By Rob Everingham
The MSU-Northern Skylights placed three players in double figures as they cruised to a 69-63 Frontier Conference win over Western Montana College on Saturday night at the Northern gym.
The Bulldogs came into the game ranked No. 24 in the nation, but could not get the job done against the defending Frontier Conference champions.
Neither team could build any type of a lead in the first half. The Skylights did get up 30-24 with 1:38 left in the half, but two 3-pointers from Western tied the game up 30-30 at the break.
Western opened the second half with a 10-0 run, but the Skylights answered to take the lead 45-43 after a Kristine Noel 3-pointer.
The Bulldogs tied the game at 45-45 but that would be the closest they would get.
Northern built a 60-52 lead off a pair of Jana Smith free throws and never looked back.
Western was led by Trish Jones who had 12 points.
For the Skylights, Smith led the way with 18, while Noel dumped in 16, and Brianne Dunn had 10 and eight rebounds.
The win moves the Skylights to 3-2 in the conference.
Skylights head coach Ray Peters said he was happy with how his team was able to step up and pull out the win. Northern was without Anna Fabatz, who led the Skylights on Thursday night again Carroll. Fabatz injured her knee in practice on Friday night.
"The mark of a good team is that other people step up," Peters said.
KG graduate Jennifer Young took Fabatz's place. The freshman played 20 minutes, hit a couple of key 3-pointers, and was 3-for-4 from the free throw line. She had no turnovers.
Peters said anytime you can hold one of the conferences best shooting teams to just 30 percent, you're doing something right.
Peters said, along with Young, Dunn had a great game and is a tireless worker. Also, Smith again stepped to the fore front and had a great game. Even though Smith was only credited with three assists, Peters said, she had a lot more than just three.
Also, the depth in the post for the Skylights was great, with Laura Munson, Kelsie Burgmaier, and Lynn Kansteiner all contributing to shut down the Bulldogs' offense.
Next up for the Skylights is their longest conference road trip as they head to Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday to take on conference newcomer Westminster.
Western -- Trish Jones 5-10 0-0 12; Karly Tait 3-12 1-2 9; Alison Burlingame 2-9 1-2 7; Misty Covington 2-6 3-4 7; Kari Vosen 0-2 4-7 4; Lindsay Haugan 2-5 0-0 6; Julie Sherrill 2-6 0-0 5; Bobbi Suhr 1-3 2-2 5; Tanya Romer 2-5 4-4 8. Totals: 19-60 15-21 63.
MSU-N -- Kristine Noel 6-15 2-2 16; Abby Hjorth 2-8 2-2 6; Jana Smith 3-6 10-17 18; Brianne Dunn 3-6 4-5 10; Kelsy Burgmaier 1-5 1-2 3; Jennifer Young 2-4 3-4 9; Laura Munson 2-4 1-1 5; Lynn Kansteiner 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 20-49 23-33 69.
Halftime: MSU-N 30, Western 30. Three-pointers: WM 10-29 (Haugan 2-3, Jones 2-7, Talt 2-7, Burlingame 2-7, Suhr 1-1, Sherrill 1-4); MSU-N 6-14 (Noel 2-3, Smith 2-4, Young 2-4); Rebounds: WM 40 (Romer 9); MSU-N 37 (Dunn 8); Assists: WM 13 (Burlingame, Vosen 3); MSU-N 19 (Dunn, Hjorth 3); Total fouls: WM 22, MSU-N 17. Fouled