Hot Shooting Saints Topple Boise State
BOISE, Idaho – Hannah Dean hit a fadeaway jumper with 18 seconds remaining, and the Carroll defense shut down a three-point attempt at the buzzer as the Carroll College women's basketball team stunned the Boise State, the NCAA DI Mountain West Conference defending champions, 62-61 in exhibition action, Sunday afternoon at Taco Bell Arena in Boise.
The Saints shot an astounding 12-22 (55 percent) from the three-point line, including three each from Bailey Pasta and Brittney Johnson to lead the Carroll attack. Pasta had a team-high 13 and Johnson tallied 11. Dean had a stellar game across the board with nine points, 12 rebounds and seven assists and four steals.
Although the game was an exhibition and ultimately didn't count on the record book, for head coach Rachelle Sayers, the importance cannot be understated.
"It is a huge win for the morale, huge for our girls and huge for Carroll College," she said. "We beat the Mountain West Champions on their court. You can't take that away from our girls. They know that they stepped on the floor and competed against a great team. This is something they can look back on and use as a confidence builder when we are in the grind of conference play."
The first quarter was a back and forth battle. Neither team built a lead larger than three. Taylor Salonen tied the game up at 18 with a three with 25 seconds left in the first quarter, before Tess Amundsen hit a three-pointer at the Buzzer to give the Broncos a 21-18 lead at the end of the first.
Carroll hit back-to-back threes from Oona Harrington and Dean to give the Saints a 24-21 lead. Boise State battled back and built a 28-24 advantage with 4:24 left in the first half. Pasta and Dean hit shots to close the half on a 5-0 run to take a 29-28 lead into the half.
The game was tied at 42 until the two-minute mark of the third quarter before the Saints closed the quarter on a 9-4 run to take a 51-46 lead into the final frame.
The Saints extended the lead to 54-46 in the first minute of the fourth quarter, but the Broncos began to chip away.
The Broncos held the Saints scoreless for the over seven minutes of the fourth quarter leading to a 12-0 run and a 60-56 lead for Boise State. The Saints responded and tied the game at 60 on buckets from Pasta and Christine Denny with 46 seconds left in the game.
Johnson fouled Ellie Woerner to send her to the line. Woerner hit the first of two, but missed the second, two players battled for the ball, but Salonen came up with the rebound and called a timeout.
Carroll got the ball in and to Dean she drove right before turning and hitting the fade away to give the Saints a 62-61 lead with 21 seconds left.
"Taylor got the rebound and the timeout, which was huge," Sayer said. "We ran a play to get the ball in Hannah's hands and told her to make a play. She had been the key to our offense all game, so I thought she was either going to get a shot or make a great pass, she made a great shot."
The Saints almost earned a turnover on the Boise State possession when Salonen jumped a ball screen and tipped the ball away from the BSU player. There was a scramble for it and a timeout. Boise State retained possession, but the scramble ticked vital seconds away from the clock.
The Broncos had five seconds left to score. They inbounded the ball and got the ball back to the inbounder for a three-point attempt. The shot was contested and rimmed out. It bounced around, and Dean grabbed the rebound as the final buzzer sounded, securing the win for the Saints.
The incredible shooting was a far cry from Saturday night's performance at the College of Idaho. The Saints were 4-27 (14.8 percent) from the three-point line and only mustered 48 total points. Sunday the three-point shooting was the key to the win.
"I have to give credit to the College of Idaho," Sayers said. "We weren't prepared for their zone. Our rhythm was off. I thought they were the right shots, but we were a little out of sync. Tonight, it was a completely different game. We were taking the same shots, but this time we were making them."
Dean's performance has been stellar this early in the season. She has yet to lead Carroll in three exhibition games and the season opener, but her all-around stats have been a boon to her team. Sunday she had nine points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
"She almost had a triple-double," Sayers said. "She is just filling up the stat sheet. Her perimeter game is so improved that is a mismatch nightmare. She was even taking the Utah players off of the dribble. Hannah makes our offense go and is hard to stop in the low post."
Pasta continued to lead the Saints in the scoring column with 13, but Johnson and the other two-guards were a big part of the win.
"Our two-guards were a big part of this win," Sayers said. "Our two-guards were half of our three-pointers. You can see that they are buying in. A big key for us was the buy-in early this season. Our goals have nothing about winning. It is about great defense. It is about controlling the tempo with aggressive play. We talked about who is going to lead our team in high fives, and everyone has been awesome on the bench and getting excited about the big things their teammates are doing. Our team made tremendous strides this offseason in the things that matter most."
The win was important, but ultimately it will not go down in the win column, nor will it be a loss for Boise State. Sayers is excited about her team but hopes that they do not stop improving.
"This was awesome," Sayers said. "That being said, I hope our biggest wins are ahead of us. I would hate to have our biggest win in November."
The Saints play their home opener Wednesday at 12 p.m. at the PE Center against St. Thomas (Fla.) in the second annual field trip game. Over 2,000 elementary school children will pack the PE Center for the game, a message from Gov. Steve Bullock and special giveaways.