The Story Behind the "M"

The "M" is 620 feet above the Missoula Valley floor. It is 125' feet long and 100' feet wide. University of Montana forestry students cut the switchbacks into the side of the hill in the early 1900's. The first "M" was assembled out of whitewashed rocks in 1909, and given a fresh coat of paint by freshmen every year, until 1968, when all those rocks were cemented together with concrete.

Photo by Nelson Kenter, kenterphotography.com

2013-14 Lady Griz Schedule Page 3 of 3

The game at Wyoming was originally scheduled as part of the Denver-Loyola Marymount road trip, but it was moved to mid-December to cut down on the time between the end of the nonconference schedule and Montana’s Big Sky opener at Northern Arizona on Jan. 2.

Had the game not been changed, the Lady Griz would have been off for 18 days. Instead it’s just 15 without a game.

“There is no perfect way to do it,” Selvig said. “I’d rather not have such a big Christmas break, but that’s just the way it is. That’s not one of the things I worry about too much.”

The Cowgirls, one of two teams to win at Dahlberg Arena last winter, made the WNIT last season, their sixth trip to a national tournament the last eight years.

Fans looking for routine will get it once the calendar turns to 2014. Big Sky Conference games will be played every Thursday and Saturday with only three exceptions and without a weekend off like Montana had last winter.

Lady Griz Basketball. Photo by Austin Smith.

Lady Griz Basketball. Photo by AustinSmith.

“The Big Sky schedule has been interesting the last two or three years and will be again next season,” Selvig said. “I didn’t know how the 11-team thing was going to work out, but we won the league, so maybe those weird things are good for us.”

The only times when the schedule varies from its Thursday-Saturday regularity will be playing at Southern Utah, at the Thunderbirds’ request, on Wednesday, Feb. 26, instead of Thursday, Feb. 27, and the Monday night games against Montana State on Feb. 3 in Missoula and March 3 at Bozeman.

Last season, first-year Big Sky member Southern Utah acquiesced when asked to adjust its schedule (for the worse) so Montana and Montana State could play its women’s and men’s games on the same day at the same location. That won’t be repeated next winter.

When the Lady Griz are hosting the Bobcats on Feb. 3, the men will be playing in Bozeman. The scenario will be flipped on March 3.

“That’s something that’s different again,” Selvig said. “You’d rather not play those games on a Monday, but that’s the nature of the league right now with 11 teams.”

Montana (24-8, 16-4 BSC) won the 2012-13 regular-season title by a game over Northern Colorado (21-13, 15-5 BSC). The Lady Griz will be hard-pressed to repeat the feat in 2013-14.

Lost to graduation were Katie Baker, the 2012-13 Big Sky MVP; Kenzie De Boer, first-team All-Big Sky as a senior; all-everything glue gal Alyssa Smith and key reserve Ali Hurley.

Montana will have just two seniors next season, Torry Hill and Jordan Sullivan, who are also the team’s lone returning starters. Ten of the team’s 15 players will be sophomores or younger in eligibility, including three redshirt freshmen and three incoming freshmen.

“It will be a challenge, but it’s also going to be fun, just like the first 35 seasons have been,” Selvig concluded.

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