The Montana State University-Northern women’s basketball team’s season-opening home tournament at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse certainly meant a lot to a lot of people.
But to one Skylight in particular, the Duck Inn/JDRF Classic which ran Thursday through Saturday in Havre was an incredibly special way to start her Northern career.
Proceeds from this weekend’s tournament, which featured the Skylights, Carroll College, Northwest University and LaSierra University, will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. And for MSU-Northern sophomore guard Monica Hollowell, Northern’s act of kindness, and being a part of the tournament means everything.
Hollowell, a 5-6 MSU-Billings transfer from Huntley Project was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in eighth grade, and she came to Northern to play for head coach Chris Mouat, who’s young nephew was also diagnosed with the same at the age of 18 months. So playing this weekend for such a great cause is something Hollowell will never forget.
“This tournament, this weekend, it really means a lot to me,” Hollowell said. “Coming here from MSU-B, it’s great for me. This is really a family atmosphere here, and we all care about each other. It’s a great fit for me.
“And this cause is something that means a lot to me, and it’s also very personal for coach Mouat,” she added. “So he understands me very well and understands what I deal with. Some days, I feel like he knows me better than I know myself and that’s because diabetes is very personal to him and his family. So being able to play here, and then being able to play in this tournament, it really means a lot to me.”
And not only is the fight for a cure for diabetes something that’s very important to Hollowell, but so is playing well on the basketball court. And she certainly made her presence felt in her first three games of her Skylight career.
Hollowell scored 18 points in Saturday night’s win over LaSierra, while adding another nine to her total in a loss to Northwest University on Friday night. Hollowell also nailed three 3-pointers and scored a game-high 14 points in her Northern debut on Thursday night.
And there’s no better way for a player to make her debut with a new team than by contributing to two big wins, and under such special and important circumstances like this weekend’s tournament which was held for such a great cause.
“There is already a lot of team chemistry with this team,” Hollowell said. “And I’m just really excited to be a part of it. We are one big family here and I think our bonds on and off the court will only get stronger.
“This was an amazing weekend,” she added. “And it’s something I’m really happy and thankful that I was able to be a part of.”