By Bill Foley
Twenty minutes isn’t going to cut it in the Frontier Conference.
That point was emphasized Thursday night by Montana Tech women’s basketball coach Carly Sanon after her Orediggers fell 64-49 to No. 10 Carroll College at the HPER Complex. (Stats)
Turnovers and early cold shooting by the Orediggers — and a Carroll team that took advantage of every opportunity — led to an early Tech deficit that was just too much to overcome.
“The Frontier Conference is a brutal league,” Sanon said. “You have to bring it 40 minutes every game. We didn’t do that in the first half, and when you’re playing against the No. 10 team in the nation you can’t get down 15 points and try to get back in it.”
Hannah Dean scored off a Christine Denny assist with 6 minutes, 59 seconds left in the first quarter to put the Saints up for good at 5-4.
Thanks to six Oredigger turnovers and Tech’s 2-for-10 shooting in the first quarter, the lead was 16-6 by the end of the first frame.
“We couldn’t get anything going, and that’s no way to start a home game when you’re coming off a trip,” said Sanon, whose teams posted convincing wins at the University of Providence and MSU-Northern last weekend.
Carroll extended the lead to 35-20 at halftime.
The Orediggers made a couple of runs in the second half to get the crowd into the game. Carroll just had too much fire power.
“There was a lot of good things in the second half,” Sanon said. “We’ve got to play that way for 40 minutes.”
Sanon pointed to similarities in Tech’s Jan. 11 loss to the Saints in Butte.
“We lost to them the same way we did two weeks ago,” Sanon said. “We had 19 turnovers and gave up 14 offensive boards.”
Thirty of Carroll’s 65 points came from post players Dowdy and Hannah Dean. Dowdy tossed in 16 points, while Dean scored 14.
“What really hurt us with them was their second-chance shots,” Sanon said. “We did a good job defending, and they would get an offensive rebounding.”
Bailey Pasta added 11 points for the Saints. Jaidyn Lyman came off the bench to score nine points as the Saints rolled to 7-2 in the Frontier and 15-5 overall.
Brittney Johnson scored seven, while Danielle Wagner and Taylor Salonen scored four.
Sophomore post Shay Potter again paced the Orediggers, who fell to 3-6 and 13-8. She scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Kaylynn Coverdell added eight points and nine rebounds for Tech, which got six points from Monica Landdeck and Kourtney Coverdell and five from Sammy McGree, Mesa Williams and Kaylee Zard.
Hailey Crawford, Mollie Peoples and Tjaden Pallister also contributed for the Orediggers.
Sanon said her team will be ready to bounce back Friday night. That’s when the Orediggers take on Rocky Mountain College in another Frontier Conference battle at the HPER Complex.
Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m.
“This team has a lot of fight in them,” Sanon said. “I think you’re going to see a totally different team tomorrow.”