George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
After a weekend away from competition, the Montana State University- Northern women’s basketball team will get back to work in an unusual setting tonight. The Skylights will be in Great Falls to take on the University of Great Falls, a Frontier Conference rival, in a nonconference game. Tip-off for tonight’s game is set for 7 at the McLaughlin Center on the UGF campus. MSU-N is coming off an eight day layoff heading into tonight’s game with the Argos. The Skylights last played on Nov. 13 when they dropped a difficult road game to Minot State University. On that trip, MSU-N also battled from behind to defeat Dickinson State University. MSU-N head coach Chris Mouat, who has the Skylights at 5-3 in his second season as the Skylights head man, is looking forward to getting his team back on the floor. “This is a good game for us to play right now,” Mouat said. “Right now we’re all about trying to make ourselves better. And UGF is a dangerous team and a tough matchup for us. So this game will be a big challenge for us.” While the Skylights are all about improving, especially with the conference season just a little over a month away, they haven’t been too bad so far in 2006. As expected, MSU-N is getting great production from its post players. DeLayne Johnston leads the team in both scoring and rebounding, and fellow seniors Michele VanDyke and Jayla McPherson are having solid seasons thus far. Junior Ashley Trulock has also emerged as perhaps one of the best bench players in all of the Frontier Conference. Northern is also getting more production out of its guards. Chelsie Searle is in midseason form, and she is shooting the ball extremely well from the outside, as is fellow senior Jena Heggem. Meanwhile, point guard Becky Sorenson is getting more comfortable as MSU-N’s floor leader with every game. Sorenson is coming off her best game as a Skylight in Minot where she scored 17 points and had six assists. “We’re playing pretty well right now,” Mouat said. “I like where we’re at. And we have had a good week of rest and practice. So we feel pretty good heading into his game.” Meanwhile, the Argos record may not look great on paper so far this season, but that doesn’t mean Mouat is overlooking them now or during the regular season. The Argos (0-9) are under the direction of first-year head coach Shawn Chaffin, and Mouat said that despite their record, UGF is playing well right now. “We’re not going to be fooled by numbers or records,” Mouat said. “They have played a lot of the same teams we have this season, and they have played them as good, if not better than we did. So we know they are going to be a tough opponent for us. “They shoot the ball well and they can score quickly,” he added. “So that presents a tough matchup for our defense.” The Argos are led by former Skylight Laura Keaster, who is averaging 20 points per game this season. Keaster is a deadly 3-point shooter and, despite her size, can take the ball to the basket as well as any guard in the Frontier. Megan Shwantes is another stellar guard for UGF, and 5- 10 junior Mindy Houx is tough defend on the inside. UGF will also soon have the services of volleyball players in Lesly Richter and Cali Buck, both of whom should bolster the Argos in the paint. “This will be a tough game for us,” Mouat said. “They are playing well and they always play tough at home. But this game, for us, is about continuing to get better. As long as we go down there and play well, and improve in the areas where we need to, we should fine.” Tonight’s game in Great Falls is slated to get under way at 7. MSU-N doesn’t play at home until Dec. 1 when the Skylights host the AmericInn Classic.