Skylights slow down Tech women

Ironically, the compliment was to Butte coaches while the victim was a Butte team.

“It’s a help to have those Butte kids,” Chris Mouat said after he piloted 15th-ranked Montana State-Northern to defensive dominance in a 58-42 Frontier Conference college women’s basketball triumph over Butte-based Montana Tech Friday night in the Tech HPER Complex. Box Score

Mouat spent time in The Mining City as the Butte High head girls’ basketball coach and as a Montana Tech women’s basketball assistant coach before winding up at the helm of the Northern program.

He was crediting the toughness and defensive development of Butte High graduate Natalee Faupel and Butte Central alum Kacie McKeon as being factors in the stingy style of play the Skylights displayed.

First-year Montana Tech head coach DeAnn Craft agreed that defense was the vehicle that carried Northern’s victory.

“Northern made us play 30 seconds on every possession,” she said. “They forced us to play defense too long. It fatigued us.”

Craft said, too, that the Skylights were able to bully Montana Tech inside the paint, which caused the Orediggers to waste scoring chances and opportunities to draw free throws while putting Northern in foul trouble.

“There were times we were able to penetrate and we passed it off inside,” she said. “Much of it was because of the presence of No. 30 (6-foot-5 A’Jha Edwards). We were unwilling to create contact.”

The Skylights’ style also limited Montana Tech’s possessions and, therefore, sots. However, they did not ease to the win. The Orediggers were very much in the contest and led 21-18 after Martha Dembek scored off a Hattie Thatcher set-up and pass three minutes before halftime,

Northern, though., closed the half on a 7-0 run started with a tying 3-point basket by Taylor Cummings and capped by a Faupel drive and layup.
Faupel, Thatcher and Montana Tech forward Kabri Emerson were all teammates at Butte High.

Emerson powered an Oredigger comeback in the earlier moments of the second half. Her four points and boardwork in the first nine minutes helped slice the Skylights’ lead to 34-31.

The Northern defense then took root and the fatigue set in on the Orediggers.

“I think Northern is in better shape than we are,” Craft said.

The Skylights outscored Montana Tech 24-7 the next nine minutes and secured the win.

“They’re a great team,” Craft said of the Skylights. “They are extraordinarily well-versed in when to take shots when they need to take them. Our shot selection faltered at a very important part of the game because of fatigue.

“Our bigs played well in man-to-man, limiting the touches of their leading scorers. But we were playing like we needed Northern to miss shots (in order to gain offensive opportunity). We didn’t get out on their shooters. We can’t give them, any team in the Frontier Conference, those kind of looks and have a positive outcome.”

Rachelle Bennett led Northern with 13 points and Cummings scored 11; Edwards had eight points, 11 rebounds and a block. Faupel collected eight points, a rebound, two assists and a steal. McKeon notched four points and a rebound.

Emerson led Montana Tech with 13 points and eight rebounds. Kelsey DeWit tallied 11 points. Deuces were wild for Thatcher as she totaled two points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals. The Skylights held Montana Tech leading scorer Mandy Machinal to four points.

“They did a nice job of face-guarding Mandy Macinal all night,” Craft said. “She needs to understand she needs to (pass, screen, help in other areas on offense) and she’ll get a crevice to shoot through.”

Craft praised Callie Remsen for her efforts in the game and for this season.

“Callie Remsen played fearless tonight,” Craft said. “She is one of our most consistent players. She played the back row of our zone (defense) extremely well.”The Orediggers are 0-6 in conference action and 7-8 overall. They will be in the HPER Complex again on Saturdar for a 5:30 tip-off against Frontier leader and 18th-ranked Lewis-Clark State. Northern improved to 5-1 and 15-3.


Northern’s Kacie McKeon defends as Montana Tech guard Hattie Thatcher brings the ball down court.


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  • Scott & Naceme Faupel
    January 17, 2014, 7:24 pm

    Way to go Skylights!

  • Alan D
    January 17, 2014, 11:50 pm

    It was good to see Nat playing well! Good story, Bruce!
    Did I get it right this time? LOL


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