Montana Hosts 34th Lady Griz Classic This Week at Dahlberg Arena


The Montana women’s basketball team will host the 34th edition of the Lady Griz Classic this weekend, with four games Friday and Saturday at Dahlberg Arena. This year’s tournament, which features Saint Louis, Austin Peay and Utah Valley, is presented by Holiday Inn Missoula Downtown.

Austin Peay and Saint Louis will play at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, followed at approximately 7:45 p.m. by Montana and Utah Valley.

Win or lose Friday, Montana will play the second game Saturday, which also will start close to 7:45 p.m. If the Lady Griz win their opener, Saturday’s second game will be the championship game. Otherwise it will be the consolation game. The rest of Saturday’s bracket will fill in accordingly.

Coverage: All four tournament games will have pay-per-view video through the All-Access page at Links to live stats for all four games can be found on the women’s basketball schedule page.

Montana’s two games will be aired locally on KGVO 1290 AM and 101.5 FM, with Tom Stage and Dick Slater calling the action.


Utah Valley at a glance: The Wolverines, who jumped from the junior college ranks to an NCAA Division I program in 2003-04, are a sneaky good 5-6. … Three of UVU’s losses have come in tight decisions to Big Sky Conference opponents: 68-62 to Eastern Washington, 76-72 to Southern Utah and 68-67 to Idaho State. In its loss at Idaho State, Utah Valley built a 16-2 lead and led for all but the last eight seconds, when two ISU free throws capped the Bengals’ rally. … Sophomore forward Rhaiah Spooner-Knight, voted to the preseason All-WAC team, is averaging a team-high 14.7 points on 53.2 percent shooting. … The Wolverines went 7-23 last season and finished eighth in the WAC with a 4-12 mark in their first year in the league. … UVU was picked fourth in this year’s WAC preseason coaches’ poll.

Saint Louis and Austin Peay at a glance: The Billikens enter the tournament with a record of 4-5, the Lady Govs, of Clarksville, Tenn., are 2-8.. … Both teams enter the Lady Griz Classic on two-game losing streaks. … Saint Louis coach Lisa Stone, who is in her third year, is the tournament’s most accomplished coach outside of Montana’s Robin Selvig. The former point guard at Iowa under C. Vivian Stringer has 531 career wins at Cornell (Iowa), Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Drake, Wisconsin and Saint Louis. … Saint Louis is making its second trip to Missoula for the tournament. The Billikens also played in the 2001-02 edition. … Austin Peay went 9-20 a year ago, 6-10 in Ohio Valley games to finish sixth in the league’s West division. … The Lady Govs were picked 11th out of 12 teams in this year’s preseason poll. … Saint Louis went 12-18 last year and finished 10th in the Atlantic 10 with a 7-9 league mark. … SLU was picked ninth out of 14 teams in this year’s poll. … APSU junior guard Tiasha Gray will be the top individual player at the tournament. She ranks in the top 25 nationally in points (21.3/g), assists (6.2/g) and steals (3.8/g).

Series histories: Montana’s lone previous matchup with Utah Valley came at the Lady Griz Classic in 2010-11. The Lady Griz got 13 points from Kenzie De Boer and forced 27 turnovers to win 75-53. … Montana has never faced Austin Peay. … Montana has twice played Saint Louis. The Lady Griz won 73-56 at the 2001 Classic. The Billikens won the teams’ second-ever meeting, 72-55 in 2009-10 at Loyola Marymount’s tournament.

Tournament history: Through the Lady Griz Classic’s first 33 editions, Montana has posted a record of 63-3 and enters this year’s tournament with 26 straight Classic championships. The Lady Griz defeated Idaho, 59-56, and UC Irvine, 71-48, to win last year’s tournament.

Montana’s three losses at the tournament have come against Washington, 64-59 in 1980-81, Drake, 71-65 in 1981-82, and Arkansas, 74-54 in 1998-99.

