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Skylights ready for road rematches

Northern women begin long road stretch at Rocky, Western


February 2, 2017

Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Molly Kreycik, left, drives the ball during last Friday's Frontier Conference game against Carroll College in Havre. The Skylights are now on the road for six straight games, starting tonight with a game at Rocky Mountain College in Billings.

The Montana State University-Northern Skylights finally got the home sweep they were looking for. It was a grueling two games against UGF and Carroll College last weekend in the Armory Gymnasium, but,the Skylights got both wins.

Their reward? A six-game Frontier Conference road trip that starts tonight with a team that beat them the last time out.

The No. 11 Skylights (7-3, 17-4) visit Rocky Mountain College tonight in Billings, followed by a trip to nationally ranked UM-Western Saturday night in Dillon. Both games tip at 5:30 p.m.

And both games will be huge for the Skylights.

For one, Northern fell at home to Rocky (2-8, 10-12) just three weeks ago, and though the Battlin’ Bears have struggled since, having lost five straight games, the Skylights know first hand just how good they can be.

“Their (Bears’) point guard (Mikayla Jones) is about as quick as it gets. She can literally score from everywhere. Keisha Engelhardt plays a little bit everywhere for them and is also capable of big nights offensively. She has big-time range and is very strong around the basket,” MSU-N head coach Chris Mouat said. “Hailee Farstveet is a long, athletic guard who caused us a lot of problems last year. They are also getting a lot of production from Alecia Chamberlain and Justyn Juhl. Jayde LaFevre has been providing an instant spark off of the bench and leads a very deep and talented group of kids who give them a lot of quality minutes.  Rocky is fast and they do a lot of different things at both ends. Wes Keller has done a great job there and he always has his kids prepared.”

No doubt the Skylights will have their hands full with Rocky tonight. But things get even more difficult Saturday night when MSU-N pays a visit to No. 22 Western. Northern throttled the Bulldogs three weeks ago in Havre, but Western has lost just once since, and that was to undefeated Lewis-Clark State. And with the Skylights holding a one-game lead over the Dawgs in the Frontier standings, Saturday night’s game could be an epic matchup.

“Western is led by Kaye Bignell, who has played at a very high level all year long. She is a player that never seems to stop moving, and if you make a mistake on her, she makes you pay for it. She is shooting an incredible percentage from the field and has really upped her game this year,” Mouat said. “Anise Palmore, their point guard, is a returning honorable mention All-American, and she is playing great right now. They also have a couple of transfers who have really made them better in Cierra Lamey and Taylor Howlett. Lindsay Woolley has also done a great job and has his teams prepared every night.”

The Skylights will certainly be in for a fight in Dillon, but Northern will also bring the fight to the Bulldogs. MSU-N is fourth in the NAIA in scoring defense, allowing just 53 points per game, while the Skylights rank second in the country in defensive rebounding and third in free-throw shooting. Those things, combined with Natalee Faupel leading the Frontier in scoring at 17 ppg, as well as the inspired inside play of Sierra Richards, and the increased scoring from senior point guard Molly Kreycik, will certainly help with the tough road games Northern has ahead of it this weekend, and over the next three weeks.

“Now we go out on the road and every game will be a challenge,” Mouat said.

Tonight’s game between Northern and RMC tips at 5:30 in Billings. The Skylights and Bulldogs meet at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in Dillon. MSU-N will play both teams one more time when the Skylights close out the regular season Feb. 24-25 in the Armory Gymnasium. Northern is also on the road next week, playing at LC State next Thursday and at Montana Tech next Saturday.


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