Lady Griz To Be Tested In First Exhibition Game on Monday Oct 28

By JOEL CARLSON

The Montana women’s basketball team will play its first of two preseason exhibition games Monday when the Lady Griz host MSU Billings at 7 p.m. at Dahlberg Arena.

Montana will host Montana-Western on Thursday, Nov. 7, in its second exhibition game before facing MSU Northern on Sunday, Nov. 10, at Dahlberg Arena in its season opener.

Exhibition details: Montana’s exhibition games are included in the package for season-ticket holders. All other tickets are $5. … Neither of the Lady Griz exhibition games will be aired on the radio. Fans wanting to follow the action can watch the games by subscription on the All-Access player at GoGriz.com. Tom Stage, the radio voice of the Lady Griz, will provide the play-by-play for the video broadcast of the exhibition games. … GoGriz.com will also offer live stats of both exhibition games.

Not your typical preseason game: Looking for an exhibition game that Montana leads by 20-plus points at the half against an overmatched opponent and wins going away? A game Montana’s starters can play 17 or 18 minutes and cheer on the team’s reserves the rest of the way?

Then Monday is not the game for you, because MSU Billings is really good, and that’s not just so much coach speak.

The NCAA Division II Yellowjackets, who have four starters back from a team that won 17 games last season, were picked atop the Great Northwest Athletic Conference preseason coaches’ poll and have the GNAC’s preseason player of the year in senior guard Bobbi Knudsen.

Knudsen, first-team All-GNAC a year ago, averaged 17.8 points per game as a junior while also leading the conference in assists (6.2/g).

Knudsen, of Malta, Mont., was on the list of players UM coach Robin Selvig was considering before he opted to sign guards Torry Hill and Lexie Nelson in his November 2009 recruiting class.

“Bobbi had been to our camp, and we liked her a lot, but that’s the year we took Torry and Lexie,” Selvig explained.

Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.

Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013. Photo by AustinSmith.

Montana’s typical exhibition-game advantage, an edge in size across the frontcourt that usually takes its toll over time on an undersized opponent, won’t be a factor on Monday. MSUB has four players six-feet or taller.

One of those will be former Montana State center Chelsea Banis. The 6-foot-4 transfer will be a senior in her first and only season with the Yellowjackets, and the Lady Griz may be without 6-foot-2 redshirt junior Carly Selvig, Montana’s top interior defender who is questionable for Monday’s contest.

“She’s a very good post player,” Selvig said of Banis. “One edge you sometimes have on lower-division schools is size, but that won’t be a factor in this game. They already had good size, and then they added a 6-4 kid.”

Janiel Olson, a 5-10 senior forward from Billings, averaged 9.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game last season and was on the preseason All-GNAC team, as was Kayleen Goggins, a 6-1 junior forward from Shepherd who averaged 11.6 points per game last season.

All 15 players on Billings’ roster are from the state of Montana. Monday’s game, also an exhibition for MSUB, is the Yellowjackets’ first game of the season.

“I think it should be an awfully good game,” Selvig said. “We’ll have our hands full, because they return experience from a really good team.

“Obviously we’d like to win, but at the same time, we’re trying to develop this team, so we’ll give a lot of kids some looks.”

MSU Billings is coached by Kevin Woodin, who is no stranger to the Lady Griz program. Woodin coached at Billings West for 10 years before taking over at MSUB and won state championships in 2003 and ’04 with future Lady Griz Dana Conway, Mandy Morales and Shadra Robison.

Woodin is entering his 10th season as coach of the Yellowjackets. He has a record at MSUB of 150-103.

“Kevin has done a great job there,” Selvig said. “I’ve known him for a very long time, and he’s a very good coach. He had a great high school program, and he’s done a really good job (at MSUB) too.”

Exhibition rewind: Montana held its annual Maroon and Silver scrimmage on Tuesday. Senior Torry Hill scored a game-high 19 points for Silver, but Maroon shot 50 percent and had five players in double figures in a 67-52 win.

Selvig had 16 points and 15 rebounds for Maroon. Senior forward Jordan Sullivan had 13 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists (0 turnovers) and three blocks, and redshirt sophomore point guard Haley Vining had a game-high seven assists.

“Seriously, I don’t know that much (about the team) after Tuesday’s scrimmage,” Selvig said. “You want one team to not give up points easily, and you want the other team to be able to score.

“I think we’re seeing good things out of all the kids, but I can’t really say how far we’ve come until we start playing other people.”

Montana Sports Information