Havre Daily News sports editor
As irrelevant as basketball is to the Montana State University-Northern women's basketball team right now, the Skylights did have a very successful weekend during their three-game road trip in Portland, Ore.
Northern defeated Cascade College and Warner Pacific College, and also played Division I Portland State very tough. Unfortunately, that success was quickly overshadowed by a nightmare on the team's trip home.
The MSU-N team van was returning to Havre from Portland when it overturned near Superior early Monday. After being treated in Superior, most of the team finally returned home on Monday night with assistant coach Anna Bateman. Four MSU-N players remain hospitalized, including one who was taken to Seattle.
As a result, Northern's upcoming game with the University of Great Falls on Saturday has been cancelled.
Northern easily handled Cascade College on Thursday night, 65-44.
MSU-N raced out to a 34-20 halftime lead, and Cascade never really threatened the Skylights. Cascade was held to 33 percent shooting from the floor, thanks in large part to a tenacious Northern defense. The Skylights also got a game-high 21 points from Michele VanDyke. The Chester native also helped the MSU-N rebounding effort with eight boards. Forward DeLayne Johnston added 14 points, and Jaci Heny chipped in with 12 in the win.
After a Friday night off, the Skylights returned to the floor Saturday evening to face their third Cascade Conference opponent in a row in the form of Warner Pacific College. The outcome was no different, as they defeated the Knights, 65-53.
A hot start was paramount to Northern's success against Warner Pacific. The Skylights jumped out to an early double-digit lead and led 31-19 at halftime. The Knights challenged the Skylights in the second half, but could never shave the lead to less than 10 points.
Heny paced Northern with 14 points and Johnston chipped in with 12 points. The Knights got a game-high 17 points from Becky VanTine in the loss.
Northern concluded its road trip with an impressive showing against Division I and Big Sky Conference member Portland State. The Vikings downed the Skylights, 87-77.
Throughout most of the contest, the Skylights were able to hang with Vikings and the two teams went into halftime deadlocked at 43-43. But the Vikings had too much size on the inside and were able to wear the Skylights down in the final 20 minutes.
Despite the loss, Heny was again brilliant, scoring a game-high 30 points on 9-of-13 shooting. The senior guard also went 11-of-13 from the foul line. Camille Gardner chipped in with 12 points. The Vikings were led by Brianna Thompson's 27 points. Jenni Ritter scored 16 points, including three 3-pointers.
Northern's record is now 5-3 on the young season.
Northern 66, Cascade 44
MSU-N - Camille Gardner 6, Chelsie Searle 2, Jaci Heny 12, DeLayne Johnston 14, Michele VanDyke 21, Neesha Bravard 4, Jena Heggem 2, Ashley Trulock 4. Totals: 27-69 7-8 65
Cascade - Cari Wooley 10, Sharleen Agee 4, Amanda Sivey 2, Kristin Woeller 4, Jubilee Cristel 18, Jamie Martinez 2, Erika Griffith 2, Danielle Selvidge 2. Totals: 17-51 8-13 44.
3-point goals - MSU-N 4 (Gardner 2, Heny 2), Cascade 2 (Wooley 2). Rebounds MSu-N 44, Cascade 33. Total fouls - MSU-N 16, Cascade 10. Fouled out - none.
Northern 65, Warner Pacific 53
MSU-N - Camille Gardner 9, Neesha Bravard 3, Chelsie Searle 9, Jaci Heny 14, DeLayne Johnston 10, Jena Heggem 5, Michele VanDyke 9, Ashley Trulock 4. Totals: 23-55 14-18 65.
WPC - Lindsey Wells 3, Aurora Walsh 5, Amber Stevens 4, Stephanie Rider 4, Jaque Barton 10, Becky VanTine 17, Nicole Brown 10. Totals: 21-57 8-15 53.
3-point goals - MSU-N 5 (Gardner 1, Bravard 1, Searle 1, Heny 1, Heggem 1), WPC 3 (Wells 1, Walsh 1, Brown 1). Rebounds MSU-N 38, WPC 36. Total fouls - MSU-N 13, WPC 15. Fouled out - Wells.
Portland State 87, Northern 77
MSU-N - DeLayne Johnston 9, Michele VanDyke 12, Camille Gardner 6, Chelsie Searle 7, Jaci Heny 30, Ashlie Griffin 4, Jena Heggem 1, Ashley Trulock 8,. Totals: 26-46 22-29 77.
PSU - Heather Arns 14, Brianna Thompson 27, Jennie Ritter 16, Kelsey Kahle 14, Sharon Wahinekapu 8, Delaney Conway 8. Totals: 38-73 8-11 87.
3-point goals - MSU-N 3 (Searle 1, Heny 1, Griffin 1), PSU 3 (Ritter 3). Rebounds - MSU-N 37, PSU 25. Total fouls - MSU-N 13, PSU 23. Fouled out - none.