By Jason Shoot
Getting eliminated in the second round of the NAIA national tournament in Jackson, Tenn. last weekend did little to quell the pleasure Montana State University-Northern women's basketball coach Kevin Emerick took from the experience.
After all, just eight NAIA schools in the entire nation advanced further than the Skylights did.
"We just played great in both games," Emerick said of the win against Brescia and loss to Southern Nazarene. "(Against Southern Nazarene) we had open looks and just didn't make them. We played great defense, and our offense gave us a lot of open looks."
Northern trailed the Crimson Storm just 50-47 with nine minutes left and was poised to make a run for the victory.
Then the Skylights' shooting turned so cold it made Frosty the Snowman jealous.
"Davina (Shoemake) was 4-for-15 and Anna (Fabatz) was 2-for-15, and that makes it tough to score," Emerick said. "We missed 15 of 17 shots down the stretch."
Adding to Northern's scoring woes was the absence of Lana Quintyne, who led the Frontier Conference in scoring with over 18 points a game. Emerick removed Quintyne from the team for what he called disciplinary reasons.'
Still, however, he left open an opportunity for her to rejoin the team, and she chose not to, he said.
"We gave her a chance to come back and make amends and play in the tournament," Emerick said. "We had a ticket for her to come down to Jackson, and she chose not to.
"We would have liked to have had a healthy, positive Lana Quintyne with us, but it wasn't possible to do at the time."
Emerick said he is working tirelessly to recruit for next season, and he said the school has signed a player from Billings High and are working on athletes from Kalispell High and Miles City Community College.
"We need to bring in seven or eight kids for next year," Emerick said. "It's always kind of a rebuilding year in your second year (as head coach). But we've seen some great kids and have some great leads. We'll certainly do some rebuilding."