SALT LAKE CITY – The fifth-ranked Westminster College women’s basketball team won the its Frontier Conference tournament championship in program history with a 63-48 win over No. 24 Carroll in Monday night’s championship game in Behnken Field House.
“I told the kids coming down here, we don’t have to play perfect, but we have to be pretty close,” said Carroll coach Rachelle Sayers, whose team committed 20 turnovers. “We turned it over too many times. … I can’t fault them for their effort, though, they played their butts off. That’s a great team. We just didn’t have our best game, and unfortunately it came on a bad night.”
Megan Patterson led Carroll with 18 points behind the strength of four made treys. She made all four of her 3-pointers in the first half and finished 7-of-10 from the floor. Carroll’s Baily Snelling made 3 of 8 from beyond the arc to finish with nine points while adding four assists.
“It’s not fun to lose games like these, but we just have to keep our heads up and know that our season doesn’t end here,” Patterson said.
It was the first trip to the championship game for Carroll (20-9) since the 2011 season.
“It’s hard, the kids really wanted the title,” Sayers said. “But I told them I wouldn’t want to sit in a locker room with any other team. They’re a great group of kids to coach.”
Westminster (27-3) was playing host to the championship game for the fourth time in the last five seasons, but the Griffins had gone winless in those previous three chances.
“That was a great second half,” Westminster coach Shelley Jarrard said. “We held them to 17 points and really played the defense we wanted.”
It appeared that Westminster was starting to take control of the game midway through the first half and when Amy Krommenhoek knocked down a three at the 8:30 mark, the Griffins held a lead of five. But Carroll responded with eight straight points to retake the lead, and then Kalee Junkermier made a trey before the buzzer to give Carroll a 31-30 lead at halftime.
The Saints finished with seven made 3-pointers in the first half, but Westminster was able to hang around the game thanks to forcing seven turnovers and turning them into nine points.
Westminster came out in the second half determined to make school history. The Griffins scored 14 of the first 19 points of the second half with five different players scoring. Bailey Snelling made the ninth 3-pointer of the night for Carroll with 10:44 to play to cut the Griffins’ lead to five. That was the last basket scored by Carroll for the next 7:44 of the game, and the Griffins chalked up a 10-3 run to secure the victory.
The Griffins outscored Carroll 33-17 in the second half while holding the Saints to just 2 of 8 from beyond the arc after halftime.
Westminster senior Nicole Yazzie didn’t let her chance at a title get away as she scored 18 points on a night she shot 8 of 15 from the floor. The senior added two assists and two steals in her last game at Behnken Field House. Fellow senior Allie Eastman had a historic night as her 12 points moved her over the 1,000-point plateau for her career, making her the seventh player in school history to achieve the feat.
“Words cannot explain how great this feels right now,” Yazzie said. “We have been working towards this and it feels great to reach our goal my senior season.”
Westminster clinches an automatic invite into the NAIA National Championships with the win, while Carroll must wait to see whether it receives an at-large berth.
WESTMINSTER 63, CARROLL COLLEGE 48
CARROLL — Joey O’Neill 2-3 2-3 6, Torrie Cahill 2-5 1-4 5, Kalee Junkermier 2-5 0-0 5, Megan Patterson 7-10 0-0 18, Bailey Snelling 3-10 0-0 9, Katie Estey 1-2 0-0 3, Jordan Pfau 0-3 0-0 0, Jordan Bagley 0-0 2-4 2. Totals 17-38 5-11 48.
WESTMINSTER — Allie Eastman 4-12 3-4 12, Nicole Yazzie 8-15 0-0 18, Kelsi Wells 1-1 0-0 3, Cydney Tibbitts 1-7 3-5 5, Brooke Larsen 3-7 2-6 8, Katie Walker 0-0 0-0 0, Amy Krommenhoek 1-1 0-0 3, Tia Pappas 5-9 0-0 11, Brooke Blonquist 0-0 1-2 1, O. Pierce-Eiselein 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 24-54 9-17 63.
3-pointers — Car 9-19 (Junkermier 1-1, Patterson 4-5, Snelling 3-8, Estey 1-2, Pfau 0-3), Wes 6-14 (Eastman 1-2, Yazzie 2-7, Wells 1-1, Tibbitts 0-1, Krommenhoek 1-1, Pappas 1-2). Rebounds — Car 27 (O’Neill 5), Wes 31 (Tibbitts 9). Assists — Car 14 (Snelling 4), Wes 17 (Tibbitts 6). Steals — Car 2 (Snelling, Bagley), Wes 11 (Four players with 2). Blocks — Car 2 (O’Neill, Bagley), Wes 2 (Eastman, Tibbitts). Turnovers — Car 20, Wes 6. Fouls — Car 17, Wes 12. Fouled out — Cahill. Technicals — None.