Trending up for Montana

* The Lady Griz won their third straight game Wednesday, 70-64 in overtime at Portland. It’s the team’s first three-game winning streak of the season. In the three wins, Montana led for 97:28 of the games’ 125 minutes.

* On Montana’s three-game winning streak, Kayleigh Valley is averaging 13.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

* Montana opened its road trip with a 69-55 victory Sunday at Portland. The two victories gave the Lady Griz their first two-game road-trip sweep since January 2013 when they won at Idaho State and Weber State.

* Montana has been killing it on the boards. After getting outrebounded in five of their first six games, the Lady Griz have gone +14 against Carroll, +15 against Portland and +10 against Seattle. … Against the Pilots and Redhawks, Montana grabbed 44 offensive rebounds. On Wednesday that gave the Lady Griz 77 shots. … The team’s 58 rebounds on Wednesday were the most since grabbing 58 against Sacramento State at the 2013 Big Sky Conference tournament.

* Montana returns home for just its fourth and fifth home games of the season. Friday’s matchup against Utah Valley will be just the second home game against a Division I opponent. … The Lady Griz are a salty 484-58 (.893) at Dahlberg Arena under 37th-year coach Robin Selvig.

* Montana had four players score in double figures Wednesday — McCalle Feller and Kayleigh Valley with 16, Kellie Rubel and Shanae Gilham with 11 — to match a season high. More impressive than that was the distribution of shots. Seven different players took between eight and 11 shots, with nobody taking more than 11.

* Montana scored a then season-high 69 points in Sunday’s win at Portland. The Lady Griz topped that with 70 points on Wednesday, though with the five minutes of overtime added on.

* After starting the season with 20 more turnovers than assists through its first five games, Montana has six more assists than turnovers the last four.

* Montana had blocked 33 shots in three games going into Wednesday’s game at Seattle. The Lady Griz blocked six Redhawk shots, just below its season average of 6.3.

* Two of Montana’s losses are looking better in hindsight. Pacific is now 7-2, while Princeton is 11-0.

Trending down for Montana

* The Lady Griz shot 29.9 percent in Wednesday’s victory at Seattle. It was the first time since Jan. 26, 2013, a 61-53 victory at Weber State, that Montana shot less than 30 percent and won.

* After going 5 for 31 (.161) from 3-point range Wednesday, Montana is shooting 25.6 percent from the arc for the season. Despite the season-long trend, the Lady Griz continue to take more than a third of their shots from beyond the 3-point line.

* Montana went 19 for 28 (.679) from the line at Seattle. The Lady Griz had shot 80 percent or better from the line five of the previous six games.

* Kayleigh Valley’s free throw streak ended at 27 Wednesday. She entered the game with 23 straight makes and hit her first four against Seattle, but she missed her final attempt of the game, with 23 seconds left in overtime.

Montana three-dot notes: Kellie Rubel’s seven assists Wednesday matched a season high. … Rubel has 945 career points. At her current scoring average, she’ll become the program’s 31st 1,000-point scorer when Montana hosts Weber State on Jan. 8. … Rubel was named to the all-tournament team at last year’s Lady Griz Classic. … Carly Selvig, the 2013-14 Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Year, has 20 blocks the last four games. … Maggie Rickman was 2 for 17 on the Portland-Seattle road trip, though she did grab nine rebounds in both games, which matched her career high. … Hannah Doran has missed her last 14 3-point attempts and is 2 for 22 (.091) from the arc for the season. … Doran’s nine rebounds Wednesday were a career high. … Playing nearly similar minutes, Doran (4.2/g) is averaging more rebounds than Alycia Sims (4.0/g). … McCalle Feller went 4 for 11 from 3-point range on Montana’s road trip to snap a four-game stretch of 2 for 21. … Feller’s 16 points at Seattle, 14 of which came in the first half, were a career high. … Alycia Sims has yet to attempt a free throw this season.

Upcoming: Montana will open its Big Sky Conference schedule with games at Northern Colorado on Jan. 1 and North Dakota on Jan. 3.

Montana Sports Information