The Montana State University-Northern women’s basketball team is 1-3 against Dakota Athletic Conference teams over the last two weeks.
Tonight in Great Falls, the Skylights have a chance to right that record when they take on a DAC powerhouse. The Skylights will battle powerful Black Hills State tonight at 6 at the McLaughlin Center on the campus of UGF, MSU-N (3-4) only game this week. Northern is coming off a pair of tough road losses last weekend. The Skylights fell by 39 points at Dickinson State last Friday, then lost a close game at Minot State on Saturday.
So MSU-N head coach Chris Mouat is hoping his team is ready to progress, ready to bounce back. But it won’t be easy. The Yellowjackets are ranked fourth in NAIA Division II, they went 26-7 a year ago, and return some great players this season.
“Black Hills State is the best team we've seen this season and potentially one of the best we will see,” Mouat said. “They are a top-tier team and have had a long run at the national tournament. They are seasoned and have great leadership, and are very aggressive defensively.
“Katelynn Lamb is one of the best players in the country at the NAIA level,” he added.
The Skylights present matchup problems for teams as well. Senior guards Taylor Keller and Samm Schermele enter tonight’s game averaging a combined 36 points per game, and as a team, Northern is shooting better than 35 percent from the 3-point-line. Sophomore guard Monica Hollowell is among the leading 3-point shooters in the NAIA this early season.
“We will need to be much better defensively and in defensive transition than we were last weekend,” Mouat said. “We can't afford mental breakdowns and must find their shooters immediately. This is a great test for us right now, because we have been slowly improving and working very hard to get better every day. Playing such a tough opponent will really show us where we are at today.”
Tonight’s game between MSU-N and Black Hills State will tip off at 6 p.m. in Great Falls. The Skylights are on the road again next weekend with a pair of games in Bellingham, Wash.