By Rob Everingham
It's show time.
The MSU-Northern Skylights, defending Frontier Conference regular season champions, open their campaign for yet another conference title this weekend in Billings.
Northern will square off against the Bears of Rocky Mountain College on Saturday night.
Skylights head coach Ray Peters said they have been playing some pretty good basketball. He said the second half of the non-conference season has been a big improvement over the first part.
In the first half, Peters said, they were playing well, but were not making the shots.
Against Rocky this weekend, Peters said, they will need to play a sound game defensively and contain ball movement.
Peters said, though, players are starting to step up on his team.
The Skylights have been getting consistent play from their guards and, this weekend, defensively they will need to control the post and Bear Tara Walton.
Northern will also have to contain Sarah Megyesi on the perimeter.
The Skylights have been led in the non-conference season by freshman Jana Smith, who also leads the league in scoring.
Peters said there has been two reasons why Smith has raised her point production.
First, in the early part of the season, Smith would shoot well in one half of the game, but not well in the other. But, now she is playing more consistently.
"She's playing 40 minutes of consistent basketball," Peters said.
The other reason, Peters stated, was that Smith is moving better away from the ball and her teammates are looking for her.
Peters said they have had such a long non-conference season this year and it has been much tougher. But, now it's time to get to work.
"That's what we're playing the season for," Peters said.
Peters doesn't think that playing one game this weekend will be any different. It's still conference and they still have to take care of things.
The Skylights home conference opener is next Thursday night, Jan. 20, against league-leading and league newcomer Lewis-Clark State.