If the first basket of the season is any indication, then the Montana State University-Northern women’s basketball team has good things ahead of it.
Senior Samm Schermele nailed a 3-pointer in the opening seconds of MSU-N’s season debut against LaSierra College Thursday night at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse, and the Skylights never looked back. MSU-N raced past LaSierra 101-29 in the first of three games at the Duck Inn/JDRF Classic.
“Everyone got to play a lot of minutes, and everyone played hard and contributed,” MSU-N seventh-year head coach Chris Mouat said. “It was far from perfect, we made plenty of mistakes and we have plenty of things to correct, but it’s a win in our first game, and I liked our effort and our energy.”
Schermele’s three put her in the 1,000 point club on the first play of her senior season. But the Eagles followed with a three of their own. However, the 3-3 tie at the start of the game would be the only time the Eagles would even come close to Northern.
The Eagles went on field goal droughts of six and seven minutes in the first half, and the Skylights countered with a 21-3 run to lead 44-12 at halftime. Things didn’t get any better for the Eagles in the second half as Northern hit five of its game-high 13 three’s in the first six minutes of the half, including back-to-back triples by both Laramie Schwenke and Monica Hollowell, helping the Skylight’s up their lead to 71-19 with more than 11 minutes to play.
LaSierra, which is in its first year as an NAIA program, struggled mightily from the floor, while the Skylights moved to 1-0 behind some red-hot perimeter shooting. The Eagles shot 24 percent from the field, while MSU-N shot 46 percent, just from 3-point-land. The Skylights had seven players score in double figures, and had eight players get nine or more points.
“Credit to LaSierra,” Mouat said. “They never quit playing hard. They are a new team, a young team, but they never stopped defending, never stopped going after the loose ball. They played very hard tonight.”
Hollowell led the Skylights with 14 points in her Northern debut. Senior Taylor Keller added 13 points, while Schwenke scored 12, as did Stren Tramelli. Schwenke and Hollowell each drilled four three’s and Keller poured in three triples. Schermele also scored 12 points, while Jordan Bruursema and Valerie Gee had 10 a piece. Courtney Blume added nine points and eight of MSU-N’s 42 rebounds.
The Skylights will be back in action today when they take on Northwest University out of Kirkland, Wash., at 3:30 p.m. The Duck Inn/JDRF Classic starts again today at 1:30 with Carroll College, which beat Northwest Thursday night, battling LaSierra. Carroll also plays Northwest again on Saturday at 5 p.m and MSU-N and LaSierra wrap up the tournament with a rematch Saturday at 7 p.m.