UM Sports Trivia | Week of Feb 15

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

Saturday afternoon when the MSU Lady cats come to Dahlberg Arena they will be looking for their third straight win over Montana, the previously two meetings were in Bozeman. The Lady Cats have previously posted a 3-win streak on Montana twice in Robin Selvig’s tenure, mostly recently in the 2010 season.

The Lady cats are leading in the race for the Regular season title in the Big Sky, something they haven’t claimed since 1993 on theuir run to their lone NCAA tournament appearance.

Montana’s Kayleigh Valley is now averageing over 23 points a game in league play nearly 3 per points per game more than the next highest scoring average. Last weekend Valley cracked the 1000 Club.

The Lady Cats sport the top two 3-point percentage shooters in the league as Peyton Farris and Riley Nordgaaard are tops with the deep shot.

Currently the Lady Griz are just a half a game out of fourth place, a spot they need to reach to ensure a first round tournament. Getting up to the No. 2 spot in the standings might be a little tougher as Montan currently stands two and a half games behind the Idaho Vandals for the third seed.

On the Lady Cats bench this season is special assistant coach John Stockton. As a player Stockton was 3-0 in Dahlberg Arena including being a Gonzaga team that won the Inagural Grizzly Holiday Classic. Stockton’s long-time running mate with the Utah, Jazz Karl Malone, also spent time as a college assistant. Malone was on the staff at Louisiana Tech under former Griz assistant Kerry Rupp.

While the Lady Griz will be seeking a third rivalry win in a row in the afternoon the Griz men will be out Saturday evening to advanced an impressive win streak of their own. The Grizzlies have won their last 11 games against MSU. The Cats most recent win in the rivalry came on February 27, 2010 in Missoula. After a resounding win in the 2010 season Finale the Bobcats lost at home in a Big Sky Conference quarterfinal the next Saturday while the Griz rebounded to post three impressive wins in the Conference tournament to earn a trip to the NCAA tournament.

While the MSU Bobcats set a school and conference record last week in connecting on 25 3-pointers against NAU, they have but one player in the top 10 in 3-point accuracy. Tyler Hall led the cats record setting rampage and he is currently fourth in Big Sky stats from long distance, however Montana has two players in the top 5 in the league from beyond the arc. Junior Walter Wright leads the league from down deep and Brandon Gfeller is 5th.

A note on Bobcat coaches. Over the last 60 years Mick Durham, head coach at MSU from 1990-2006, waited the longest for his first win over the Griz. Durham finally got the ‘W’ in his fifth Griz-Cat game in Missoula in 1993.

A tidbit for the upcoming NCAA men’s tournament. Only once in the last 12 years has the Men’s national title gone to a school that had never won before–Florida in 2006. Currently there are 15 teams ranked in the top 25 who have never experienced that ” One Shining Moment,” and that group includes, Oklahoma, Iowa State , Xavier, Virginia and West Virginia.

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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.