Havre Daily News sports editor
To say the Montana State University-Northern women's basketball team is off to a fast start since restarting its season after a Nov. 14 crash of the team's van in western Montana would be an understatement.
In the last 10 days, the Skylights have thumped two frontier Conference foes in Rocky Mountain College and the University of Great Falls, and this weekend they had little trouble dispatching Augustana College in a pair of games in Camrose, Alberta.
On Friday night, the Skylights earned a 14-point victory over the Vikings, 84-73. Northern led throughout the contest and used a solid offensive performance in the first half to build a comfortable 44-32 lead by halftime.
The Skylights made 20 field goals in the first 20 minutes of the game and shot a blistering 60 percent from the field to build the lead. Augustana rallied some in the second half, but could never fully overcome the double-digit deficit.
Forward DeLayne Johnston had a huge outing to lead the Skylights. She scored a game-high 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Johnston's 26 points led five Skylights in double figures. Michele VanDyke added 15 points, and Jaci Heny scored 14. Camille Gardner chipped in with 12 points, while Neesha Bravard had her best game in a Skylights uniform, scoring 11 points.
Saturday night saw more of the same from MSU-N. The Skylights jumped all over the Vikings in the first half, outscoring them 52-34 in the first 20 minutes of the contest en route to an easy 69-50 win.
The large halftime lead allowed Northern to rest its players more in the second half than in any other game the depleted Skylights have played since returning to the court.
Johnston had another fine outing to lead the Skylights, scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Heny led all scorers with 16 points, and Ashley Trulock added 12 points.
The Vikings were led by Heidi Marcinkoski with 10 points and Jessica Binder added nine in the losing effort.
The Skylights (9-3) will be back on their home floor Saturday night when they host Whitworth College at 5 p.m. at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse.
MSU-Northern 84, Augustana 73
MSU-N - Camille Gardner 12, Neesha Bravard 11, Jaci Heny 14, DeLayne Johnston 26, Jena Heggem 2, Michele VanDyke 15, Ashley Trulock 4. Totals: 34-65 14-23 84
AC - Alana Martinson 9, Karla Binder 3, Jessica Binder 7, Katie Deuchar 7, Krista Jodrey 8, Heidi Marcinkoski 19, Andrea Martinson 4, Jessi Reis-Hameister 7. Totals: 26-53 14-19 73.
3-point goals - MSU-N 2-6 (Bravard 1, Heny 1), AC 7-17 (Deuchar 4, Reis-Hameister 2, K. Binder 1); Rebounds - MSU-N 28, AC 25; Total fouls - MSU-N 13, AC 18; Fouled out - None.
MSU-Northern 69, Augustana 50
MSU-N - Camille Gardner 5, Neesha Bravard 4, Jaci Heny 16, DeLayne Johnston 12, Jena Heggem 8, Mandee Carroll 2, Michele VanDyke 10, Ashley Trulock 12. Totals: 25-60 16-19 69.
AC - Alana Martinson 3, Karla Binder 5, Megan Hogendoorn 2, Jamie Sparrow 2, Jessica Binder 9, Katie Deuchar 4, Krista Jodrey 3, Heidi Marcinkoski 10, Andrea Martinson 5, Jessi Reis-Hameister 7. Totals: 21-65 4-6 50. 3-point goals - MSU-N 3-6 (Heggem 2, Gardner 1), AC 4-17 (Martinson 1, K. Binder 1, Martyna 1, Reis-Hameister 1); Rebounds - MSU-N 43, AC 30; Total fouls - MSU-N 11, AC 20; Fouled out - None.