Streaking: Skylights ground Eagles
It's nice to be home.
After over a month's worth of road games, the Montana State University-Northern women's basketball team made the most of a three-game home stand over the last 10 days.
And the Skylights finished that home stand off with a commanding 81-47 win over King's College of Alberta on Wednesday night at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse. Wednesday's victory was the fourth straight for the Skylights and third in a row at home.
And after struggling to pull away from Concordia College on Sunday night, the Skylights came out and established themselves quickly against King's.
Junior Val Gee came off the bench early in the first half and sparked Northern with six quick points as MSU-N led 16-5 early on. But like on Sunday night, the Skylights also had their down moments and the Eagles took advantage by ripping off a 9-0 run and tying the game.
"We didn't shoot well enough from the three to break the game open in the first half," Northern head coach Chris Mouat said. "We need to be more consistent shooting the ball throughout the course of the game. And credit them (Eagles), they were very scrappy and played hard.
"But once we starting shooting the ball with a little more consistency, we were able to rip the game open," he added. "And I thought the kids did a nice job of playing with a lead in the second half."
The Eagles never led, but made things interesting in the first half. That is until senior Samm Schermele took over. Schermele closed the first half by hitting two 3-pointers, and Gee scored two more buckets inside as the Skylights finished the half on a 10-2 run and led 38-25 at intermission.
Gee was a catalyst, scoring a season-high 16 points to go with eight rebounds. And Schermele also had a hot hand, but as Northern looked to pull away in the second half, it was former Malta prep star Kylee Denham who stepped to the forefront. Denham, a Montana State-Billings transfer, was starting for injured senior Taylor Keller, and she scored 11 of her 14 points in the final 16 minutes of the game. She hit three trey's in the second half and also played stellar defense as Northern opened the game up in the final 20 minutes.
"Val Gee and Kylee Denham really lifted us tonight," Mouat said. "Val scored 16 points in just 13 minutes, that's impressive. And Kylee did a lot of nice things, shooting the ball well and playing tough defense. Those two had a really good night and they really boosted us up."
By the time Denham hit her final three at the 3:55 mark, the Skylights led 69-45 and the Eagles never threatened again. Denham wound up going 5-for-7 from the floor for 14 points and four triples. Schermele finished the game with 24 points and a pair of three's to go along with five assists, while Gee was a stellar 7-of-8 from the floor as the Skylights shot 50 percent from the floor.
Northern's current winning streak comes at a good time as the Skylights will now embark on a road trip which includes three games against quality NAIA opponents next week in Las Vegas, as well as the start of Frontier Conference play. The Skylights (7-6) won't be back at home until Jan.21.
"When you play a schedule as tough as our, you have to find ways to win home games when you get them," Mouat said. "And winning these last three games was our goal. It was always pretty, but we got all three games and that's a testament to our kids and how hard they are working to keep getting better. Now we just have to try and build on this momentum we've got and make sure we go into the conference playing well."
Gee, Denham spark MSU-N
Skylights are 7-6 overall
Skylights 81, King's College 47
KC — Julie Heavenor 2-2 1-2 5, Alyx Aarbo 0-0 0-0 0, Alexa Sackela-Geiger 0-2 0-0 0, Berkley Lamb 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Tennant 2-5 0-0 4, Teigan McDermid 0-3 0-0 0, Tamara Deunk 4-11 1-3 9, Chelsea Dyck 4-7 0-1 8, Michelle Huber 3-6 3-6 9, Jessica Anderson 4-5 0-0 8, Beth Richardson 0-5 4-6 4. Totals 19-46 9-18 47.
MSU-N — Laramie Schwenke 2-9 0-0 6, Kylee Denham 5-7 0-1 14, Samm Schermele 6-15 9-10 24, Valerie Gee 7-8 2-2 16, Jordan Bruursema 1-5 6-7 8, Nicole Wilk 1-5 0-0 2, Courtney Blume 4-8 0-1 8, Monica Hollowell 0-4 0-0 0, Stren Tramelli 1-1 1-2 3. Totals 27-62 18-23 81.
Halftime: MSU-N 38-25. 3-pt FG:Kings University College 0-5 (Sackela-Geiger 0-1, Tennant 0-2, McDermid 0-1, Anderson 0-1), Montana State University- 9-32 (Schwenke 2-7, Denham 4-5, Schermele 3-11, Bruursema 0-2, Wilk 0-4, Hollowell 0-3). Rebounds: Kings University College 35 (Huber 7, Richardson 7), Montana State University- 35 (TEAM 6). Fouls Kings University College 24, Montana State University- 16. Fouled out: Tennant Deunk Gee . Technical: none. Assists: Kings University College 2 (Tennant 1, Anderson 1), Montana State University- 19 (Schwenke 7). Steals: Kings University College 5 (Heavenor 2), Montana State University- 7 (Denham 2, Schermele 2). Blocked shots: Kings University College 1 (Tennant 1), Montana State University- 1 (Tramelli 1). Turnovers: Kings University College 25, Montana State University- 11.