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NAIA Women's national tournament: Carroll, Rocky dominate in NAIA tournament opener

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Posted at 7:25 PM, Mar 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-12 21:25:04-05

Friday marked the beginning of the NAIA Women's National basketball tournament and four Frontier Conference teams are looking to make their way to Sioux City, Iowa for the final site of the tournament and a chance at a national championship. Below you can find wrap-up stories from each of the four games.

3) Carroll College 69, 14) Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 50

NEW ORLEANS — In the opening round of the NAIA Women's National basketball tournament, No. 11 Carroll College took down the Lindsey Wilson Blue Cougars 69 to 50.

The Fighting Saints jumped out to a four-point lead early in the contest, but Lindsey Wilson appeared hungry for an upset and took a five-point lead with just four minutes to play in the second quarter. But Carroll's Dani Wagner and Kamden Hilborn took aim and fired from beyond the arc to the tune of a nine-point run that would give the Fighting Saints a 30-28 lead at the half.

While the Fighting Saints and the Blue Cougars put up nearly the same amount of shots, Carroll College made theirs count shooting over 50% from the floor and an even 50% from beyond the arc. Wagner led the game with 22 points while going 6-9 from three-point range with 5 rebounds, while Hilborn was just a few dimes away from a double-double with 10 points and seven assists.

Christine Denny was also just shy of a double-double for the Saints with eight points and nine rebounds.

In the second half, Carroll College played lockdown defense and put up shot after shot on offense to outscore Lindsey Wilson by 13 points and take a 52-37 lead through three quarters. In the fourth, the Fighting Saints kept their foot on the pedal and took a 22-point lead with just over a minute to go on two free throws from Genesis Wilkinson, before Lindsey Wilson whittled the score back to its final resting place at 69-50.

With the win, the Fighting Saints women will advance to the final game of the opening rounds and will face the winner of No. 25 Loyola University (La.) and Menlo College (Ca.) on Saturday.

2) Rocky Mountain College 63, 15) Reinhardt University (Ga.) 44

12) Talladega (Ala.) 73, 5) Providence 70

ALEXANDRIA, La. — In one of the first upsets of the NAIA National women's basketball tournament, the No. 16 Providence Argos fell to the Talladega College Tornadoes, 73-70.

Down 72-70, with 15 seconds left to go in the game, the Argos' Emilee Maldonado was able to force a turnover and give the Argos a chance at tying the game and forcing overtime, but missed shots by Maddy Dixon and Parker Esary sealed the Argos fate on Friday.

Maldonado led the game with 23 points, six assists, and six rebounds, while Esary put up 20 points with nine rebounds.

Though the Tornadoes held a slim lead at 34-32 at the half over the Argos, Providence's three-point shooting didn't help at all, going 0-9 from three-point range in the first half and 3-21 overall.

In the third quarter, the Tornadoes extended their lead to 60-48 after putting up 26 points, but the Argos refused to go down easily.

Providence held Loyola to just 13 points in the fourth while putting up 22, behind Esary's nine points and Maldonado's six points in the fourth quarter, but unfortunately for the Argos, it wasn't enough.

With the loss, the Argos end their season with a 25-7 record.

8) Science and Arts (Okla.) 78, 9) Montana Western 67

In Santa Barbara, California, the Montana Western Bulldogs women saw their season come to an end at the hands of the Science and Arts Drovers 78-67.

Brynley Fitzgerald had a night that most NBA players would be hard-pressed to one-up with 30 points, eight rebounds, and three steals, but Shainy Mack was the only other Bulldog to tip double-digit scoring with 12 points going 4-6 from three-point range.

The Bulldogs jumped out of the gate with authority going 5-8 from deep to take a 22-17 lead after the first quarter, but in the second the well ran dry as Montana Western connected on just four of their 16 shots in the second quarter while the Drovers shot 50% from the field to take a 41-31 lead at the half.

From there, the game remained a stalemate as the Bulldogs were unable to piece together much offense en route to the 78-67 loss.

With the loss, Montana Western finishes its season with a 15-14 record.