The Montana State University-Northern women’s basketball team was looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss to UM-Western on Friday night.
Instead, Saturday night brought more frustration as the Skylights lost to high-powered Montana Tech 76-68 at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse. The loss to Tech meant a rare sweep at home for MSU-N and the Skylights fell to 3-7 in league play and 12-14 overall.
Northern didn’t play poorly against the Orediggers, but the Skylights couldn’t overcome a monsterous 32-point effort from Tech freshman Kelsey DeWitt.
“They (Diggers) were very tough to guard,” MSU-N head coach Chris Mouat said. “With DeWitt playing like she was, and them being as good a 3-point shooting team as they are, there was no way to double her. They were just a very tough matchup for us tonight and my hats off to them for playing so well.”
Although DeWitt was an unstoppable force on Saturday night, the Skylights still had their chances. Northern forged a 30-30 tie after a first half which saw the Skylights go on an 11-2 run, a run started by back-to-back 3-pointers from Nicole Wilk and Laramie Schwenke. But DeWitt and the Orediggers kept banging away on the inside in the second half, and twice opened up double-digit leads. The Skylights came back both times, as Schwenke continued to knock down big shots, but Tech had an answer for every Northern run.
“I thought we executed pretty well, and we played very hard on the defensive end,” Mouat said. “We just couldn’t get over the hump. And that’s largely do to Tech playing such a complete offensive game. So my hats off to them, they came in here and played very well tonight.”
Schwenke had another great outing for the Skylights, scoring 22 points, hitting three trey’s and dishing out five assists. Samm Schermele added 14 points and Jordan Bruursema had a strong game with 10. But the Northern defense could do little to stop DeWitt. The 6-2 freshman from Columbia Falls got her 32 points on a10-of-12 shooting and an outstanding 11-of-14 performance from the foul line.
The loss to Tech means Northern lost all four games this season against the Orediggers and Bulldogs, and perhaps more importantly, the Skylights slipped to seventh in the Frontier standings with four games left.
MSU-N goes on the road this week with games at Rocky Mountain College on Thursday night and Carroll College on Saturday.