By Kyle Sample, Helena IR
Carroll College guard Bailey Snelling understands that championships are not won during summer. But she is of the mindset that those months, typically considered the offseason for most programs, could be influential as the Saints attempt to return to the national tournament.
Following a trip to the Sweet 16 of the NAIA tournament during the 2012-13 season, the Saints recorded a 14-14 record last winter and spent most of March wondering what the future might hold.
With that in mind, Snelling and a number of her teammates remained in Helena instead of returning home to enjoy the few leisurely months afforded to collegiate basketball players. Aside from a new offense implemented by fourth-year coach Rachelle Sayers, there were eight new players to welcome to the fold and a standard to be set.
“Coach really likes us getting into the gym in the summer; what coach doesn’t?” asked Snelling, who was selected to the preseason All-Frontier team this week.
HELENA, Mont. – The Carroll College Saints trailed 30-26 with just under two minutes to play in the first half before going on a 30-6 run that spanned the half and 15 minutes of game time, en route to a 68-51 women’s basketball victory over Mount Royal University (Alberta) in the season opener for the Saints at the PE Center Friday night.
Four Saints scored in double figures led by Katie Estey with a game-high 22 points and Jordan Johnston with 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Kalee Junkermier scored 11 points and Baylee Watson added 10.
The Saints jumped out to an early 20-10 lead before the Cougars went on a 15-4 run to take a 25-24 lead on a 3-pointer by Makell Hoffer with 3:58 left in the first half.
MRU extended their lead to four before the Saints run put the game out of reach.
The Cougars were led by Jayla Verney and Angela Driscoll who scored 15 points each.
Carroll outrebounded Mount Royal 44-15 including a 15-6 edge on the offensive glass.
The Saints next host NCAA D-II foe MSU-Billings on Oct. 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the PE Center.
HELENA, Mont. – When the Carroll College Fighting Saints women’s basketball team takes the floor Friday night in their season opener against Mount Royal University (Alberta) it will be another step to removing the bad taste in the mouth left after a disappointing end to the 2013-14 campaign.
The Saints ended last season with a 14-14 record but lost five of their last six games and fell 58-47 to MSU-Northern in the first round of the Frontier Conference playoffs.
It will be another step but not the first step. That was taken shortly after they lost to Northern.
“The girls immediately went back to work,” head coach Rachelle Sayers said. “They stayed here all summer and spent time in the weight room and the gym getting better. They were so disappointed with the way last season ended, it didn’t sit right with them.”
The returning class is led by Preseason All-conference honoree Bailey Snelling. The senior was the Saints’ leading scorer last season with 381 points. She started every game for Carroll and also had 71 assists and 87 rebounds on the season.
“Bailey is the heart and soul of our program,” Sayers said. “She is one of our hardest workers and she takes pride in representing her school. She always has a great time out there. She plays the game because she loves the game.”
The Saints also return experienced guards Kalee Junkermier and Katie Estey.
“We have really experienced guards,” Sayers said. “I think all three of the returning starters have come into this season as mentally and physically prepared as they ever have. I have a sense from them that they understand what it is going to take for us to be successful and the type of leadership that we will need from them.”
Along with the experienced backcourt comes an inexperienced frontcourt. The four players on the roster that is taller than six-foot are all freshman or sophomores.
Baylee Watson and Mikala Osborne and Jordan Johnston are the incumbent inside players but freshmen Cassidy Hashley and Michaela Dowdy will need to contribute right away for the Saints.
Hashley (Kalispell-Glacier) and Dowdy (Helena Capital) played each other multiple times in high school it was one reason they are ready to take the court quickly at the college level.
“They battled each other all through high school,” Sayers said. “With their size and the competition they faced before they came here, their transition has been pretty quick and we are going to need them this year.”
The Saints open with a somewhat familiar opponent in Mount Royal. Carroll defeated the Cougars 73-66 last season.
This season, MRU brings a 0-4 record into the PE Center but Sayers believes they provide a unique challenge.
“Canadian teams play a different style of game,” Sayers said. “They have a shorter shot clock, they have a different three-point line, and they already have four games under their belt. They are really going to extend our defense. I think we are going to see where we are.”
Despite the unique challenge Sayers says her team is thrilled to take the floor Friday evening.
“I am excited because I know how hard our kids worked during the offseason,’ Sayers said. “We’ve been through a lot. The returners were here during the summer, working hard. The new kids jumped right in and embraced the expectations of the program. I am just excited to see their hard work come to fruition.”
The game starts at 7 p.m. at the PE Center.
HELENA, Mont. –The Carroll College women’s basketball team was picked to finish fifth in the Frontier Conference coaches’ poll released by the conference Tuesday.
The Saints finished the 2013-14 season with a 14-14 overall record and a 7-9 record in conference play to finish sixth.
Westminster was picked first after going 16-0 in Frontier action last season.
The Saints begin the season with a Friday when they host Mount Royal at 7 p.m. at the PE Center.
HELENA, Mont. – The Carroll College women’s basketball team hosts a six team jamboree all day Saturday at the PE Center.
Frontier Conference foes Great Falls and Montana Tech as well as junior college teams North Idaho College, Miles City community college and Dawson Community College will play on two courts starting from 9 a.m. with the last game starting at 3:30 p.m. All games will be considered scrimmages.
The Saints play NIC to begin the day at 9 a.m. the Saints then play Dawson CC at 10:15 a.m., Miles City at 12:45 p.m. and close out the day against Montana Tech at 3:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at the door at $4 for adults and $2 for children. Concessions will be available on site.
Court #1 Carroll College vs. North Idaho College
Court #2 UGF vs. Miles City Community College
Court #1 Dawson Community College vs. Carroll College
Court #2 North Idaho College vs. MT Tech
Court #1 MT Tech vs. Miles City Community College
Court #2 UGF vs. Dawson Community College
Court #1 Miles City Community College vs. Carroll College
Court #2 North Idaho Community College vs. UGF
Court #1 North Idaho College vs. Miles City Community College
Court #2 MT Tech vs. Dawson Community College
3:30pm Carroll vs. MT Tech (Main Floor)
*First team listed is the home team (white) second team listed is away (dark)
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