The Carroll College women got off to a blistering start, but 25th-ranked Montana Western rallied and topped the Saints 53-51 on a buzzer-beater from Anise Palmore with seven tenths of a second left Thursday in Dillon.
The Saints jumped out to a 9-2 lead to start the game and led 19-6 with 1:26 to play in the first quarter. After that bucket, the Bulldogs held the Saints scoreless for more than 11 minutes of play. The drought led to a 14-0 run by Western, and it took a 20-19 lead with 35 seconds to play.
Carroll got a bucket with six seconds left in the half to preserve the lead at the break.
The Saints looked to have found a rhythm in the second half and built a 31-25 lead with 5:51 left in the third quarter, but Western rattled off eight-straight take a 33-31 lead. The Bulldogs led 37-36 at end of three.
The fourth was a shot-for-shot battle with five ties and six lead changes. The Saints led by two with 24 seconds remaining, but Palmore tied the game with a layup with 17 seconds left and a jump ball with five seconds on the clock gave Western possession. Palmore again drove and hit to give the Bulldogs the lead and the win.
The bucket was her 24th point of the game, a game high. She was the only Western player to score in double digits.
“This is the third game we have lost in the last seconds of the game," Carroll coach Rachelle Sayers said. "Foul trouble and our second quarter doomed us. We have to keep fighting. Clean up a few possessions here and there, we could just as easily be 5-2 instead of 2-5.
"This is an unfamiliar place for all of us. We have to stick together, stay positive and keep coming to work every day. We can turn this around.”
Bailey Pasta scored 15 to lead the Saints. Carroll was 21-47 (44.7 percent) from the field. UMW was 20-43 (46.5 percent) from the field. The Saints were 5-7 (71.4 percent) from the line while Montana Western was 11-26 (42.3 percent).
The Saints fall to 12-7 on the season and 2-5 in Frontier play. Three of the five losses are by a combined five points. The Saints return to action Saturday at the PE Center when they host Rocky Mountain College.