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MSU-Northern tops Blue Hawks

The second half of the basketball season just got a little bit harder.

The Montana State-Northern women’s basketball team handled Dickinson State 82-43 in a Frontier Conference game on Saturday in Scott Gymnasium.

Despite DSU (12-6, 2-1 Frontier) losing by its largest margin of the year, head coach Mark Graupe said the 39-point loss hurts less than losing by one.

“Sometimes in this business you have to take your lashing,” he said. “If you want to know the truth, I hurt more from that Manitoba one-point loss when they had a one-point lead at the buzzer and beat us these 40 points you just move on.”

For MSU-Northern (13-2, 3-0 Frontier), three players had double-digit points with freshman guard Natalee Faupel leading the way with 23. Kassie Barta added with 20 — including going 6 of 8 from 3-point range — and A’Jha Edwards posted 16. The Skylights excelled from the field going 14 of 26 (60 percent).

“We shot well and when you shoot well everything looks better,” MSU-Northern head coach Chris Mouat said. “We made shots early in the game and that helped us. Defensively we’ve been pretty strong throughout the year and we knew they were a great challenge and had a huge win against UGF and we had to be on our toes.”

The Skylights wasted no time going on a quick 8-0 lead to open the game. With 14 minutes, 38 seconds left, DSU took out all of its starters and put in a fresh line with Alyssa Hildebrand, Jaidah Richardson, Rachael McDonough, Porsha Wadsworth and Jalyn Klauzer. The players only allowed two points while on the court, but despite the fresh pair of legs, the Blue Hawks still couldn’t get going offensively. DSU finished 8 of 31 (26 percent) from the field in the first half.

“We started off slow and we haven’t faced a really tall post like that, it was just us getting our rotations down,” said DSU senior forward Jess Bygate, who finished a team-high 15 points and three rebounds. “We can definitely stop her next time we play them but also they shot the lights out … They performed better on the day and we can’t really do too much more than accept the loss and build on it for Idaho and the road games we got coming up.”

The second half wasn’t any better for DSU. Bygate, Mariah Duran and Ja’Lisa Gatlin were the only players with points going into the second half. The team scored just 25 points.

“I can’t remember a game this season where we haven’t scored at all, we didn’t tonight,” Bygate said. “We haven’t been below 30 in the second half hardly ever. It was unlike us and just a weird game.”

With MSU-Northern ranked No. 24 in the nation, it wasn’t a surprise to Graupe and his team they were the heavy underdogs and would come up short. However, this was an eye opening experience for DSU, especially the newcomers, about how difficult the rest of the season will be.

“Maybe it is an eye opener,” Graupe said. “Maybe Mariah and some of those other gals understand, but I don’t think the new girls do. Maybe (Saturday’s game) will be the eye opener that (will make them think) we got to play really well. If we play average, there’s no way.’”

The Blue Hawks play eight of their last 12 games on the road, starting with Lewis-Clark State College (Idaho) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. DSU is hoping the bitter taste from the lost Saturday will serve as motivation moving forward.

“There’s a lot harder competition we’re about to face,” Bygate said. “We’ve had a good season so far and it’s nothing to take away from that, but it’s a level we’ve set ourselves of winning and we want to continue doing this. Now that we’ve had this loss, I know I am, fired up to not keep losing the rest of the season. We want to keep building on what we’ve started and started for this program.”

MONTANA STATE-NORTHERN (13-2, 3-0): Megan Feldman 1-3 3-4 5, A’Jha Edwards 7-9 2-3 16, Natalee Faupel 7-11 3-6 23, Rachelle Bennett 2-4 0-0 4, Taylor Cummings 0-4 2-2 2, Kassie Barta 6-9 2-2 20, Taryn Norby 1-2 0-0 2, Molly Kreycik 2-2 0-0 5. Taybra Teeters 2-3 1-2 5. Totals: 28-27 13-19 82.

DICKINSON STATE (12-6, 2-1): Ja’Lisa gatlin 4-8 0-0 8, Jess Bygate 7-15 1-2 15, Dawne Degel 0-4 0-0 0, Mariah Duran 2-5 0-0 6, TaRicka Linzy 1-7 1-3 3, Alyssa Hildebrand 0-4 0-0 0, Jaidah Richardson 0-1 0-0 0, Rachael McDonough 1-2 0-0 2, Hannah Beede 1-4 0-0 3, Porsha Wadsworth 1-5 2-2 4, Jalyn Klauzer 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 18-58 4-7 43.

Halftime: 41-18. Total fouls: MSUN 11, DSU 17. Technical fouls: 3-point goals: MSUN 13-22 (Faupel 6-7, Bennett 0-1, Cummings 0-4, Barta 6-8, Norby 0-1, Kreycik 1-1), DSU 3-10 (Degel 0-2, Duran 2-3, Linzy 0-2, Hildebrand 0-1, Beede 1-2). Rebounds: MSUN 25 (Edwards 8), DSU 33 (Degel 6). Assists: MSUN 23 (Kreycik 6), DSU 14 (Linzy 7). Steals: MSUN 10 (Bennett 4), DSU 7 (Bygate 2). Blocks: MSUN 1 (Barta), DSU 2 (Bygate, Klauzer). Turnovers: MSUN 12 (Feldman 3), DSU 18 (Degel, Linzy 3).

Meaghan MacDonald

Meaghan is the sports page designer and copy editor for the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.  After graduating from James Madison University (Va.) in May 2013, she moved from New Jersey to North Dakota to start pursuing her career in sports journalism and was a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press and covered Dickinson State athletics. Meaghan has been working for the Forum since June 2015.