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Hannah Dean

Carroll’s Hannah Dean challenges MSU-Northern’s Gocke Aslan during Saturday’s game in Helena. 

Frontier Conference games have finally started, so it is once again time for the weekly Power Rankings.

Let’s see how the women’s basketball teams did the first week.

Agree or disagree? Let me know on Twitter at @rskuhn.

1. Rocky Mountain (8-1, 2-0 Frontier)

The debate for the No. 1 team in this week’s power rankings between Rocky Mountain and Carroll was as close as it could go. Rocky Mountain prevailed only because of its eight wins this season, but that doesn’t mean it will stay on top for long. The Battlin’ Bears suffered a big blow as Alyssa Big Man left Thursday’s game with a knee injury and did not return Saturday. Luckily, others stepped up in her place -- like Marissa Van Atta, who came off the bench with 21 points and 12 rebounds against Montana State-Northern. Alecia Chamberlin also stepped up two days later with 20 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Providence.

2. Carroll College (6-2, 2-0 Frontier)

Carroll College is also going through some injuries with Cassidy (Hashley) Kosena still out, but prevailed with two straight wins over No. 18 Providence and Montana State-Northern. Senior Hannah Dean led the Saints with 27 points, 11 rebounds and five assists against the Argos and shut down their leading scorer, Parker Asary. Senior guard Brittney Johnson made an impact two days later against Montana State-Northern when she scored 23 points on seven 3-pointers to get the win. The Saints have a trough trip down to Phoenix to end the year and that should prepare them for the rest of the conference season.

3. Montana Western (4-0, 1-0 Frontier)

Montana Western has been flying under the radar playing a handful of exhibition games against NCAA Division I and Division II opponents, but made a statement when it came away with a 60-47 win against Lewis-Clark State on Saturday. The Bulldogs were led by point guard Brianna King with 17 points and five assists, while Cierra Lamey had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Western faces Montana Tech before heading down to Arizona for a tournament to finish the year. Could the Bulldogs be the team to watch out for?

4. Providence (7-2, 0-2 Frontier)

Providence drops down to No. 4 on the Power Rankings after two consecutive losses to Carroll and Rocky Mountain. The Argos might have had a bad week but they should rebound when the Frontier Conference schedule starts back up in January. Sophomore forward Parker Esary leads the conference in points (16.1) and rebounds (10.0) per game and along with Emilee Maldonado in the back court, the duo is ready to make a run. Look for some big wins to end the year where they create even more team chemistry.

5. Lewis-Clark State (9-2, 1-1 Frontier)

Lewis-Clark State had an impressive 82-58 win over Montana Tech, but lost its first true test this season when it fell to Montana Western 60-47. In that game, the Warriors could not find any offense whatsoever, shooting 28 percent from the field and just 8 percent (2-24) from behind the 3-point line. Talk about living or dying by the 3. The only bright spot for LC-State was Jossilyn Blackman with 11 points and six rebounds. Not her best performance after Thursday’s 21-point performance against the Orediggers, but she kept her team in it regardless. If LC-State wants to be a threat, Blackman will need some help.

6. Montana Tech (9-2, 0-1 Frontier)

Montana Tech snapped a five-game winning streak that included victories over the College of Idaho and Division III Whitworth and Whitman. The Orediggers were no match for Lewis-Clark State this past weekend, which was a surprise after some quality wins. Tech shot the ball pretty poorly -- 34 percent from the field and 16 percent beyond the 3-point line -- but I don’t think this will be a consistent trend. The Orediggers might not end up at the top of the Frontier Conference but could pull out some upsets.

7. Montana State-Northern (3-5, 0-2 Frontier)

Montana State looks like it is going to have a long season after two double-digit Frontier Conference losses to Rocky Mountain and Carroll this past week. The Skylights are looking for offense as Northern’s leading scorer Peyton Kehr is averaging just 12.3 point per game. Northern is still seeking an identity after losing five consecutive games, so maybe a nice win against Yellowstone Christian College or the University of Alberta can build some confidence before conference play resumes on Jan. 4.

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