Torry Hill dished out a team-high 123 assists last season
May 17, 2013
It's still four and a half months until the Lady Griz open the 2013-14 season with their first practices and begin defense of their Big Sky Conference regular-season and tournament championships, but that doesn't mean they are forgotten.
New rule changes
Earlier this month the NCAA Women's Basketball Rules Committee met and recommended a number of new rules that are expected to be approved next month by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.
* Women's college basketball is the only level of the sport in the world that does not have a 10-second backcourt rule in place. Previously teams could take as much time off the 30-second shot clock as they wanted before crossing the midcourt line. No longer.
Committee members believe adding the 10-second rule will increase the tempo of the game and create more offensive scoring opportunities. The new rule sounds monumental, but Lady Griz coach Robin Selvig isn't totally sold that it will make much difference.
"I'm kind of indifferent to it," he said. "It certainly won't change how we prepare and do things. All of our players had it in high school, so it's not like it's something they've never played with before.
"When you may see it come into play is end-of-game situations. Teams won't be able to use the entire court to run out the clock."
* One rule already in place but now tweaked to favor the defense is the closely-guarded rule. The women's game has had this previously, but a defender needed to be within three feet of a player who was holding the ball for five seconds for the violation to be whistled. That distance has now been extended to six feet.
So next winter, when this is whistled and the Lady Griz fan sitting next to you becomes apoplectic and begins yelling, "She wasn't even close to her!" please inform this fan of the new six-foot distance.
* Expect a few more monitor reviews next winter. The committee recommended that in the last two minutes of regulation and overtime that officials go to the monitor to review any potential shot-clock violations and to determine who caused a ball to go out of bounds when it's in doubt.
In the last four minutes of the game and the entire overtime, officials will go immediately to the monitor to determine whether a questionable shot was a 2- or 3-pointer. If there is a situation earlier in the game, officials will be allowed to use the monitor during the ensuing media timeout for clarification so as not to further delay the game.
The use of video review for elbows making contact with an opponent above the shoulders will continue. Options after the review are Flagrant 2 (free throws and possession, and the player who threw the elbow is ejected), Flagrant 1 (free throws and possession) or no call.
* Maybe the most noticeable change for fans will be the new timeout policy, which is being added only to the women's game. When a team-called timeout occurs within 30 seconds of the next media timeout, that timeout is charged to the team but it also becomes the full media timeout.
For example, if Selvig calls a timeout with 8:24 remaining in the first half, he gets charged, but it then doubles as the full, under-8:00 media timeout. Committee members wanted to eliminate consecutive timeout stoppages in play.
The exception is the first team timeout taken in the second half, which will continue to be extended to a media timeout, no matter when it's taken.
* The final change, also specific to women's basketball: When a player with the ball starts outside the lower defensive box area (confusedly defined as the area on the court that starts at the second free-throw lane space to the three-foot area outside the lane to the baseline), a secondary (help) defender must be outside the restricted area (arc) to draw a charge.
When a player with the ball starts her move inside the lower defensive box area, a secondary defender can draw a charge and the restricted area is not in effect.
Closing in on 800
Selvig will go into the 2013-14 season with a career record of 798-255, leaving him just two wins shy of joining the 800-victory club, which currently includes just five active coaches: North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell (908 wins), Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer (901), Stanford's Tara VanDerveer (894), Connecticut's Geno Auriemma (839) and Georgia's Andy Landers (823).
Montana's 2013-14 schedule is completed, but it won't be released until June. Here is a teaser: The Lady Griz open at home against MSU Northern, then play another home game eight days later. If Montana starts 2-0, win No. 800 will come at home, which would be nice considering the next three are on the road.
More teasing: The Big Sky Conference schedule, which last season began before Christmas, won't start next season until after Jan. 1. For its nine nonconference games before Christmas, Montana will play five at home, including a four-team, two-day tournament, and four on the road.
Montana finished the season with a Ratings Percentage Index of 72 after entering the NCAA tournament with a season-high ranking of 63. It was the team's highest finish since the Lady Griz were ranked 55th at the end of the 2008-09 season.
Montana, which won 24 games, finished with a higher RPI than 38 other teams that won 20 or more games.
"When you start looking at the teams that finished behind us, you start figuring out that 72 is a pretty good ranking," Selvig said.
