By Rob Everingham
Even though this game will be remembered more for the streaker, the MSU-Northern Skylights picked up a 67-58 win over Montana Tech on Monday at the MSU-Northern gymnasium.
Led by Jana Smith with 19 points, the Skylights jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead with 17:34 left off a pair of Abby Hjorth free throws.
However, Tech fought back to take a 10-8 lead.
The two teams exchanged the lead through the first half with neither team getting up by more than four points.
The game was tied 31-31 with 14 seconds left, but Tech's Kaila Minehan hit a basket as time expired in the first half to give the Orediggers a 33-31 lead.
With 17:01 left in the game, Tech held a narrow 36-35 lead off a Tara Keller basket.
From there, the Skylights went on a 13-0 run to open up 48-36 lead. Tech returned the favor by going on a 10-2 run to pull themselves back to within five points at 51-46.
The Skylights just proved to be too much for Tech as they held on for the win.
Northern went 8-for-12 from the free throw line in the last three minutes of the game to sew up the victory.
Along with Smith, Hjorth was in double figures with 13 points and Lynn Kansteiner dumped in 11.
Tech was led by Keller who had 20 points, while Collette Donnelly added 14.
The win moves the Skylights to 15-12 overall and above the .500 mark in conference at 5-4.
Northern now gets to rest until Saturday night when it plays host to the Fighting Saints of Carroll College.
Skylights head coach Ray Peters said it was a very important win for them and keeps them in the No. 3 spot in the conference. The win also sets up a very important game against Carroll College on Saturday.
Peters said they knew it was going to be a close game and Tech was on a roll after winning two in a row. The Orediggers were also in a spot of moving into second place with a win over the Skylights.
The Skylights did a much better job of finishing on the defensive end in the second half and did not give up as many offensive boards, Peters said.
Again, Kansteiner stepped up and played great defense on Keller, Peters said.
He added that during the stretch when the Skylights went up by 12 points, Kansteiner did a great job of keeping the ball out of Keller's hands.
KG graduate Jennifer Young stepped up and had a great game. Young played 25 minutes, had just one turnover and pulled down six rebounds.
"That is huge," Peters said. Young also hit two key 3-pointers for the Skylights when Tech was on a scoring run.
"She did a great job of catching and hitting the 3-pointers," Peters said.
The Skylights now get a much needed rest after playing three games in five days. During the stretch Northern went 2-1, with the loss coming to league leading and unbeaten Lewis-Clark State.
Montana Tech 58
Montana Tech Anita Zabel 1-3 0-0 3; Christa Donnelly 0-1 0-0 0; Jamie Nichols 2-6 0-0 5; Jenni Westphal 1-5 5-6 7; Marcie Mansanti 0-3 0-0 0; Minehan 4-7 1-2 9; Collette Donnelly 5-17 4-4 14; Kuszmaul 0-1 0-0 0; Tara Keller 8-13 4-6 20. Totals: 21-56 14-18.
MSU-N Kristine Noel 2-4 2-2 8; Shannon Ketcham 0-1 0-0 0; Abby Hjorth 4-7 5-5 13; Jana Smith 8-14 3-7 19; Jennifer Young 2-4 1-2 7; Brianne Dunn 2-6 2-2 6; Laura Munson 0-1 0-0 0; Jackie Rasnick 1-4 0-0 3; Kelsy Burgmaier 0-1 0-0 0; Lynn Kansteiner 3-8 5-8 11. Totals: 22-50 18-26.
Halftime: MT 33; MSU-N 31; Three-pointers: MT 2-10 (Zabel 1-1, Nichols 1-4); MSU-N 5-13 (Noel 2-2, Young 2-4, Rasnick 1-4); Rebounds: MT 42 (Keller 10); MSU-N 27 (Young 6); Assists: MT 10 (Minehan 4); MSU-N 11 (Noel 4); Turnovers: MT 26; MSU-N 20; Total fouls: MT 21 (Fouled out: Mansanti); MSU-N 20 (Fouled out: none).