MSU-Northern hangs on to beat Dickinson StateIn future years, Caleb Harrison hopes to look back on this season as the one in which he started building a successful women’s basketball program at Dickinson State.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
In future years, Caleb Harrison hopes to look back on this season as the one in which he started building a successful women’s basketball program at Dickinson State.
A team that showed progression throughout the year and ended much better than they started, the Blue Hawks fell just short of wrapping up their first season under Harrison on a high note Saturday night at Scott Gymnasium.
Montana State-Northern, trying to secure a first-round home game in the Frontier Conference playoffs with a win, kept DSU off balance late in the second half en route to a 66-59 victory.
“Number one priority for this year was to establish a culture that never gives up, that fights, that plays hard every game,” Harrison said.
DSU finished last in the Frontier and will not participate in the conference tournament.
The Blue Hawks did that, starting out on fire before cooling off in the second half — they shot 54 percent from the field before halftime and 22 percent after — as the Skylights went to the free-throw line often and used strong defense to kept DSU from regaining the lead late.
“They’re a good team,” said DSU senior Yianna Nadeau, who had 10 points. “You can’t say anything about it. We could have done a couple things different, but that’s every game.”
MSUN shot 14 of 22 from the free-throw line in the second half, including a stretch in which sophomore Rachelle Bennett went to the line four times in 90 seconds to help cut DSU’s 48-41 lead — its biggest of the game — to three and begin setting up the Skylights’ rally.
The Skylights really began taking over when Taylor Cummings banked in a 3-pointer from the left wing with 3:06 remaining to put MSUN up 58-57.
Cummings was fouled by DSU sophomore Janae Moore on the ensuing possession and made both of her free throws. Less than a minute later, Nikki Tresch put the Skylights up 63-57 with a pair of free throws.
MSUN shot 21 of 30 from the line.
DSU couldn’t muster any quality looks at the basket in the final minute, turning it over twice and allowing MSUN to close out the win.
“We were fortunate to have a couple shots go down down the stretch and get a lead and just pad it just enough to hang in there and get by,” MSUN head coach Chris Mouat said.
DSU missed an opportunity when MSUN senior Jordan Bruursema fouled out with 3:30 remaining and was also called for a technical foul. Instead of getting two foul shots and two more for the technical, Nadeau was whistled for a technical as well.
She hit both of her free throws to put DSU up 57-55, but Cummings gave MSUN the lead for good on the Skylights’ next trip down the court.
Cummings scored 10 points and had five steals. Kassie Barta added 10 points off the bench. Laci Keller led MSUN with 13 points and Bruursema had 12.
DSU’s seniors — Nadeau, Ashley Jelly and Jenna Cabello — combined for 19 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Mariah Duran had 11 points but committed nine turnovers, including a couple in the final minutes.
Moore had 16 points and eight rebounds to lead the Blue Hawks, who finished their first season in the Frontier with an 8-20 overall record and a 3-11 mark in league play.
DSU led 35-33 at halftime and were in control much of the first half as they played a more up-tempo style.
MSUN stemmed that in the second half with more full-court pressure.
“We were really solid for a lot of the game,” Harrison said. “We defended well, our players executed the game plan. I give Northern the credit. It wasn’t necessarily what we didn’t do. They wore us down. They did a really good job of pressuring us and full-court pressuring.”
MONTANA STATE-NORTHERN (16-12, 8-8 Frontier): Jordan Bruursema 5-12 0-0 12, Laci Keller 4-6 5-6 13, Nikki Tresch 1-8 3-4 5, Taylor Cummings 2-3 4-4 10, Kylee Denham 2-9 2-6 6, Kassie Barta 3-7 2-2 10, Kacie McKeon 1-7 0-0 3, Rachelle Bennett 0-3 4-6 4, Maurisha McKissic 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 19-57 21-30 66.
DICKINSON STATE (8-20, 3-11 Frontier): Janae Moore 6-8 4-5 16, Jenna Cabello 2-7 4-4 8, Yianna Nadeau 3-6 2-2 10, Mariah Duran 2-10 6-7 11, Ashley Jelly 1-8 0-0 3, Dawne Degel 4-6 1-1 9, Lesina Manuatu 0-0 0-0 0, Jess Bygate 0-1 2-4 2, Jaylyn Klauzer 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-47 19-23 59.
Halftime: DSU 35-33. Total fouls: MSUN 20, DSU 24. Fouled out: MSUN, Bruursema; DSU, Nadeau, Moore. Technical fouls: MSUN, Bruursema; DSU, Moore. 3-point goals: MSUN 7-27 (Bruursema 2-4, Tresch 0-5, Cummings 2-3, Denham 0-3, Barta 2-5, McKeon 1-4, Bennett 0-3), DSU 4-15 (Nadeau 2-4, Duran 1-5, Jelly 1-5, Degel 0-1). Rebounds: MSUN 25 (Denham 4, Keller 4), DSU 44 (Degel 8, Moore 8). Assists: MSUN 10 (Cummings 3), DSU 9 (Moore 3, Jelly 3). Steals: MSUN 11 (Cummings 5), DSU 7 (Duran 3). Blocks: MSUN 1 (Keller), DSU 2 (Degel, Jelly). Turnovers: MSUN 16 (Tresch 5, Cummings 5), DSU 28 (Duran 9).