Here is how the other Big Sky schools finished: Northern Colorado 94, Eastern Washington 98, Sacramento State 118, Idaho State 131, Montana State 153, Southern Utah 217, Portland State 231, North Dakota 246, Northern Arizona 285, Weber State 335. (The Wildcats finished ahead of 10 other teams in the rankings despite being Division I's only winless team at 0-29.)
Of the nonconference teams that Montana lost to in 2012-13, Georgia finished 13, Villanova 33, Wyoming 87 and Temple 129.
Of the (Division I) nonconference teams that Montana beat, Idaho finished 126, Tennessee State 212, Denver 216 and UNLV 261.
Montana finished 36th nationally last winter with an average attendance of 3,048. It was the 27th time in the last 28 years that the Lady Griz have finished in the top 40.
"That's pretty impressive considering we're a full-priced ticket," Selvig said. "People don't get in the door for nothing."
The season's top three draws at Dahlberg Arena: Northern Colorado (4,199) in the Big Sky tournament championship game, Montana State (4,128) and Portland State (3,611).
Tennessee (11,390) led the nation in home attendance and was the only team above 10,000. Rounding out the top five were Iowa State (9,970), Louisville (9,358), Baylor (9,160) and Notre Dame (8,979).
Going out ...
Montana had four seniors who will be going through graduation ceremonies Saturday. This is what they have planned for their immediate futures:
Katie Baker (health and human performance major): Baker will be spending the summer in Hawaii and Alaska working for NBC Camps, an organization that combines the coaching of basketball skills with the teaching of Christian values. She'll return to campus and take a handful of classes during the fall and spring semesters that are prerequisites to getting into a two-year physician assistant program. She'll also be assisting the Lady Griz coaching staff next season.
Kenzie De Boer (communication studies major): De Boer's window between Saturday's graduation and her total immersion into the world of fulltime work is going to be able to be measured not in months or weeks but days. She has an interview with AIM Consulting of Bellevue, Wash., on May 23. If (and when) she gets hired, she'll start working on the 28th. AIM Consulting is where former Lady Griz Britney Lohman works.
Ali Hurley (sociology major): Hurley will be attending the Montana School of Law in the fall. Over the summer she will continue working as a legal intern for the firm of Datsopoulos, MacDonald and Lind.
Alyssa Smith (health and human performance major): Smith will spend the summer in Missoula working for Pfahler Sport Specific, a personal-training business operated by former Griz tight end Steven Pfahler. Smith will be running an eight-week speed and agility camp over the summer geared toward grade-schoolers. Beyond this summer, her plans are, in her words, "to be determined."
... And coming in
Montana signed three players to National Letters of Intent last November, but those articles are always written before senior seasons are played.
Mekayla Isaak (6-2, forward/center, Bend, Ore.): Isaak was named Class 5A all-state as a junior and senior after leading Bend High to back-to-back Oregon state tournaments. She was the Intermountain Conference player of the year as a junior and senior.
Alycia Sims (6-3, forward/center, Stevensville, Mont.): Sims led Stevensville High to its first state tournament in 15 years last season while averaging 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per game. She was named Class A all-state for the third straight year.
Kayleigh Valley (5-11, forward, Spokane, Wash.): Valley was named the state's Class 3A player of the year by the Washington State Girls' Basketball Coaches Association. She was also named all-state by the AP and Seattle Times and the Greater Spokane League MVP after averaging 16.9 points on 54-percent shooting, 10.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists for University High. Last month Valley represented Washington at the Northwest Shootout all-star game in Portland.
2013-14 personnel breakdown
Baker, the 2012-13 Big Sky Conference MVP, De Boer, first-team All-Big Sky, and Smith were all starters last winter, while Hurley was a key reserve off the bench who played in all 32 games as Montana went 24-8, won the Big Sky with a 16-4 record and advanced to its 20th NCAA tournament.
Baker (13.5/g) and De Boer (13.7/g) both finished their careers high up on Montana's list of career scoring leaders and were the only two Lady Griz players last winter to average more than 6.7 points per game.
Haley Vining, Molly Klinker, DJ Reinhardt and Rachel Staudacher will all be coming off redshirt seasons. Vining will be in her third year in the program, Klinker, Reinhardt and Staudacher will be in their second.
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