Carroll women win, set up NAIA Fab Four matchup with Frontier foe Providence

Jamie Pickens
Posted at 8:40 AM, Mar 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-25 10:40:18-04

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Jamie Pickens and Carroll College exacted a bit of revenge Saturday, and the Saints are on their way to the Fab Four of the NAIA women's basketball tournament.

The 6-foot-2 Pickens had 24 points, 18 rebounds and six assists to lead the No. 2-seeded Saints to a 71-56 victory over No. 4 Dakota State (S.D.) in the quarterfinal round at the Tyson Event Center to advance to the national semifinals.

2024 NAIA Women's Basketball Championship
The Carroll women's basketball team celebrates after beating Dakota State (S.D.) in the quarterfinal round of the NAIA national tournament on Saturday, March 23, 2024, in Sioux City, Iowa.

Carroll lost to Dakota State a year before in the round of 16, a game in which Pickens shot 8 for 23 and attempted just two free throws in 29 minutes. On Saturday, Pickens had a double double by halftime and shot 9 of 16 from the floor.

The win also set up a matchup between Frontier rivals Carroll and Providence in the Fab Four.

Carroll (28-5), out of the Cramer quadrant, and Providence (26-8), the No. 2 seed from the Naismith quadrant, will meet Monday at 5 p.m. Mountain time for a berth in the national championship game.

In their most recent matchup, Providence defeated Carroll 75-66 in the championship game of the Frontier tournament on March 2 in Great Falls. The teams have so far split four meetings this year. Both squads are appearing in the semifinals for the first time.

Providence advanced to the Fab Four with a 78-68 win over overall No. 1 seed Marian (Ind.) in a quarterfinal game earlier Saturday.

Carroll led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter, but Dakota State closed the final three minutes of the half with a 13-2 run — which included a swish on a half-court heave by Lilli Mackey at the buzzer — to pull within 34-32 at the break.

Still, the Saints maintained the edge by outscoring Dakota State 17-8 in the third quarter. A Pickens floater in the lane with 39 seconds left gave Carroll a 51-38 lead.

As a team, Carroll shot 49% (25 of 51) and hit 7 of 12 3-pointers. Maddie Geritz, who also stands 6-2, had a double double of her own with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and also added four assists. The Saints outrebounded Dakota State by a wide margin, 44 to 29.

Other Carroll contributors including Kyndall Keller with nine points, five rebounds and four assists. Keller, Willa Albrecht and Addie Ekstrom combined to make six of the Saints seven 3-pointers.