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Skylights salvage split in Great Falls

 


Montana State University-Northern women's basketball head coach Mike Erickson knows his team is improving. He can see it from week to week, from game to game, even from night to night.

The Skylights rebounded from a tough 81-63 loss to the University of Mary Marauders on Friday night to pick up an 86-83 win over the Black Hills State University Yellowjackets Saturday at the Argo Invitational in Great Falls.

"It was an ugly win," Erickson said. "But we played a lot better than we did the night before, especially offensively."

Northern got three crucial free throws from senior Anna Bateman to seal the win over a pesky Yellowjacket squad.

"Black Hills was a scrappy team that played with a lot of heart," Erickson said. "It was nice to win a close game because it will help us down the road in that same situation."

Even more helpful to the Skylights was the emergence of transfer Michele VanDyke. The Chester native scored a season-high 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a breakout game.

"Michele got a quick score and you could see her confidence just build. It was her coming-out game," Erickson said. "It was a real confidence-booster for our whole team because they know how important it is for her to play well."

VanDyke got several of her points in transition as Bateman really pushed the ball up the court and finished with a game-high eight assists.

"Anna played much better and Michele ran the floor well and was rewarded," Erickson said. "We really looked to push the ball up the floor."

Bateman also had 10 points and is starting to get closer to game shape. Khadiga Mohamed added 16 points while Megan Valgardson chipped in with 11 points.

Saturday's win didn't erase Friday night's loss, but it made it somewhat easier to swallow. After playing a solid first half, the Mary Marauders exploded for 51 second-half points to blow open a 30-30 halftime score.

After shooting an icy 33 percent from the field, the Marauders heated up in the second half, sinking 24 of 30 shots.

"We came out with great intensity in the second half, but they hit everything," Erickson said. "We did a good job defending them in the first half. In the second half they hit some outside shots and our defense had to extend a little more and they started beating us off the dribble."

Mary, ranked fourth in NAIA Division II, got a game-high 22 points, including five 3-pointers, from Sarah Leer and 21 points from Northern State transfer Andrea Ronderos.

Northern was led by freshman Jessi Reome with 17 points, including four 3-pointers. VanDyke added 13 points and six rebounds and Bateman chipped in with 10 points.

"We knew coming in that Mary was a very good team, but we know we can play with them," Erickson said. "We kind of ran out of gas in the second half."

Northern will return home for the Skylight Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

UNIVERSITY OF MARY (81)

Aften Miller 1-3 0-0 2; Natalie Brunner 3-8 2-2 8; Kari Wilcox 0-2 0-0 0; Jamie Stensgard 4-10 0-2 8; Andrea Ronderos 8-9 3-3 21; Jolene Kjorstad 0-1 0-0 0; Kara McGuinness 0-1 0-0 0; Jessica Zundel 3-7 2-2 8; Molly Merrigan 4-10 4-4 12; Sarah Leer 7-12 3-3 22; Nicole Meier 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 30-64 14-16 81.

MSU-NORTHERN (63)

Jessi Reome 5-8 4-5 17; Kristie Pullin 0-3 0-0 0; Anna Bateman 4-11 0-0 10; Kristal Lohse 1-2 0-0 2; Khadiga Mohamed 4-9 1-2 9; Chasi Buffington 1-4 0-0 3; Brettney Vermandel 2-4 0-0 4; Michele VanDyke 5-12 2-2 13; Megan Valgardson 3-12 0-0 6. Totals: 25-66 7-9 63.

Halftime: tied at 30. Three point goals: UM 7-12 (Leer 5-7, Ronderos 2-2, Zundel 0-1, Wilcox 0-1), MSUN 6-16 (Bateman 2-6, Reome 2-6, Pullin 0-2, Buffington 1-1, VanDyke 0-1). Rebounds: UM 38 (Merrigan 10); MSUN 26 (VanDyke 6) Assists: UM 19 (Merrigan 4, Leer 4); MSUN 14 (Bateman 4). Total fouls: UM 16, MSUN 17. Fouled out - none; Technicals - none.

BLACK HILLS STATE (83)

Becca Walters 5-8 0-1 11; Amanda Mortenson 3-10 1-2 8; Kiana Sabas 2-4 1-2 5; Erika Warren 4-6 0-0 8; Melissa Burns 0-0 1-2 1; Kayla Hughes 2-4 0-0 6; Heather Combs 5-11 7-11 15; Joni Lunney 5-10 7-11 17; Britney Klipfel 2-4 4-6 8. Totals: 29-60 4-6 83.

MSU-NORTHERN (86)

Jessi Reome 3-7 0-0 7; Anna Bateman 3-5 3-6 10; Kristal Lohse 3-7 3-4 9; Khadiga Mohamed 5-15 6-9 16; Chasi Buffington 1-2 0-0 2; Jena Heggem 2-3 0-0 4; Brettney Vermandel 3-7 2-4 8; Michele VanDyke 7-15 5-8 19; Megan Valgardson 4-8 3-6 11. Totals: 31-71 22-37 86.

Halftime: tied at 43. Three point goals: BHS 5-15 (Walters 1-3, Mortenson 1-6, Hughes 2-4, Combs 1-2), MSUN 2-7 (Reome 1-2, Bateman 1-3, Buffington 0-1, Heggem 0-1). Rebounds: BHS 32 (Lunney 9); MSUN 38 (VanDyke 10) Assists: BHS 22 (Warren 5); MSUN 18 (Bateman 8). Total fouls: BHS 27, MSUN 23. Fouled out - Valgardson; Technicals - MSUN bench.

 

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