Lady Griz Pull Away for 88-63 Exhibition Win Over Argos

By JOEL CARLSON for GoGriz.com

Kellie Cole Rubel scored 19 points, and Kayleigh Valley posted a 17-point, 12-rebound double-double to lead Montana to an 88-63 victory over Great Falls in an exhibition game Tuesday night at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula.

The Lady Griz, who host Minot State Friday in their final exhibition game, led the final 37 minutes, but it wasn’t until a string of 3-pointers midway through the second half that Montana finally was able to build a comfortable lead.

Kellile Cole Rubel

Kellie Cole Rubel  Photo by ©Austin Smith for Make itMissoula.

“We had them physically overmatched somewhat, but they ran good things and are hard to guard,” UM coach Robin Selvig said. “It’s a game we can learn from for sure.”

Montana had a 58-39 rebounding advantage and outscored Great Falls by 24 points in the paint, and that was enough to offset a 30-point performance by Erin Legel, who knocked down four 3-pointers and has a Tony Parker-like midrange runner that would be tough for anyone to stop when it’s working.

“Legel was a handful. She’s really hard to guard, and she was feeling it a little bit,” said Selvig. “She beat us off the dribble, and then they ran plays for her where she got threes.”

Lindsey Abramson added 16 points and 12 rebounds for Great Falls, but the two NAIA All-Americans didn’t get the support that would have been needed to hang with Montana. The rest of the team totaled 17 points, and the bench scored just three.

Montana’s bench scored 29 points, with nine of those coming from Shanae Gilham, who took a year off to recover from a knee injury but never lost her following among the Lady Griz faithful.

With Montana leading just 59-47, Gilham drained a three. Then Sierra Anderson did the same, and Gilham added her third triple of the night to push the lead to 68-47. It all took just 62 seconds.

The Lady Griz led by 20 or more points for most of the final 11 minutes.

All 11 healthy players saw action, and 10 of the 11 scored at least four points.

“We’ve got 11 of them for these exhibition games, and I’m going to give all of them a spin,” said Selvig. “Everybody is going to get a chance to go out and show what they can do.

Robin Selvig

Robin Selvig. Photo by © Austin Smith for Make itMissoula

“We’ve got a lot of roles to establish. You can do a lot of things for yourself in practice, but doing it in games is very important.”

Cole Rubel scored her 19 points in just 20 minutes. Valley scored 17 points on just nine shots — she went a perfect 7 for 7 from the line — and nearly had a double-double by halftime.

“I just thought Kailey looked strong out there,” said Selvig. “All her rebounds were strong, and she got to the line because she’s strong. She was a force.”

Montana only committed seven turnovers and shot a consistent percentage in both halves to finish at 40.5 percent. The Lady Griz went a healthy 7 for 19 (.368) from 3-point range and 17 for 24 (.708) from the line.

“I don’t know that we ran a lot of great offense. There was a little too much dribbling around,” said Selvig. “I’d like to see a few more shots out of offense, something off a good screen, a good cut, off timing and execution.

“But those are things you normally struggle with at this time of year, and I thought we did tonight.”

Montana and Minot State will tip off at 7 p.m. Friday.

Montana Sports Information