Lady Griz Host Portland State in Possible Milestone Game


The Montana women’s basketball team will play its second game of the regular season on Monday when it hosts Portland. The Lady Griz and Pilots will meet at 7 p.m. at Dahlberg Arena.

Coverage: Monday’s game will be broadcast on KGVO 1290 AM and 101.5 FM, with Tom Stage and Dick Slater calling the action. … A video broadcast will be available with a subscription to the All-Access page on The site will also offer live stats.

At a glance: Montana opened its regular season on Sunday, Nov. 10, with a 76-49 victory over MSU Northern, and the Lady Griz have not played since.

Portland is 2-1 with a pair of impressive early-season victories. The Pilots knocked off Big Sky Conference preseason favorite Eastern Washington on Friday, Nov. 8, and on Friday night went to Washington and hit 15 of 24 (.625) 3-pointers in a 91-77 victory over the Huskies.

In between was a 113-86 loss at Oregon.

Milestone watch: At some point in the next couple weeks, 36th-year Lady Griz coach Robin Selvig will win his 800th game. He entersMonday night’s game with a career record of 799-255.

When he reaches 800 wins, he’ll be just the sixth active Division I women’s coach to reach that milestone, joining North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell (909 wins), Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer (904), Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer (897), Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma (843) and Georgia’s Andy Landers (826).

The all-time Division I 800-wins list includes only two other names: Tennessee’s Pat Summitt (1,098) and Texas’ Jody Conradt (900).

If Selvig reaches 800 wins before Montana’s game at Wyoming on Dec. 17, he’ll have reached 800 wins in fewer games than everybody on the all-time list except Auriemma (928 games), Summitt (958) and VanDerveer (997). Monday’s game will be Selvig’s 1,055th at Montana.

Familiar face down the sideline: Montana and Portland will be meeting for the 22nd time on Monday night, and all of those matchups will have pitted Selvig against 28th-year Portland coach Jim Sollars, who has had as much success against Selvig as nearly any coach.

The Lady Griz are 13-8 against the Pilots through the first 21 meetings, but Portland has won the last three times the teams have played, including a 62-55 win in December 2010 on its most recent trip to Dahlberg Arena. Montana is 7-3 against Portland in Missoula.

The teams played for 17 straight seasons, from 1995-96 through 2011-12, before taking a year off in 2012-13.

Experience abounds: The two teams will send 10 upperclassmen onto the court to start Monday’s game. The Lady Griz will open with two seniors and three juniors, two of whom are fourth-year juniors. The Pilots will counter with two seniors and three juniors. UP’s top scorer, redshirt junior forward Cassandra Brown, comes off the bench.

More on Portland: The Pilots returned four starters from last year’s team that went 11-20 and finished seventh in the West Coast Conference at 5-11. … That team played Brown, who sat out last season as a redshirt. Brown averaged 9.9 points per game as a sophomore in 2011-12, which included a 32-point outing against Santa Clara late in the season. Brown leads Portland in scoring through three games this season at 18.7 points per game. … The Pilots are shooting 42.7 percent this season while allowing 44.1 percent. … Junior guard Kari Luttinen, who is averaging 15.0 points per game this season, led the team in scoring last year at 12.5.

“This is a really good opponent,” Selvig said. “They finished the year strong last year, then got Brown back off redshirt. They are experienced, they are tall and they are quick. I think this is one of Jim’s better teams.”

It’s raining threes: Portland has taken 73 3-pointers through its first three games. The Pilots took 12 against Eastern Washington, 37 against Oregon and 24 on Friday at Washington.

After going 6 for 37 (.162) from the arc against the Ducks, Portland got hot on Friday against the Huskies. The Pilots went 5 for 11 (.455) in the first half to build a 39-33 halftime lead, then 10 for 13 (.769) in the second half to score 52 second-half points to pull away.

Senior forward Amy Pupa went 3 for 3, Brown went 6 for 8. Six different players attempted at least a pair of 3-pointers, and all six connected at least once.

“Transition defense will be as important for us as anything,” Selvig said. “They do a lot off the dribble, and they have a lot of different kids who will shoot the three.”

It’s likely that Monday’s game will more resemble Portland’s game against Eastern Washington to open the season. In that game the Pilots only attempted 12 3-pointers but used their dribble–drive penetration to get to the line 30 times to the Eagles’ 11 in the 68-65 win.

Mostly untested: Through two exhibition games and one regular-season game, Montana has played a Division II school (MSU Billings) and a pair of NAIA teams from the Frontier Conference (Montana-Western and MSU Northern).

In their regular-season opener last Sunday, the Lady Griz raced out to a 17-2 lead on MSUN and never let the Skylights back into the game, winning 76-49. Senior Jordan Sullivan had 12 points to lead both teams. Freshman forward Alycia Sims came off the bench to add seven points and 10 rebounds.

“Monday’s game will be a real test to see where we’re at,” Selvig said. “I’m hoping that we’ve improved enough to go out there and make this a really good game. Until you play good people, you don’t know, so we’re going to find out.”

Upcoming: Montana will take another lengthy break after Monday’s game before facing three road games in four days. The Lady Griz will play at Denver on Wednesday, Nov. 27, then continue on to play two games at Loyola Marymount’s tournament Nov. 29-30.

Montana Sports Information