providence with a 77-48 Frontier Conference win on Saturday night.
Carroll (20-7, 12-4) is no stranger to letting them fly beyond the arc.
The Saints entered Saturday’s game near the top of the Frontier Conference in 3-point makes and 3-point percentage.
The only team shooting better is No. 4 Montana Western.
“We came alive,” Saints’ coach Rachelle Sayers said. “Once one of our kids took timely 3s and once they started to get rolling, I thought our team really took off from there.”
Senior guard Brittney Johnson added a 3-pointer, but things didn’t really start to heat up until the second quarter.
The Saints took a two-possession game lead after the first 10 minutes and turned it into a double-digit advantage.
Carroll shifted its focus inside with scores by Christine Denny and Taylor Salonen, but midway through the second quarter Wagner and Johnson reignited the spark with some 3-point shooting.
Wagner hit a 3-pointer followed by Johnson hitting three consecutive outside shots as the Argos (17-11, 6-10) could only watch the hot shooting.
By halftime, the Saints backcourt duo of Johnson and Wagner went a combined 6 for 8 from behind the arc.
“We just knew we were going to get open shots and I had to knock them down,” Johnson said. “I took an extra second on my shots and made a few.”
The Saints 3-point shooting continued throughout the second half as Johnson and Wagner continued to fill up the score sheet.
Many of the opportunities came from second chances as Carroll out rebounded its opponent on the offensive end.
Even the Saints front court got involved with some 3-point shooting as redshirt freshman forward Nikki Krueger stepped back to hit a 3-pointer.
Carroll sealed the game in the final three minutes when Wagner hit a runner in the lane.
She finished with a game-high 19 points while Johnson finished with 17 points.
Saints senior forward Hannah Dean also finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Providence’s Parker Esary led her team with 14 points.
The win keeps Carroll a game behind first-place Western and two games ahead of Lewis-Clark State with the conference tournament just around the corner.
“There’s a good chance we could see (Providence) a fourth time, so this was a statement game,” Sayers said. “If we meet them again, we need to be confident like tonight.”
Providence lost its third game in four tries and sits fifth in the Frontier Conference.
Argos coach Bill Himmelberg was unavailable for comment after the game.