Lady Griz Host Fighting Saints Sunday Afternoon

By JOEL CARLSON for GoGriz.com

The Montana women’s basketball team will try to snap a three-game losing streak when it hosts Carroll Sunday at 2 p.m. at Dahlberg Arena. The Lady Griz, who lost 60-54 to Wyoming Thursday night, enter the game with a record of 2-4. The Fighting Saints are 5-3.

Montana and Carroll are meeting in a regular-season game for the first time since December 1999.

Coverage: Sunday’s game can be heard locally on KGVO 1290 AM and 101.5 FM, with Tom Stage and Dick Slater calling the action. GoGriz.com will offer live video coverage and live stats.

Special happenings: In honor of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, all veterans attending Sunday’s game will get in free of charge. And in a kickoff to finals week, all UM students who check in at the student entrance will get a coupon for a free soda and popcorn.

Upcoming: Montana will take a break for finals week, then leave next weekend for a two-game road trip to Portland and Seattle. The Lady Griz will face the Pilots on Sunday, Dec. 14, and the Redhawks on Wednesday, Dec. 17. Montana will host the Lady Griz Classic on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 19-20.

Carroll at a glance: The Fighting Saints are 5-3, but what’s more impressive than wins over Mount Royal and Corban are Carroll’s exhibition results. The Saints were down just six with four minutes to go before losing at Boise State 58-45, and they lost 59-49 at Montana State.

“Carroll is a good basketball team,” said UM coach Robin Selvig. “They played both Boise and Montana State tough. They have good players, many of whom we’re familiar with. They are smart on the defensive end, and they have some size. We won’t have them overmatched size-wise.”

Carroll is led by senior guard Bailey Snelling, of Judith Gap, who is averaging 15.1 points. She is a 41.5-percent shooter from 3-point range, and her 22 triples for the season are just eight fewer than Montana’s entire team has made through six games.

Six-foot-two forward Cassiday Hashley, a freshman from Kalispell, is averaging 11.7 points on 54.7-percent shooting and a team-high 6.3 rebounds. She is one of eight freshmen on Carroll’s roster.

Picture18Montana at a glance: After losing its final two games at the Cancun Challenge to Princeton and Wake Forest, Montana lost its third straight game at home to Wyoming Thursday night,60-54.

It was a game that had plenty of positives. The Lady Griz had a season-low seven turnovers, 10 fewer than the Cowgirls. Combined with a season-high 18 offensive rebounds, Montana took 14 more shots than Wyoming.

The team’s nine blocks were a season high, and Montana held Wyoming to more than 16 points below its season scoring average.

Which made the reason for the loss all that much more frustrating: Montana shot 32.3 percent and went 3 for 16 (.188) from 3-point range. The Lady Griz, who have a number of good 3-point shooters, did not connect from behind the arc through the game’s opening 30 minutes.

“We took care of the ball and had 10 more possessions, we did a good job defensively on them and we battled them even on the boards, so not being able to score was frustrating,” said Selvig.

On the other end, Wyoming went 4 for 7 from 3-point range in the first half and was 9 for 16 for the game. The difference in the final score came directly from the 3-point line.

“Thirty-two percent is not doing it,” Selvig added. “I think we have good 3-point shooters, and we really shot poorly from there. That was the difference.”

Coaching connections: Fourth-year Carroll coach Rachelle Sayers spent 14 years as an assistant at Weber State under Carla Taylor. She also played for the Wildcats, which gives her a wealth of experience and knowledge of the Lady Griz and playing at Dahlberg Arena.

Sayers, then Rachelle Gardner, was All-Big Sky Conference as a junior in 1994-95 and honorable mention as a senior. She is originally from Absarokee, Mont., and attended Montana’s camps as a prep player.

Series history: Montana and Carroll have met 12 times but not in a regular-season matchup since the 1999-2000 season. The Lady Griz are 9-0 at home against the Fighting Saints, winning those matchups by an average of 31 points per game.

Carroll’s lone win in the series came in the 1975-76 season, a 56-55 victory in a game played at Bozeman. Montana is 7-0 against Carroll under Robin Selvig.

Sims, unleashed: Now that’s what everyone was waiting for. After totaling just eight points through Montana’s first five games, sophomore forward Alycia Sims dropped 12 points and seven rebounds on Wyoming, going 6 for 11 from the field.

Dahlberg Arena — jinxed? Montana is shooting just 34.4 percent at home this season. Away from home the Lady Griz are shooting 38.0 percent.

Three-point struggles: One of the big keys to Thursday’s loss was Montana’s ineffectiveness from the arc, where the Lady Griz hit just 3 of 16 shots. Eight different players had attempts, only three players connected, none more than once.

The team didn’t hit its first 3-pointer until Haley Vining connected from the top of the key with 9:18 to play in the game.

Shooting from distance has been a weak spot all season, a surprise given the sharpshooters peppering Montana’s roster. The Lady Griz are 30 for 112 (.268) from 3-point range this season.

Montana three-dot notes: The Lady Griz are trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak since December 2010. … Kellie Rubel shot 21 for 41 (.512) through Montana’s opening four games. The last two she’s gone 4 for 18 (.222). … Rubel has played 32 or more minutes in five of six games this season and leads the team at 31.8 per game. … Carly Selvig blocked five shots against Wyoming, one off her career high. … Maggie Rickman scored 12 points against Wyoming, giving her double figures three of the last four games. She also added two blocks and a season-high seven rebounds against the Cowgirls. … Hannah Doran has scored in double figures in back-to-back games for the first time in her career. She had 10 against Wake Forest and 11 against Wyoming. Her 11 points Thursday matched her career high. … McCalle Feller was held scoreless by Wyoming. It was the shooting guard’s first time going without a point since last Feb. 22 at Idaho State. … Montana has been outrebounded in five of six games this season. The Lady Griz are 1-4 in those games. … Montana’s nine blocks against Wyoming were a season high and the most since blocking nine against Southern Utah last Feb. 1. … The Lady Griz have scored 25 or fewer first-half points in three of six games this season.

Montana Sports Information