By Ryan Divish
Montana State University-Northern women's basketball coach Mike Erickson has said all along that he wants his team to play hard no matter if it's losing by 20 or winning by 20.
Last Monday the Skylights did exactly that by playing extremely hard despite falling to NCAA Division I Gonzaga 76-51. Saturday, Northern got to experience the other end of the spectrum as it trounced the Medicine Hat College Rattlers 96-44 at the MSU-Northern gymnasium.
"They didn't have much," Erickson said of the Rattlers. "It was a good win though. Obviously, any win is a good win. The main thing was they played hard the entire game."
Northern harassed the young Medicine Hat team into 32 turnovers and used those turnovers to get some easy baskets in transition. While the Rattlers are an inexperienced team, Northern's swarming defense was also a factor.
"It was a combination of both those things," Erickson said. "We played hard and aggressive on defense the entire game. It gave us a chance to work on our transition offense."
Northern was led by Katie Zilkoski and Khadiga Mohamed, who each scored 18 points. The Skylights also had four other players in double figures: Davina Shoemake (14), Nichole Neill (13), Brettney Vermandel (10) and Francine KillEagle (10).
Despite the lopsided score, Erickson still wasn't thrilled with his post play.
"We still have some work to do there," he said. "We still haven't been able to establish them inside."
Northern will return to practice this week and prepare to host a pair of Frontier Conference teams University of Great Falls and Rocky Mountain College at the annual Skylights Tip-off Tournament this weekend.
"This weekend will be a great test," Erickson said. "We get to see a pair of conference teams and see where we're at in comparison."