Former Lady Griz involved in fatal crash


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May 1, 2013

Former Lady Griz Julie Deming, who electrified a sold-out Dahlberg Arena with a 29-point performance against Louisiana Tech in a 2004 NCAA tournament game, has died at the age of 32. Deming and her passenger were killed in a single-vehicle crash that occurred in Vancouver, Wash., last weekend.

Deming's funeral will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 955 NW 173rd in Beaverton, Ore. Lady Griz fans are asked to send any memories of Deming's time at Montana to demingfamily@yahoo.com.

She is survived by her parents, Jim and Elaine Deming, three older brothers, David, Steven and Patrick, and an older sister, Diane.

Deming, who is one of 29 Lady Griz players to reach 1,000 career points, was a five-year (1999-2004) member of the Montana women's basketball team. She played her first three years, redshirted the 2002-03 season due to an ankle injury, then returned in 2003-04 for her final year of eligibility.

Her senior season was her most memorable. She led the team in scoring (13.6/g) and earned All-Big Sky Conference honors, along with teammates Brooklynn Lorenzen and Hollie Tyler, after leading Montana to a perfect 14-0 league record and a spot in the NCAA tournament.

She finished her career with 1,073 points, a total which ranks 26th in program history, and is the program's top career 3-point shooter (.440).

A native of Portland, Deming, who was born on Christmas Day in 1980, was a 1999 graduate of Westview High. She graduated from Montana with a degree in radio-TV and was working at the time of her death as an MRI technician.

Friday's funeral will be just the second that 35-year Lady Griz coach Robin Selvig has had to attend for one of his players. Shannon Green, a native of Big Sandy, Mont., was killed in a car accident in the summer of 1981 following her freshman season at Montana.

The year after her death, the Lady Griz began honoring Green's name on one of its five annual postseason awards. Deming was voted by her teammates as the Shannon Green Most Inspirational Player following her senior season.

 

 

"Our Lady Griz family is going to miss Julie, but at the same time we are thankful she chose to be in our program and got to be a part of our lives," Selvig said. "I know she loved being a Lady Griz, and I loved having her be a Lady Griz."

In her senior-year questionnaire, Deming was presented with the question "10 year from now?" She answered, "Brooklynn (Lorenzen) and I will be famous and rich." Regardless of how the famous and rich part turned out, the two remained best friends and never missed a Lady Griz game in the Portland area.

"Some players are ready to be done (with their Lady Griz careers), but she was one who never wanted it to end," Selvig said. "Always when we went to Portland she was `Remember this?' or `Remember that?' She always wanted to relive it."

In the same questionnaire, Deming was given a fill-in-the-blank. To "Playing in front of the home crowd," she added "Is my utopia." If a big home crowd was Deming's utopia, the night of March 30, 2004, must have been her nirvana.

With 7,413 in attendance to watch No. 12-seed Montana take on No. 5 Louisiana Tech, Deming had a career night on the biggest stage of her career. She scored a career-high 29 points on 11-of-18 shooting despite playing just 22 minutes because of foul trouble as Montana lost 81-77.

"That game has been mentioned to me by more than a few people already," Selvig said. "That was a very memorable Lady Griz night, and Julie was a big part of it. That was one of those games that even though we lost, people are thankful they were there."

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