By Bill Foley
No. 24 Carroll College had Montana Tech’s post players right where it wanted them Thursday night.
On the bench.
Oredigger post players Shay Potter and Kaylee Zard played at total of 26 minutes, 4 seconds in the Frontier Conference women’s basketball game at the HPER Complex, and the Orediggers dropped a 63-55 decision to the rival Saints. (Stats)
“That was kind of the difference in the game,” Tech coach Carly Sanon said of the foul trouble.
Both post players were whistled for three fouls in the first half. Zard fouled out with 5:30 left in the game, and Potter played almost all of the fourth quarter with four fouls.
What Potter did in her 15:53 on the court has to make the Orediggers think what might have been.
The 6-foot-2 sophomore registered her third straight double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“You look at our post players, and Shay has a double-double in 15 minutes,” Sanon said. “If you keep her out on the court for 25 minutes, 30 minutes, I think it’s a different ball game.”
The number that made the biggest difference, Sanon said, was the 18 turnovers the Orediggers committed in the loss.
“That’s the most we’ve turned it over in a long time,” Sanon said. “We can’t have turnovers. When we’re shooting a decent percentage, we’ve got to make sure we’re getting a shot every time.”
The Saints saw four players reach double figures as Carroll improved to 5-1 in conference and 13-4 overall.
Bailey Pasta scored 14 points, while Michaela Dowdy scored 12, and Hannah Dean and Danielle Wagner each netted 10. Wagner and Dowdy also pulled down eight rebounds apiece.
Monica Landdeck scored 14 points to lead the Orediggers. The senior guard hit 4 of 6 shots from 3-point land.
Tech led 17-16 after the first quarter, and Carroll took a 30-27 advantage into halftime.
Carroll outscored the Orediggers 19-11 in the fourth quarter, breaking open a game that was tied at 44 after 30 minutes.
A Christine Denny bucket with 9 minutes left in the game to put the Saints up for good at 48-46. The next time down court, Pasta took a pass from Dean and buried a 3-pointer.
The Saints led by nine points three times before the end of the game.
Sanon pointed to missed opportunities in the final quarter.
“We had a few missed layups, and we just missed shots,” the coach said. “We talked about it in the locker room. We have to have more than two people in double figures. If we have three to four, we’d win that game.
“When we get layups and wide-open looks, we’ve got to knock them down going down the stretch.”
Freshman Mesa Williams came off the bench and scored seven points, all in the first half, to help cushion the blow of the foul trouble
Tech got four points apiece from Kaylynn Coverdell, Kourtney Coverdell, Sammy McGree and Zard, three from Hannah Sparks, and two from Tjaden Pallister.
Hailey Crawford, Bailey Armbruster and Mollie Peoples also contributed for the Orediggers, who fell to 1-4 and 11-6.
Denny scored seven for Carroll. Brittney Johnson scored five, while Jaidyn Lyman scored three and Taylor Salonen tossed in two.
The Orediggers hit the road Saturday for another Frontier Conference battle with Rocky Mountain College in Billings.
Sanon said the Orediggers have had enough close calls.
“Right now we need a win,” she said. “We’re playing everybody close. We have teams down at halftime. Now we’ve got to put 40 minutes together.
“For us to beat some ranked teams, which I think we’re capable of doing, we’ve got to put together 40 minutes.”