George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor email@example.com
After a 2-2 start to the season, against good competition on their home floor, the Montana State University- Northern Skylights will hit the road for the first time in the young season. But the Skylights won't have far to go. Northern is in Great Falls tonight and Saturday for the Townhouse Inn Classic hosted by the University of Great Falls. The Skylights play Dickinson State University tonight, and Warner Pacific on Saturday afternoon. Northern's last game at home was Sunday, and MSU-N lost to the same DSU team the Skylights will face tonight. The game against the Blue Hawks was an overtime thriller that saw DSU escape Havre with a 73-68 victory just one night after MSU-N thoroughly handled No. 13 Minot State. In the DSU game, Northern gave up 30 points to DSU center Kia Herbel, and after the loss Chris Mouat said his team would regroup, adjust to Herbel and look forward to playing DSU again. That challenge comes tonight at the McLaughlin Center. MSU-N comes into the game led by its own center Stacie Barker, who is nearing averaging a double-double already this season. Barker is also continuing her mastery of the blocked shot, and she gets plenty of help both offensively and defensively from guards Taylor Keller and Samm Schermele, who combined for 37 points in MSU-N's win over Minot State last Saturday. Northern is also getting good production from senior Kaylee Shaw, and true freshman Laramie Schwenke is playing well backing up Keller at the point guard position. Tonight's game should be another barnburner between the Skylights and Blue Hawks. DSU not only has Herbel, but a great point guard in Ashley Emmons, a talented group of shooters and a deep bench, all of which contributed to the Blue Hawks stunning win last Sunday in Havre. On Saturday, the Skylights will take on Warner Pacific of Portland, Ore., an NAIA school in the Cascade Conference. The Knights are 1-2 on the season coming into the Great Falls tourney, and are coming off a difficult 6-23 2007-08 campaign. However, the Knights return many key players form last year's club and are a much more veteran team this season. Danica Wilson, a 5-10 senior, led the team in scoring a year ago at 13 points per game. Also back in double figures is 5-9 senior Jaque Barton, as well as solid front-line members Madison Swofford (6-1) and Rachel Newby (6-0). Warner Pacific's front line should be a key against the Skylights and their stingy defense. After four games in two weeks at home, the Skylights are starting an eight-game, month-long road trip this weekend. The trip also includes games at NCAA Division I Utah State on Nov. 24 and a trip to Dickinson and Black Hills State, as well as Minot and Jamestown. Northern won't play at home until Dec. 16 when it hosts the Holiday Classic. As for this weekend's tourney at the McLaughlin Center in Great Falls, MSU-N plays DSU tonight at 6, and Warner Pacific Saturday at 1 p.m. UGF also plays Warner Pacific tonight at 8 and DSU Saturday at 3 p.m.