HELENA -- Since I moved to Montana I realized one thing.
The Frontier Conference women’s basketball season is long. With the teams playing each other three times, I’m surprised the coaches and players aren’t going nuts.
We have to play them again?
For someone who observes though, it makes some great races. The conference standings are shaping up and teams are starting to end up where they should be.
Let’s take a look. Agree or disagree? Let me know on Twitter at @rskuhn.
1. Montana Western (18-1, 9-1 Frontier)
Montana Western is clearly the team to beat in the Frontier Conference.
The Bulldogs took what could be a preview of a Frontier Championship game against Carroll and clearly made it no contest with a 60-46 win in Helena..
Things look good for Montana Western. Look for the Bulldogs to make a deep run the NAIA National Tournament and King bringing a NAIA Player a Year trophy back to Dillon.
Montana Western fans should probably book their hotels in Billings soon because they might stay awhile.
2. Carroll College (15-6, 7-3 Frontier)
Carroll College got trounced by Montana Western this past Saturday, but this could be a good thing.
The Saints have been rolling pretty much through the Frontier Conference but after two losses to the Bulldogs, they will have to regroup and know a new type of energy will be needed to get a win this season.
Circle the Feb. 7 meeting in Dillon because I have a feeling it will be a lot closer than their previous game.
Until then, look for Carroll to keep getting wins and with sophomore Christine Denny becoming a scoring threat, the league will have more than just Hannah Dean to focus on.
3. Lewis-Clark State (16-5, 6-4 Frontier)
Lewis-Clark State had a nice bounce-back win this past Saturday, avenging a loss to Carroll two days prior.
The Warriors’ handled Rocky Mountain with a 77-68 win and senior Jossilyn Blackman could not be stopped.
She scored 20 points and made the most getting to the rim and getting fouled because she made 14 of 15 free throws. Imagine how good Lewis-Clark State would be if she did that every night.
The Warriors return home for a final four-game regular season homestead where they face Montana Tech and Montana Western this week.
A Lewis-Clark State upset of the Bulldogs would surely put smiles on the Saints’ faces.
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4. Rocky Mountain (15-7, 6-4 Frontier)
Rocky Mountain and Lewis-Clark State should set up a best-of-seven playoff series where the winner gets an invite to the NAIA National Tournament.
This, of course, will never happen, but it would highlight the two teams that are so even, it would make for some entertaining basketball.
Rocky first beat Lewis-Clark State on the road two weeks ago and then came back to lose by almost the exact same score.
Both have a good backcourt and a dominant post player inside.
If either team wants to challenge Western or Carroll someone is going to need to come out on top. Until then, it’s a great rivalry.
5. University of Providence (14-8, 3-7 Frontier)
I was so high on Providence in the beginning on the season.
I really thought the combination of Parker Esary and Emilee Maldonado would put them among the top three teams in the Frontier.
I was wrong.
Providence has been inconsistent and even mediocre at times, like a 66-57 loss to Montana Tech Saturday.
The Argos need wins or else their season will be sinking quickly.
6. Montana Tech (12-9, 2-8 Frontier)
Montana Tech gets the nod over Montana State-Northern in this week’s Power Rankings only because of its win against Providence.
Tech and Northern face off next week, and the winner will definitely get the higher spot.
Tech’s sophomore guard Mollie Peoples is going to win sixth woman of the year for having a great season off the bench.
The Orediggers are a young team and have talent. They just need to get wins.
7. Montana State-Northern (10-12, 2-8 Frontier)
This is an opportunity week for Montana State-Northern.
Sure, the Skylights only have two conference wins, both against Montana Tech, but two good teams are coming into Havre in Carroll and Rocky. A win would do wonders.
Peyton Kehr had good game with 15 points in 31 minutes, but Northern will need more than that.
Look for Sydney Hovde and Gokce Aslan to step up. If they do, it’ll be a bright weekend in Havre.