HELENA — Turnovers never help.
Just ask the Montana Tech women’s basketball team.
Carroll College forced the Orediggers into a season-high 29 turnovers as the Saints came away with a 65-49 Frontier Conference victory at the PE Center on Saturday night.
“We knew they couldn’t handle pressure as well as some of the other teams in the conference can so if we came out aggressive we could get some turnovers,” Carroll sophomore guard Danielle Wagner said. “We just came in confident to do that.”
Wagner ignited the Carroll offense in the opening minutes as she hit two 3-pointers as a part of her team making three of its first four shots.
Montana Tech (10-5, 0-3) tried to slow down the Saints with some full-court pressure, but instead Carroll increased the speed adding some full-court pressure of its own.
Senior forward Hannah Dean picked off the Orediggers’ Celestina Faletoi to find Wagner for the transition layup and with time running down in the first quarter, Montana Tech was already racking up the turnovers.
“We did a lot of good things today but it came down to turnovers,” Orediggers coach Carly Sanon said. “If we don’t turn over the ball, we are shooting pretty good from the field, it could have been a different ball game.”
Despite the Orediggers’ difficulty of holding onto the basketball, they kept shooting and found themselves down just a point at the end of the first quarter.
Carroll regained the momentum during the second quarter as its bench provided the spark.
Senior guard Mikayla Olson found Taylor Salonen on a nifty pass for the score followed by a layup by Emma Madsen to force Sanon to take a timeout.
Dean finally got involved when she hit a mid-range jump shot followed by a miss, but she grabbed her own rebound for the score.
She had eight first-half points as the Saints led 35-25.
Turnovers still plagued Montana Tech in the second half as sophomore point guard Jaidyn Lyman picked Hailey Crawford for the coast-to-coast layup.
On the next possession Lyman found Dean on the cut to make it a 14-point lead.
Momentum was clearly on the Saints side as they put the game away in the fourth quarter when Wagner hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key followed by jump shots by Christine Denny and Sienna Swannack to claim the win.
Wagner finished with 22 points with four rebounds and four steals.
“It was not only finding my rhythm but communication was also key,” Wagner said. “When you communicate with your teammates, everything starts to flow and that is what worked today.”
Carroll continues its season after the New Year on Jan. 3 when it travels to Billings to face Rocky Mountain College while Montana Tech travels back to Butte to start a two game homestand on Jan. 5.