Selvig wins No. 800 as Lady Griz get past Pilots
Nov. 18, 2013
Senior Torry Hill and redshirt junior Kellie Cole both scored 16 points and Montana used a 16-2 second-half run to pull away from Portland and post a 68-61 victory over the Pilots Monday night at Dahlberg Arena. The win gave longtime Lady Griz coach Robin Selvig his 800th career victory at his alma mater.
Selvig becomes just the sixth active coach in NCAA Division I women's basketball -- and only the eighth all-time -- to reach 800 victories, joining North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell, C. Vivian Stringer of Rutgers, Stanford's Tara VanDerveer, Connecticut's Geno Auriemma and Andy Landers of Georgia.
Former coaches Pat Summitt of Tennessee and Jody Conradt of Texas also reached the 800-win milestone during their careers.
Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim of Syracuse are the only two active Division I men's coaches with at least 800 victories.
Selvig, who reached 800 wins in fewer games than any men's or women's coach in Division I history outside of Auriemma, Summitt, VanDerveer, Adolph Rupp of Kentucky and North Carolina's Dean Smith, improved to 800-255 in his 36th season coaching the Lady Griz.
Selvig needed two wins entering the season to reach the mark, and he got it in two games as Montana opened the season with an easy 76-49 win over MSU Northern on Sunday, Nov. 10, and added a hard-fought victory over Portland on Monday, three days after the Pilots won by 14 at Washington.
"I'm really happy we got it the first try. I didn't want to listen to, When are you going to get 800? When are you going to get 800? Now we can focus on getting better and winning No. 801," Selvig said.
"What's really nice about it is we beat a really good team tonight. I didn't know where we were at this point in the year, but now I think we're going to have a pretty good team."
Montana missed 12 of its first 13 shots and had just two points nearly eight minutes into the game Monday, but the Lady Griz used solid defense of their own to never fall behind by more than five points in the early going.
A 3-pointer by redshirt sophomore Haley Vining tied the score at 7-7 at the 10:49 mark, and Cole gave Montana its first lead of the game when she hit a jumper at 7:22 to make it 13-12.
The teams went back and forth until a traditional three-point play by freshman Alycia Sims in the final minute gave Montana a 22-21 halftime advantage.
The Lady Griz, who were led by Cole's six first-half points, shot 25.8 percent in the opening 20 minutes and went 1 for 12 from 3-point range. But on the other end Montana was holding Portland to 29.6 percent shooting and forcing the Pilots into 10 turnovers.
"We didn't shoot it well, but fortunately neither did they," Selvig said. "They were playing good defense, and they threw us off a little bit, but I was impressed how hard we played and how good of defense we played. They are not easy to guard."
Portland, which was led by Jasmine Wooton's 20 points, built its lead back to five early in the second half and led 40-36 when Amy Pupa converted a three-point play at the 10:14 mark.
Cole hit a jumper in the lane on Montana's next possession, and freshman Kayleigh Valley drilled the first 3-pointer of her career, from the left corner, to give the Lady Griz the lead for good.
Montana's 16-2 run put the Lady Griz up 10, 52-42.
Hill sank two free throws to give Montana a 63-53 lead with 1:12 left, but Kari Luttinen hit a three, and Wooten created a turnover in the backcourt that she turned into a plus-one layup.
Portland's six points in eight seconds cut the lead to 63-59, but Hill, Valley and Cole combined to go 5 for 6 from the line in the final 52 seconds to end the threat.
Sims, with 13 points and eight rebounds, had her second big game off the bench in as many outings to help the Lady Griz reserves contribute 28 points on a night when three-fifths of Montana's starters never got going offensively.
Valley added seven points off the bench and was on the court the final 8:37. She entered the game with Montana trailing 42-40. She was still on the court when the final horn sounded and the celebration began.
"I thought Hannah (Doran), McCalle (Feller) and Kayleigh all did a nice job," Selvig said. "I just got comfortable with what was on the floor at the time, and we made a little run with Kayleigh out there.
"She was doing a nice job on defense, so I ended up staying with her."
Montana scored 46 second-half points, aided by a 15-for-16 effort from the free throw line. Hill, who scored just two first-half points on 0-for-5 shooting, got hot in the second half. She went 3 for 4 from 3-point range and 4 for 6 overall.
"We shot it better in the second half. I think we just needed a little time to adjust to their defense," Selvig said.
Cole played all 40 minutes nearly posted her first career double-double with 16 points and a career-high nine rebounds. She also added a team-high three assists.
Monday's game was the only one of the week for Montana, which will play three games in four days next week. The Lady Griz will play at Denver on Wednesday, Nov. 27, then continue on to Los Angeles for two games at Loyola Marymount's tournament.
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