Lady Griz Host San Diego TONIGHT


The Montana women’s basketball team will try to advance out of the round of 32 in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament when it hosts San Diego tonight (Monday night) at 7 p.m. in Dahlberg Arena.

What’s at stake: The winner of Monday’s game will move on to the round of 16 and face either Oregon or Washington in the March 26-28 window. The Ducks and Huskies also play Monday night, at Eugene, Ore.

Oregon defeated Pacific 90-63 in the round of 64, Washington defeated Hawaii 67-50.

How they got here: Montana defeated Washington State in the tournament’s opening round, 90-78 at Dahlberg Arena Wednesday. One night later San Diego had no trouble at home with Cal Poly, winning 82-59.


Why Monday’s game is at Missoula: There is a bidding process, but WNIT organizers also want the teams to enjoy a tournament atmosphere. Despite having less than a 48-hour turnaround from the announcement of the game on Monday night to tipoff, Montana drew 2,125 fans to Wednesday’s game.

San Diego had 323 at its game Thursday night and averaged 499 for the season despite going 15-1 in 2013-14 at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

“The atmosphere was great (Wednesday),” UM coach Robin Selvig said. “It’s hard to put a price on what it is for the ladies to play here. I’m sure the opposing teams enjoy it too, because that’s what it’s about. It’s a happening.”

Where they stand: Montana is 23-10, its 29th season winning 20 or more games in 36th-year coach Robin Selvig’s tenure leading the Lady Griz.

San Diego, of the West Coast Conference, is 23-8 and playing in its third straight WNIT under ninth-year coach Cindy Fisher.

It’s getting late: When Montana plays Monday night, on March 24, it will match the latest its played into the calendar in program history. The 1985 Lady Griz team ended its season on March 24 with a loss to West Virginia in that year’s WNIT.

Six degrees of Robin Selvig: With 36 years in the coaching profession, it’s not hard to find connections between Lady Griz coach Robin Selvig and opposing coaches.

On Wednesday he went up against Washington State’s June Daugherty, who coached seven seasons at Boise State in the 1990s, when the Broncos were still in the Big Sky Conference.


On Monday Selvig will face Fisher, who has a 1-0 record against Montana. Fisher coached for five seasons at Wyoming. Her final game with the Cowgirls was a 76-74 overtime victory over the Lady Griz in the 2003 WNIT, the first postseason victory in Wyoming history.

Fisher left Wyoming following the 2002-03 season and spent two years as an assistant coach at Nebraska before getting the San Diego job.

Fisher was also on Carla Taylor’s Weber State staff in 1994-95. Those Wildcat teams lost 90-49 to the Lady Griz in Missoula and 75-57 in Ogden.

Tournament bona fides: Montana is playing in its 26th national tournament. The Lady Griz played in the 1982 AIAW tournament, have advanced to 20 NCAA tournaments and are playing in their fifth WNIT.

Wednesday’s win was the first postseason victory for Montana since knocking off San Diego State at the 1995 NCAA tournament. The Lady Griz had lost their last 13 postseason games.

San Diego is playing in its seventh postseason, five of which have come during Fisher’s tenure. The Toreros went to the NCAA tournament in 1993, 2000 and 2008 and this year are playing in their fourth WNIT. San Diego advanced the WNIT semifinals in 2012 and the round of 32 in 2013.

Seasons at a glance: Montana went 20-9 during the regular season. The Lady Griz were picked second in the Big Sky Conference preseason poll and finished third with a 14-6 league record, one game behind co-champions North Dakota and Southern Utah.

The No. 3 Lady Griz defeated No. 6 Montana State and No. 2 Southern Utah at the Big Sky tournament at Grand Forks, N.D. Montana lost 72-55 to UND in the tournament championship game.

San Diego went 22-7 during the regular season. The Toreros opened their season 15-0 and used their unbeaten start to earn a No. 24 national ranking in early January.

Picked second in the WCC preseason poll behind Gonzaga, USD went 11-7 in league games to finish tied for fourth with St. Mary’s. Both teams finished behind Gonzaga, BYU and Pacific.

San Diego lost in the WCC tournament quarterfinals to St. Mary’s, 60-58.

