George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
If the Montana State University- Northern women's basketball team played well in its convincing win over Lethbridge Tuesday night, then a new adjective might be needed to describe the Skylights performance in the final night of the 2008 Duck Inn Corporation Classic. On Wednesday night, the Skylights faced an athletic and talented Bellhaven College team, and all they did was brush the Blazers aside by a 32-point margin. MSU-N was hot all night from the field, and the Skylights rode a stellar second half performance to an 82-50 win over the Blazers at the MSUNorthern Fieldhouse. "We did really play well," MSUN head coach Chris Mouat said. "We played very well offensively, we shared the ball well, we rebounded effectively against a very athletic team and we limited our mistakes. "I'm really happy for our kids because these were two wins we felt we really needed to have at this point in the season," he added. "And we were able to go out there and execute against two good teams this week." Against the Blazers, a team that pushed nationally-ranked Carroll College on Tuesday night, MSU-N broke open a 42-32 halftime lead by 16-5 run midway through the second half. Like the Lethbridge game, MSU-N's bench came up big again on Wednesday night. Awilda Hernandez, Laramie Schwenke and Jordan Kambich came in and gave Northern instant offense during the stretch that put the game away, and by the time Taylor Keller buried a 3-pointer at the six-minute mark, MSU-N led 65-45 and never looked back. "One of the things I really liked about this win was the we were very balanced," Mouat said. "Everyone played and everyone contributed to this win in their own way. That's what you want to see and we got a great allaround effort from our whole team tonight." The game wasn't always out of hand like it was late in the second half. For most of the first 20 minutes, the Skylights and Blazers put on an offensive show which featured nine different lead changes. Bellhaven showed its offensive prowess from the 3-point-line early on and led 8-4. But when MSU-N Jennie Lee put in a basket at the 9:33 mark in the first half, the Skylights led 24-23 and never trailed again. Northern also used an 11-3 run to widen its first-half gap and lead by 10 points at intermission. "They are such a good team, and they are so athletic" Mouat said of the Blazers. "They had us on our heels a little when they came out and hit four 3-pointers early. "But I thought we settled in an adjusted well. We played great defense again, and we shot the ball at a great percentage in the first half. We got good production on the inside from Danielle (Trower) and Stacie (Barker) and our guards were aggressive all night. It was nice to be able to play that well against such a quality team and I'm happy for our kids for that." Trower led for Skylights in double figures with 16 points, while Kaylee Shaw put in 13 points. Samm Schermele and Taylor Keller added 13 and 11 points, respectively, while Barker scored eight points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. A big difference in the game was rebounding and Northern's bench. The Skylights out-rebounded the Blazers 41-23 and MSU-N's bench outscored Bellhaven's 24-15. Schwenke led the bench with eight points, while Kambich scored seven, Hernandez five and Lee four. Bellhaven got 13 points and seven boards form Jira Williams and 11 points from guard Holly Dial. Having won two straight games at home, the Skylights are now 6-7 on the season. MSU-N is back on the road for a game against the famed University of Montana Lady Griz Saturday at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula. The game won't count for the Skylights, but it is a regular season contest for the Lady Griz. Saturday's game between the Skylights and Lady Griz is slated to tip off at 7 p.m.