UM Sports Trivia | Week of Feb 9

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

Thursday night the Montana Lady Griz face maybe their most significant challenge in their drive towards a possible Big Sky title and the right to host the Conference tournament. The University of North Dakota women have a three game winning streak against Montana, but we hasten to add that all three of those games were played in Grand Forks North Dakota.   The game will be a rematch of the 2014 Big Sky tournament title game won by UND.

The Lady Griz may not lead the Big Sky in 3-point shooting as a team, but Montana has the individual leaders in two 3-point related stats. Hannah Doran is hitting the long shot at a pace of over 70% to lead the league in 3-point shooting percentage with Mcallie Feller also among the top 5. Feller leads the league in 3 point shots per game with nearly 3 makes a game from long distance.

If the game Thursday isn’t a big enough attraction a Montana victory would secure a milestone win for assistant coach Shannon Cate-Schweyen. The Lady Griz’ next win will mark the 500th win since Schweyen joined the coaching staff in the fall of 1992.

As if Griz big man Martin Breunig doesn’t do enough for the Griz. Along with being in the top 10 in scoring rebounding, field goal percentage and blocks Breunig is now 8th in the league in free throw percentage.

Back in the early 1980’s then Griz basketball coach Mike Montgomery bemoaned the fact that most Griz fans fondest memory in program history was a near win against UCLA. Montgomery may have had a point as he would go on to defeat UCLA 38 times in his time in the PAC-12. Former Griz stars and now PAC-12 coaches Larry Kryskowiak and Wayne Tinkle are a combined 6-4 versus the Bruins of Westwood. Of course Tinkle was head coach in 2010 when the Griz went to Pauley Pavilion and posted a convincing win over the Bruins.

Next January when the two Super Bowl combatants have been determined, check the rosters and see if either team has a player on defense named Malcolm and bet on that team. The past two Super Bowls have turned on the play of a player named Malcolm. In Seattle’s win last year Malcolm Smith of Seattle had 2 interceptions and a fumble recovery to key the Seahawks rout of Denver. Two weeks ago the game clinching interception came by way of free agent rookie Malcolm Butler. Another note on the two Malcolms: Smith was taken in the final round of the draft, while Butler had to survive two free agent mini-camps to be invited to come to the Patriots summer Training Camp.

BBQ Last Saturday two giants of the sports world passed away, but besides dying the same day these two came to Missoula for golfing events. Dean Smith changed the way college basketball was played won 2 national titles and his “Four Corner Offense” hastened the instruction of a shot clock in college basketball. However in the spring of 1958 Smith was the head golf coach at the Air Force Academy and his young Falcon golfers came to Missoula to compete in the Skyline Conference golf Championship, Air Force was not a member of the skyline but was included in some of the Conference championships. Smith’s Falcons finished last in the Championship and a month later he left the Academy to join the staff at North Carolina’s basketballprogram.

In the spring of 1959 pro golfer Billy Casper accepted an invitation to play an exhibition at the Missoula Country Club. Well in June of 1959 Casper stunned the golfing world by winning the US Open, but true to his word he kept his scheduled visit to Missoula. Casper was the perfect celebrity guest posing for pictures and signing autographs as he played 18 holes of golf. Casper was very serious and aggressive when it came to his round of golf posting an amazing 59. Casper and Gary Player were the only PGA golfers to win Major Champions in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.

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Chris Walterskirchen has been an observer of Montana sports for nearly half a century. A Kalispell native, Chris has worked in various capacities for professional and college sports organization of at various times: ranging from announcing and statistical work to the concessions and even a stint as a costumedmascot.

Chris has academic degrees in communications and elementary education. His style of sports trivia involves more than just who won and who lost, but also focuses on the obscure or human side of sports. In this blog you will learn things like the Grizzly football team has won 210 games over the 19 seasons since they have had Monte as their mascot or that UNLV is the only school that both the Griz and Lady Griz have both faced in the NCAA basketball tournament

When not following sports Chris enjoys taking care of animals of all kinds (a peacock rescue?) and reading to pre-schoolers.