HELENA — The University of Montana Western Bulldogs (9-4, 0-3) traveled to play the No. 6 Carroll College Fighting Saints (12-1, 2-1) at the PE Center in Helena. In their third Frontier Conference game of the season, the Bulldogs faced their third nationally ranked opponent.
For the third time, the result was the same as the Belldogs fell to the Saints 68-40. Stats
Carroll College jumped out to an early 16-2 lead, behind the hot-shooting from senior point guard Katie Estey. Estey scored nine points in the first 5:03 of action, including two 3-pointers as the Saints took a 17-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Estey continued her shooting exhibition as she finished the first half with 17 points on 6-7 shooting from the field and 4-5 from downtown. She also grabbed four rebounds.
The Bulldogs kept the game within striking distance as they battled back-and-forth with the No. 6 Saints before Carroll went on a 6-0 run over the last 2:08 of the second quarter as they took a 36-19 lead into intermission behind a 42 percent effort from the floor.
Aniese Palmore led the visitors with five first-half points. The Bulldogs were forced into seven turnovers and gave up seven offensive rebounds over the first two quarters.
In the second half, the No. 6 Saints flexed their muscles and continued to shut down the Bulldogs offense while they pounded the ball inside and outscored the Bulldogs 32-21 over the final 20 minutes.
A 17 point halftime deficit turned into a 50-30 hole at the end of three quarters and grew to as big as the final margin of 28 with 3:33 to play in the game.
Montana Western was unable to find the bottom of the basket as they finished 10-41 from the field (24 percent) and 5-17 (29 percent) from beyond the arc as they dropped their second straight game to a top-10 opponent.
The Saints outshot (42 percent to 29 percent), outrebounded (40-22) and had fewer turnovers (11-15) than the Bulldogs in route to their 12th victory this season.
Palmore and Sierra Higheagle led Montana Western with 10 and eight points respectively in the loss. Palmore also had two steals on the night.
Klinker grabbed five rebounds to pace the Bulldogs as she was limited to seven points on 1-7 shooting from the field.
Estey finished with a game-high 17 points for Carroll that all came in the first-half and pushed the Saints to an early lead they never relinquished.
Montana Western will return to action on Dec. 12 as they travel to Billings to face-off with NCAA Division II program Montana State University Billings at 7 p.m.
— Montana Western Sports Information