Lady Griz, Lady Griz fans both overachieving
July 19, 2012
The Montana women's basketball team and its fans both have reason to be proud today. The Lady Griz made the WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll for the second consecutive season this week, and the team's fans ranked in the top 40 in the nation in home attendance for the 26th time in the last 27 seasons.
Montana ranked 17th nationally on the prestigious Women's Basketball Coaches Association annual academic list, which recognizes team grade point average for the most recent fall and spring semesters.
The Lady Griz had an average team GPA of 3.22 for the fall semester and a superb 3.57 in the spring, the second-highest semester GPA in the department (behind women's cross country's 3.62). Using the WBCA's formula, Montana finished with a team GPA of 3.399 for the academic year.
Montana placed seven players on last winter's Academic All-Big Sky Conference team, which honors student-athletes with a GPA of 3.2 or higher who played in at least half of their team's games.
Leading the smarty-pants septet was Jordan Sullivan, who had a 3.89 cumulative GPA as a business administration major following the spring semester.
The others were Kenzie De Boer (3.52, communication studies), Tianna Ware (3.38, communication studies), Maggie Rickman (3.38, general studies), Katie Baker (3.33, health and human performance), Kellie Cole (3.32, education) and Alyssa Smith (3.24, health and human performance).
Of note for the Big Sky Conference is that five of the league's current membership studied their way to spots in the top 25. North Dakota (3.505) ranked eighth, Montana State (3.435) 11th, Northern Colorado (3.421) 12th and Eastern Washington (3.337) 25th.
The top three teams on this year's honor roll all made last spring's NCAA tournament as well: Wisconsin-Green Bay (3.616), South Dakota State (3.610) and DePaul (3.604). See the complete top 25 below.
Cheering for that group of academic standouts was a group of fans that ranked 39th in the nation in attendance at 2,896 per game, one spot ahead of Minnesota (2,835) of the Big 10. See the top 50 below.
Montana has ranked in the top 40 in home attendance every season but one since the NCAA began tracking the numbers in 1984-85. The only aberration came in 1998-99 when the team played its home games at Sentinel High School. That year's average attendance: 2,170. That year's national rank: 43rd.
Montana State (1,408) and Idaho State (1,367) ranked second and third in attendance in the league behind Montana. Those three helped the Big Sky Conference to an average of 1,027 to rank 18th out of 32 Division I conferences.
The Lady Griz attracted better than 3,000 fans eight times last winter, with a season-high 3,924 for their 77-59 victory over Montana State on Feb. 25.
2012 WBCA Academic Top 25 Honor Roll
2011-12 NCAA Division I home attendance leaders
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