Skylights will be tested next season


Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

The Montana State University-Northern Skylights recently announced their 2018-19 schedule. The Skylights will play rigorous non-conference schedule, which includes a home game against NCAA Division II Minot State. The Skylights open the season Oct. 19 against Mount Royal in Great Falls and begin Frontier Conference play Nov. 29 at Rocky Mountain College in Billings.

In his long, and brilliant career as head coach of the Montana State University-Northern Skylights, Chris Mouat has always believed in putting together as tough a non-conference schedule as he possibly can.

Mouat has always been known to challenge his teams with great opponents from October, until the start of full-time Frontier play in January. And when the new women's basketball season rolls around this fall, the same will hold true yet again for the Skylights.

Mouat recently announced Northern's 2018-19 schedule, and as always, the first three months of the season are stacked with tough, challenging and exciting opponents.

"In my 13 years, I think this is the toughest non-conference schedule we've had," Mouat said. "There's three or four national tournament teams in the there, an NCAA Division II team, and some really tough road trips. So it's a really good schedule, and it will certainly test us."

Tough indeed, and Northern, which is coming off an 11-19 campaign in which the Skylights were riddled with injuries, will play a lot of strong NAIA teams, away from the friendly confines of the Armory Gymnasium.

Right off the bat, the Skylights open the season with a game against Mount Royal University Oct. 19 in Great Falls, before heading off to Washington to play a pair of strong Cascade Conference teams in Northwest University and Corban University. Corban is now under the direction of one of Mouat's good friends, Bill Pilegram, the former Carroll College great.

The Skylights open November with their fourth straight road game, traveling to NAIA rival Dickinson State, and while Nov. 11 will be MSU-N's home debut, it will be far from easy, as the Skylights welcome in NCAA DII power and former NAIA rival Minot State. Following the Minot game, Northern is right back on the road for a pair of games in Great Falls against NAIA national tournament teams Arizona Christian and Westmont University. Westmont was the runner-up at last year's national tournament in Billings. And from there, the Skylights play their Frontier Conference openers, on the road, at Rocky Mountain College and Carroll College, two more national tourney teams.

Northern then returns to non-conference action with three straight December home games. The Skylights play Yellowstone Christian Dec. 4 and get a rematch with Dickinson State Dec. 9, as well as Alberta Augustana Dec. 10. Then, it's off the Phoenix for the final three games of the non-conference slate, where the Skylights will battle Benedictine at Mesa, Science and Arts of Oklahoma and San Diego Christian on consecutive days to close out the non-conference season.

"It's a really challenging schedule," Mouat said. "Westmont was the national runner-up, Arizona Christian made the national tournament for the first time last year, and Science and Arts went to the Sweet 16. Of Course, Minot State will be huge test for us at home, and you add in Dickinson State twice, Northwest University is very solid, and I know Corban will be, too, and that makes for a very tough schedule. But that's what we want. It will certainly toughen us for conference play."

And league play begins in earnest for the Skylights in January when Northern hosts UM-Western and Lewis-Clark State on back-to-back nights. Once again, the Frontier schedule has every team playing each other three times, and this coming season, Northern will have to play RMC and Carroll twice on the road, but will play Western, LC State and Providence twice at home. January includes a trip to Providence, a home game against Montana Tech, trips to LCSC and Western, as well as Great Falls, and closes with a visit to Tech.

February starts with home games against Rocky and Carroll Feb. 1-2, followed by a visit from Providence Feb. 6. In all, the Skylights will play six of their last eight games at home, with only a trip to Rocky Feb. 14 and Carroll Feb. 16. Northern wraps up league play with visits from LC State Feb. 22 and Western Feb. 23.

The Frontier tourney will again be held at on-campus sites, starting Feb. 26, and the NAIA national tournament will be at Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings for the third straight year. The 2019 national tourney will be held March 13-19.

2018-19 Skylights Basketball Schedule

Oct. 19 vs Mount Royal

In Great Falls

Oct. 26 at Northwest University

Oct. 27 at Corban University

Nov. 9 at Dickinson State

Nov. 11 vs Minot State

Nov. 16 vs Arizona Christian

In Great Falls

Nov. 17 vs Westmont

In Great Falls

Nov. 29 at Rocky Mountain

Dec. 1 at Carroll College

Dec. 4 vs Yellowstone Christian

Dec. 9 vs Dickinson State

Dec. 10 vs Alberta-Augustana

Dec. 18 vs Benedictine at Mesa

In Phoenix

Dec. 19 vs Science and Arts of Oklahoma

In Phoenix

Dec. 20 vs San Diego Christian

In Phoenix

Jan. 4 vs UM-Western

Jan. 5 vs LC State

Jan. 8 at Providence

Jan. 12 vs Montana Tech

Jan. 17 at UM-Western

Jan. 19 at LC State

Jan. 24 vs Providence

Jan. 26 at Montana Tech

Feb. 1 vs Rocky Mountain

Feb. 2 vs Carroll College

Feb. 6 vs Providence

Feb. 8 vs Montana Tech

Feb. 14 at Carroll College

Feb. 16 at Rocky Mountain

Feb. 22 vs LC State

Feb. 23 vs UM-Western

Feb. 26-March 5 Frontier Conference Tournament

March 13-19 NAIA National Tournament in Billings


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