If one dramatic win wasn’t enough, the MSU-Northern women’s basketball team decided to make it a perfect two-for-two at home.
On Saturday night at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse, the Skylights followed up their thumping of Carroll College on Friday night with a 71-56 thrashing of Rocky Mountain College. The win gave the Skylights back-to-back Frontier Conference victories and a 2-3 record in league play.
Northern’s win on Friday night came by way of a total team effort, as well as outside input from Samm Schermele and the inside play of Courtney Blume. Little changed on Saturday night. Against the Bears, Schermele poured in a game-high 25 points and Blume added 21 points as the Skylights tore up the Bears’ defense.
“We played very well again offensively,” Northern head coach Chris Mouat said. “We finished our shots, we not only executed well, but we were finishing shots. We had key contributions from everybody, we defended well, and we rebounded well again. We didn’t win the boards tonight, but we still rebounded well against a very good-sized and talented Rocky team. And it came down to finishing shots, and we did that.”
Schermele scored 17 of her 25 points in the first half, where the game was won for MSU-N. She followed a Laramie Schwenke 3-pointer with one of her own and that capped off a 10-0 run, giving Northern an early 16-4 lead. And fittingly, Schermele drilled another three as time expired in the half with the Skylights well in front, 38-21.
"We didn't come ready to play in that first 15 minutes," Rocky coach Brian Henderson said. "We didn't get much better after that. They executed and we didn't. That was really the bottom line."
The Bears did make a couple of short-lived runs at MSU-N, scoring the first six points of the second half, and later making a 10-2 run to trim the lead again. But the Skylights had answers all night lone. Nicole Wilk countered the first Rocky run with a 3-pointer to put the lead back up to 17 points, and free throws down the stretch thwarted any chance of a late Bear comeback. MSU-N shot 10-of-15 from the charity strip but was perfect in the final six minutes of the game.
“We did the little things well again, and we played well again with the lead,” Mouat said. “When you’re finishing shots, making free throws and taking care of the basketball, especially against a team like Rocky, a team we have a tremendous amount of respect for, you’re going to win games, and we did that tonight. So I’m really proud of the focus and effort our kids had again tonight.”
Schermele made two of Northern’s five three’s on her way to 25 points. Blume’s 21 points included a perfect 11-for-11 from the charity stripe, while Schwenke added eight points and team-high seven rebounds. Danni Hosking paced the Bears with 12 points.
With the two wins this weekend, the Skylights jumped back over .500 with an overall record of 11-10, and they seem to building for strong second half of the season. Northern returns to the road this week with games at Westminster College on Thursday night and Lewis-Clark State on Saturday.
“We came off two tough road trips really focused on just needing a win,” Mouat said. “We really wanted to get one, so the fact that we were able to get two this weekend, against the caliber of teams we played, that’s really something special and I’m just really proud of our team right now.”