It’s been a season of highs and lows for the Montana State University-Northern women’s basketball team. And right now, the Skylights are trying to come back up from a low.
Northern enters this weekend’s road trip at Rocky Mountain College, tonight in Billings and Carroll College, Saturday night in Helena, coming off a rare two-game home stand in which the Skylights were swept on their home floor.
And with how difficult the Frontier is on a nightly basis, getting back up from that low won’t be easy, especially against two rival the Skylights dismantled last month in Havre.
“The losses to Western and Tech are tough because they are teams that had beaten us already,” Northern head coach Chris Mouat said. “So we wanted to win these games. And we played well at times in both games. We’re playing hard, our kids are playing hard. So we just have to keep playing.”
Tonight’s game between MSU-N (3-7, 12-14) and RMC (4-6, 11-14) should be a great battle. The Skylights crushed the Bears 71-56 last month in Havre, and that was without senior Taylor Keller, who has returned from a knee injury. Now, Northern has its lethal three-guard tandem of Keller, Samm Schermele and Laramie Schwenke, who’s playing the best basketball of her career, back in tact and that should help the Skylights on the road this weekend.
But against both the Bears and Saints, the Skylights will be outsized. RMC has great post players in 5-10 Callie Kautzmann, 6-0 Breanna Todd and 6-3 Laura Beach. So Northern will have its hands full in the paint tonight, especially against a team looking for some revenge.
And things will get even more difficult on Saturday night when MSU-N heads to play the Saints (5-5, 18-8), a team the Skylights throttled 68-49 last month at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse. Carroll is fighting for its postseason lives right now, and the Saints will be desperate for a win on Saturday night, as well as some revenge for the beating the Skylights gave them last month.
And despite their own ups and downs this year, the Saints are as deep and talented as any team in the Frontier Conference. Carroll has deadly shooters in Alysha Green and former Chester/J-I star Jessica VanDyke, as well as solid bigs like Sarah Meyer and Jill Jagelski. In short, Carroll has the total package and the Skylights will have their hands full in Helena.
But that isn’t to say the Skylights can’t win on the road this weekend, especially given the fact they dismantled both of their opponents already this season. And Northern still has plenty to play for, as seeding for the Frontier Conference playoffs will come down to the next four games. Northern is in seventh in the league standings right now, but they are one away from being fifth. So plenty is riding on these last four games, which includes home finales against Westminster and LC State next weekend in Havre.
Tonight’s game between the Skylights and Bears in Billings tips off at 6 and Saturday night’s game between Northern and Carroll will also get underway at 6 p.m. Both games can be heard on 92.5 KPQX FM.
Bears, Saints will be out for revenge
Frontier Women's Standings
Lewis-Clark State 9-2 23-3
Westminster 9-2 22-5
Montana Tech 6-5 17-9
Carroll 5-5 18-8
Rocky Mountain 4-6 11-14
UM-Western 4-7 8-15
MSU-Northern 3-7 12-14
Great Falls 2-8 9-16