The #MTTop25 countdown started back in July with Brockton’s Kayla Lambert, Montana’s all-time leading scorer at the high school level, at No. 25. Lambert, who signed to play at the University of Montana but never actually played for the Lady Grizzlies, was just one of three non-Division I college basketball players to be featured in the #MTTop25, a list recognizing some of the best female basketball players to come out of Montana.
The Frontier Conference, though, has a long and proud history in The Treasure State, and many great athletes have played their basketball at the NAIA level.
Though these players didn’t play for the Lady Grizzlies, Montana State Bobcats or a Pac-12 program, they did put together impressive resumes, earning all-America recognition and other awards across the country. This obviously isn’t a comprehensive list, but here are five women, who all played their high school basketball in Montana before spectacular careers in the Frontier Conference.
Natalee Faupel, Montana State-Northern via Butte
Faupel was a nice player at Butte High, but became a great player at Montana State-Northern. She was a three-time first-team all-conference player for the Lights, winning the league’s MVP award after her junior season in 2015-16. A two-time NAIA all-American, as well as a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association all-American, Faupel left Northern as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,829 points.
Jolene Fuzesy, Carroll College via Malta and Havre
Fuzesy is arguably the best shooter to ever come out of Montana. An all-stater at Malta, Fuzesy transferred to Havre for her senior season, where she made 53.6 percent of her 3-pointers to place her name in the Montana High School Association record books. Fusezy was equally as lethal at Carroll College, setting the career college basketball record for 3-point percentage. She made 464 of 899 3-point attempts (51.6 percent) during her career, finishing with 2,062 points.
Sheila Green, Montana State-Northern via Clancy
Green was part of four Frontier Conference championship teams at MSU-Northern, advancing to the NAIA national tournament four times. A league MVP and NAIA II Kodak all-American, Green left the Lights as the program’s career leading scorer. She now ranks second (behind Natalee Faupel) with 1,566 career points. Green, now Green Gerding, spent 22 seasons as the head women’s basketball coach at Minot State. She resigned earlier this year as the program’s all-time leader in wins with 360.
Julie Kieckbusch, Montana Tech via Sheridan
Kieckbusch was inducted into Montana Tech’s Digger Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003 after setting a couple program records when she played from 1988-92. A four-time all-conference player, Kieckbusch was named the league MVP in 1992. She averaged 19.7 points per game over her career, finishing with 1,911 points on 714 made field goals, both program records.
Bobbi Suhr, Montana Western via Harrison
Suhr helped Western win the first Frontier Conference championship in program history and then went on to win two more conference titles. She was a three-time league MVP, two-time Kodak all-American and a second-team NAIA all-American. By the time her career finished in 2003, Suhr had scored more than 2,000 points and grabbed more than 1,000 rebounds, setting the program records in both.