Deming to be Remembered at Saturday’s Lady Griz Game

By JOEL CARLSON for GoGriz.com

To hear her former teammate and best friend Brooklynn Lorenzen describe it, Julie Deming’s five years at the University of Montana playing for the Lady Griz was the best time of Deming’s life.

“Up to the day of her death, she always spoke about Montana,” says Lorenzen, who this weekend will be attending her first Lady Griz game at Dahlberg Arena since her senior season of 2003-04.

“It was the pinnacle of her life. She loved everything about it, from the community to the coaches to our team. She loved the snow, the water, the camping. Montana had everything she wanted. It was her special place.”

One of the most popular players of her era, with both her teammates and with Montana’s fans, Deming will be remembered Saturday when second-place Montana hosts first-place North Dakota at 2 p.m. at Dahlberg Arena. Deming was killed in a car accident last spring in Vancouver, Wash.

A highlight video will be shown shortly before the game and more than 30 members of the extended Deming family will be on hand to sing the national anthem. Because of the schedule, fans are encouraged to arrive earlier than normal.

Counting former Lady Griz players and their family members who will be in attendance to celebrate Deming’s life, the number is already well over 100. The former players will be recognized at halftime, and after the game they will join the Deming family for a private reception.

Julie Deming

Beyond providing the goose bumps and tears, fans will be able to engage in the celebration by wearing one of the four thousand headbands that will be handed out. It’s the same game-day accessory that gave Deming her distinctive look.

“It’s going to be awesome. I can picture Juice looking down from heaven, and she’s going to be stoked seeing everybody wearing her signature headband,” Lorenzen says. “I think she would be incredibly honored to know that everybody will be coming together in her memory.”

Deming, who is one of 29 Lady Griz players to reach 1,000 career points, was a five-year (1999-2004) member of the Lady Griz. She played her first three years, redshirted the 2002-03 season due to an ankle injury, then returned in 2003-04 for her final year of eligibility.

It would be a memorable senior season. Deming led the team in scoring (13.6/g) and earned All-Big Sky Conference honors, along with Lorenzen, after leading Montana to a perfect 14-0 league record and a spot in the NCAA tournament.

Deming-1That game, against Louisiana Tech in front of a sellout crowd at Dahlberg Arena, was the final game of their careers for Lorenzen, who had 10 assists in 39 minutes, and Deming, who scored 29 points in just 22 foul-plagued minutes, as Montana fell81-77.

It was the swan song for a pair of players who were inseparable by the end of their careers. Lorenzen, from Corvallis, Ore., joined the Lady Griz when Deming, of Portland, was a sophomore.

“We hit it off instantly, even on my recruiting trip,” says Lorenzen, who today works for Nike as an associate product line manager for Jordan footwear and frequently attends Montana’s games at Portland State. She remains Montana’s leader in career assists with 701.

“Julie just had this positive energy that was so contagious, and I gravitated toward her immediately. She took me under her wing from the moment I stepped foot on campus.

“She always made you feel better about whatever was going on in your life and made you feel happy. Because of that, people wanted to be around her. She had a magnetic draw. That’s why you’re going to see so many people show up this weekend and celebrate everything she did on and off the court.”

Deming was survived by her parents, Jim and Elaine, three older brothers, David, Steven and Patrick, and an older sister, Diane.

Most of the Deming family who will be in attendance Saturday saw Julie in a Lady Griz uniform a decade ago. For those who didn’t have the privilege, they’ve only heard the stories. This weekend they will finally learn what it was that Julie Deming could not get enough of.

“Her family knew what a tremendous place Julie had in her heart for Missoula and for the Lady Griz, so for them to be able to experience the community and the outpouring of love and support you’re going to see on Saturday, it’s going to be an emotional time,” Lorenzen says.

“I’m so excited for them to get an understanding of how much Julie was loved and how many people’s lives she touched.”

Montana Sports Information