VIDEO: Argos defeat Saints in NAIA semi-final

Lady Argos defeat Carroll Saints
Posted at 7:31 PM, Mar 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-25 23:53:13-04

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — The University of Providence Argos will play for the NAIA women's basketball national championship. The Argos worked out a 58-53 win over Frontier Conference rival Carroll in hard-fought, defensive battle that lived up to expectations Monday at the Tyson Events Center.

Both teams struggled to score in the opening quarter, as the game was tied 2-2 more than five minutes in. The teams settled in to end the period, and Providence took a 12-11 lead at the end of the quarter.

The Argos, keyed by Belt native Kolby Pimperton, controlled the second quarter, though. Pimperton started the frame with a 3-pointer — one of three she made in the period — and Providence used a 10-0 run to build a 27-15 lead. Carroll's Maddie Geritz scored the final four points of the half, and Providence's lead would be 27-19 at halftime.

The Fighting Saints extended their scoring streak to an 8-0 run to start the third quarter with two Jamie Pickens buckets. Pickens, Geritz, Addi Ekstrom and Kyndall Keller combined to score 18 third-quarter points to give the lead back to Carroll, 37-36, going to the fourth.

After another Pickens bucket to start the fourth, Providence's Ashlee Maldonado made a 3-pointer to tie the game at 39-39 with 9:13 remaining. The teams stayed within two points of each other over the next six-plus minutes until Maddy Dixon and Monique Carter scored four straight points to give the Argos a 50-46 lead with 2:48 to play.

Carroll wouldn't get closer than two points the rest of the way, with Providence icing the game at the free throw line. Carter, Pimperton and Maldonado each went 2 for 2 at the free throw line down the stretch. As a team, the Argos made 13 of 15 free throws in the game.

Maldonado finished with a game-high 22 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists, and Dixon had a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive end. Pimperton had 11 points and four rebounds, Carter added six points and six assists, and Keanna Salave'a had seven points and six rebounds.

Kyndall Keller led Carroll with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. Pickens had 16 points and 16 rebounds, giving her 2,000 points and a Carroll-record 1,035 rebounds for her career. Geritz also had 16 points.

Neither team shot particularly well in the defensive battle, with Providence making 19 of 57 shots from the floor and Carroll making 23 of 59. Providence was 7 of 23 from 3-point range, while Carroll was 3 of 15.

Monday's game was the fifth of the season between Providence and Carroll. The Saints won two of three during the regular season, while the Argos won the Frontier Conference tournament championship.

Providence will next play Dordt (Iowa) or Cumberlands (Ky.) for the national title at 6 p.m. (MDT) Tuesday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.