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Providence turns away MSU-N women


January 3, 2018

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Jacy Thompson, right, drives the ball during Tuesday night's Frontier Conference game against the University of Providence in the Armory Gymnasium. The Argos upset the 21st-ranked Skylights.

College basketball is tough. One minute, you're riding high, and the next, it can feel like the rug gets pulled out from underneath you.

That was the case for the Montana State University-Northern Skylights in a 56-48 loss to the University of Providence Argos Tuesday night in the Armory Gymnasium.

The No. 21 Skylights were feeling good after knocking off nationally ranked Our Lady of the Lake last Saturday night, and for a time Tuesday night, it looked as though they could do the same to the rival Argos. Instead, UP flipped the script on Northern with a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter, a run that ultimately led to the upset win.

"It's tough," Northern head coach Chris Mouat said. "I loved our effort. The effort was there all night, especially defensively. But when you shoot 29 percent from the floor and 11 percent from the three, you're not going to win a game in the Frontier Conference. So we have to shoot it a lot better than we did tonight going forward."

Those were the numbers for the Skylights, who hadn't lost to the Argos in their last three match ups. And yet, they found themselves leading 42-40 after a 3-point play by Brandy Lambourne at the start of the fourth quarter. From there, however, the Argos scored nine straight, and the Skylights wouldn't make another field goal until Lambourne buried a 3-pointer with 1:17 left. That left the Skylights trailing just 51-48, and on UP's next possession, it looked as though Northern had came up with a steal. But the ball somehow found its way into the hands of Steph McDonagh, the Frontier's leading scorer, and she banked in a trey as the shot clock expired, essentially ending MSU-N's hopes of a comeback.

"We had a horrible night from the three, and we didn't get stops at times when it hurt the most," Mouat said. "Also, credit to them (Argos). They made some big shots, including one that essentially iced the game. They hurt us on the offensive boards, and they stepped up and made shots when they had to."

The Argos did make big shots, especially early on. But six points from Jessica Curl sparked an 8-0 run which left MSU-N leading 16-14 at the end of the first period.

The run would balloon to 13-2 after a Kealani Sagapolu inside basket, while Providence went over seven minutes without a field goal. But then Northern went cold, and the Skylights' lead was just 27-25 at intermission.

Peyton Filius would hit a triple early in the third quarter, keeping Northern in front, but it didn't last, as Jenna Randich sparked a 10-0 UP run with two threes, and the Argos led 40-39 with 10 minutes to play. Lambourne's old-fashioned three, which put the Skylights up 42-40, would be Northern's final lead of the night.

Lambourne would lead all scorers with 19 points, but she was also MSU-N's only double-digit scorer. Filius added nine points, while Sagapolu had eight and eight rebounds. Defensively, the Skylights held UP to 36 percent shooting, and Jacy Thompson held McDonagh to six below her average. But Parker Esary scored 13 points and grabbed 10 boards and was one of three double-digit rebounders for the Argos, who improved to 2-1 in the Frontier, after winning one conference game all of last season.

On the flip side, Northern fell to 1-2 in league play, and 9-5 overall, and must quickly regroup, as the Skylights travel to Butte Thursday night to play a tough Montana Tech squad.

"We have to look in the mirror, as players and us as coaches, and figure out how to play better," Mouat said. "And that's what we'll do. We'll roll up our sleeves and go right back to work, and get ready for Montana Tech."

Skylights are 1-2 in Frontier, 9-5 overall; Next Up: at Montana Tech Thursday

Providence 56, Skylights 48

Providence 14 11 15 16 - 56

MSU-Northern 16 11 12 9 - 48

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Brandy Lambourne shoots during Tuesday's game against Providence in Havre.

UP - Stephanie MCDONAGH 6-15 0-0 13, Molly HERRON 0-3 0-0 0, Kallee WILSON 1-6 0-0 2, Jenna RANDICH 5-9 2-2 15, Tristan MURPHY 3-10 0-0 6, Parker ESARY 5-8 3-3 13, Elly TESKE 0-0 0-0 0, Emilee MALDONADO 2-9 3-4 7. Totals 22-60 8-9 56.

MSU-N - Jacy Thompson 0-5 0-0 0, Brandy Lambourne 7-18 4-5 19, Jessica Curl 1-3 2-2 4, Peyton Filius 2-13 4-4 9, Shiloh McCormick 1-4 4-6 6, Lily Hilderbrand 1-2 0-0 2, Kealani Sagapolu 3-9 2-2 8. Totals 15-54 16-19 48.

3-pt FG:Univ of Providence 4-16 (MCDONAGH 1-4, HERRON 0-1, WILSON 0-2, RANDICH 3-5, MALDONADO 0-4), Montana State University-Northern 2-18 (Thompson 0-2, Lambourne 1-9, Filius 1-6, McCormick 0-1). Rebounds: Univ of Providence 38 (HERRON 10, MURPHY 10, ESARY 10), Montana State University-Northern 32 (Sagapolu 8). Fouls Univ of Providence 17, Montana State University-Northern 9. Fouled out: McCormick.


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