Similar paths: Montana (15-1) and San Diego (15-1) have gone 30-2 at home this season. The reason they both playing in the WNIT is because both struggled on the road in league play.

The Lady Griz went 4-6 in Big Sky road games, just the second time since the 1979-80 season that they had a record below .500 in league road games.

San Diego went 3-6 in WCC road games and is 3-7 in its last 10 away from Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Home streak on the line: Montana has won 11 straight at home, tied for the 12th-longest streak in the nation. The Lady Griz are 15-1 at Dahlberg Arena this season and 30-3 at home since the start of the 2012-13 season.

Montana’s only home loss this season came to Temple, 61-52 on Dec. 14.

Common opponents: Montana and San Diego have had six common opponents this season.

The Toreros defeated Northern Colorado 69-56, Idaho 74-64, Weber State 75-55 and UC Irvine 79-55 as part of their perfect start to the season. In league play USD split with Portland, falling 72-51 and winning 59-52, and swept Loyola Marymount, 86-63 at home and 87-74 on the road.

Montana went 6-2 against those teams this season.


Maybe she’ll reach those milestones after all: Senior Jordan Sullivan has reached 957 career points, leaving her 43 away from becoming the 31st player in program history to reach 1,000.

She also has 764 career rebounds. That leaves her 23 shy of reaching the career top 10 in that category.

Lady Griz, good rebounders: With Wednesday’s win over Washington State, which followed the Big Sky tournament championship-game defeat at North Dakota, Montana improved to 8-2 this season when coming off a loss.

Coffee is for closers only: When freshman Kayleigh Valley went 2 for 2 from the line with 1:29 left against Washington State, she improved to 12 for 12 from the line this season in the final two minutes of games.

Next (wo)man up: When Montana played at North Dakota on March 15, it was one of six programs in the nation that had at that point used the same starting lineup for every game in 2013-14.

On Monday the Lady Griz will have just three of those five starters. Senior Torry Hill was lost to a knee injury in against North Dakota. In Wednesday’s win over Washington State redshirt junior Carly Selvig was lost to a knee injury.

No matter. Montana still had four players in double figures and reached 90 points for the second time this season.

Jordan Sullivan had 21 points and 10 rebounds, redshirt junior Kellie Cole, who played all 40 minutes at the point in Hill’s absence, had 22 points and a career-high nine assists.

Sophomore McCalle Feller, in her first career start, had 13 points, and Kayleigh Valley had a career-high 15 points off the bench.

Redshirt sophomore Hannah Doran and redshirt freshman DJ Reinhardt also provided confident efforts off the bench.

“Those kids have all played quite a few minutes this season and were ready to go, and some people rose to the occasion,” UM coach Robin Selvig said. “Kellie was great. She scored it and got people the ball. And Jordan bounced back with a good scoring game.

“Of course our margin for error isn’t as good now, because we’ve lost some of our depth. We’re not as deep inside, and we lose our most versatile defensive player (in Carly Selvig).”

What to expect out of San Diego: The Toreros are among the national leaders in both blocked shots (4.8/g) and rebounding margin (+7.6) and are holding their opponents to 37.2 percent shooting.

In other words, they are a lot like North Dakota, but with a better offense. USD averages 70.0 points per game on 43.2 percent shooting.

Senior Amy Kame, a good-sized guard at 6-foot, averages 17.0 points on 44.9 percent shooting and 5.9 rebounds per game. She had 30 points on 14-of-21 shooting, four assists and four steals in Thursday’s win over Cal Poly.

Junior Sophia Ederaine, a 6-3 forward, averages a team-high 7.6 rebounds per game and ranks 28th nationally at 2.4 blocks per game. (Bummer: Fans won’t get to see Ederaine, who tied a WCC tournament record with seven blocks against St. Mary’s, get to go up against Carly Selvig.)

“They are an impressive team,” Selvig said. “They’ve got a little bit of everything. They’ve got a great scorer, quickness at the guard, size inside, and they can come off the bench.

“And they’ve been in this situation before. It’s a team that’s won a lot of games, so they won’t be intimidated. They play every season at Gonzaga, so it’s not like they’ve never seen a crowd.”

Montana Sports Information