Lady Griz face unbeaten Bulldogs in final exhibition
Nov. 6, 2013
The Montana women's basketball team will face Montana-Western Thursday night at Dahlberg Arena in the Lady Griz' second and final exhibition game of the preseason. The teams will tip off at 7 p.m.
Montana will open its regular season on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Dahlberg Arena when the Lady Griz host MSU Northern. It will mark the first time Montana has opened its season at home since hosting Wyoming to kick off the 2008-09 season.
Coverage: Thursday's game will have both video and live stats options available through GoGriz.com. The video broadcast, which will feature Lady Griz radio voices Tom Stage and Dick Slater, is available through subscription on the All-Access page. There is no radio coverage of Thursday's game.
Regular-season radio update: Like last year, barring scheduling conflicts with men's basketball broadcasts, the Lady Griz will be found on KGVO 1290 AM and 101.5 FM. When there is a conflict with the Griz, the women's broadcast will air on KMPT 930 AM.
Montana's first three regular-season games, against MSU Northern, Portland and Denver, will be aired on KGVO. The Lady Griz' two games at Loyola Marymount's tournament over Thanksgiving weekend will both be on KMPT.
Slow start to the season: Montana will play MSU Northern on Sunday, then have more than a week before hosting Portland on Monday, Nov. 18. The Lady Griz will have another lengthy stretch before playing at Denver on Wednesday, Nov. 27.
That will start a three-games-in-four-days schedule, with a day off on Thanksgiving prior to playing Friday and Saturday, Nov. 29-30, at Loyola Marymount's tournament. Montana will open the tournament against North Dakota State, then play either UC Irvine or the host Lions the second day.
Montana will play just four games the entire month of December, three at home, as a lead-up to the start of the 20-game Big Sky Conference schedule, which opens on Jan. 2 at Northern Arizona.
Win No. 800 approaches: Coach Robin Selvig begins his 36th regular season on Sunday with a record at Montana of 798-255. With two wins he'll become the sixth active NCAA Division I women's basketball coach to reach 800 victories.
The list currently includes: North Carolina's Sylvia Hatchell (38 years/908 wins), Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer (42/901), Stanford's Tara VanDerveer (34/894), Connecticut's Geno Auriemma (28/839) and Georgia's Andy Landers (34/823).
If Montana opens 2-0 at home against MSU Northern and Portland, it will be the fifth milestone win Selvig reached at home. He won Nos. 100, 200, 300 and 600 at home. Win No. 400 came at Weber State, win No. 500 at Boise State and win No. 700 came in Cancun against Illinois.
Montana opens with tight win: It was expected to be a close game, and it was when the Lady Griz defeated MSU Billings 69-65 on Monday, Oct. 28, in their first exhibition game. All 13 healthy players saw minutes.
Redshirt junior Kellie Cole went 5 for 7 from the field and hit all five of her free throws to lead Montana with 15 points. Senior Torry Hill hit both of her 3-point attempts to finish with 11 points. She also had four assists and no turnovers as the Lady Griz finished with 17 assists against just six turnovers, a surprisingly low number considering the amount of substitutions and player combinations utilized.
But the Yellowjackets got 18 points from both Bobbi Knudsen and Janiel Olson and held a 65-64 lead in the final two minutes before a jumper by redshirt junior Carly Selvig with 80 seconds to play put Montana up for good.
MSUB out-rebounded Montana 25-14 in the first half and 42-33 for the game and turned 14 offensive rebounds into 12 second-chance points. Billings also went 8 for 19 (.421) from 3-point range, with Olson and Quinn Peoples combining to shoot 6 for 7.
"We definitely didn't feel good about our rebounding in the first game or our transition defense," Selvig said. "We didn't give up transition lay-ups, but we did give up transition threes. That definitely gave us something to key in on (in practice)."
Final dress rehearsal: Montana will once again get every available player on the court on Thursday, and those players will have one final opportunity to play themselves into the team's regular rotation that will start taking shape on Sunday.
"Again, we're mostly worried about what we're doing in this game more than what the opponent is doing," Selvig said. "Obviously we're still looking at combinations and people are working for roles. Games like this are how those roles develop."
One thing that is a certainty: Montana will rely on its most experienced returners, particular early in the season. Look for Hill and Cole to start in the backcourt, junior Maggie Rickman at the three, senior Jordan Sullivan at the four and Selvig at the five.
"I think we've made good progress," Selvig said. "I'm very happy with the five kids who returned with experience. They are doing a nice job setting the tone. Practices have been very competitive, and I think everybody is getting better."
What to look for Thursday: Montana-Western is unbeaten through four games, with two wins over Lethbridge University, an 84-31 rout of Walla Walla and a 65-56 victory over the College of Idaho last Friday. All four games were at home.
The Bulldogs played an exhibition game at Montana State on Saturday and trailed by just four at the break, 33-29. The Bobcats pulled away in the second half on 47.4 percent shooting to win 81-50.
McCall Hasquet, a sophomore from Missoula, led Western with 10 points.
Through four countable games, senior Sammi Bignell, of Avon, Mont., leads Montana-Western in both scoring (22.5/g) and rebounding (8.5/g). The Frontier Conference Preseason Player of the Year is shooting 52.8 percent.
The Bulldogs, who are led by second-year coach Lindsay Woolley, a 1998 Big Sky High and 2004 UM graduate, were picked third in the Frontier Conference preseason coaches' poll behind Westminster and Carroll.
Western is averaging 68.8 points per game and has 13 more assists (66) this season than turnovers (53).
"They are a good, solid basketball team," Selvig said. "He's got a nice team."
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