MISSOULA — Last season, Abby Anderson broke onto the scene right around this time. It was the two games following Christmas Day as she dropped 15 points in a win over Northern Arizona on Dec. 28 and then scored a season-high 20 points in a win over Sacramento State on Dec. 30. Those performances earned Anderson Big Sky Conference player of the week honors as the sophomore became a role player for Montana from that point on.
"She’s shown toughness, she’s shown maturity, just been a really valuable leader for our program," said Lady Griz head coach Mike Petrino. "Kids generally respect and enjoy playing with her.”
This season the junior is settling into a new role as she's become one of the leaders for the Lady Griz, who have a new look.
“Last year was just me trying to grow as a player and kind of get confidence," said Anderson. "This year I’m thrown into more of a leadership role, but I want it, I like being a leader on this team.”
Aside from the head coaching change from Shannon Schweyen to Petrino, the Lady Griz roster looks a lot different.
They returned only seven players from last year's team and added three transfers and five freshmen.
Anderson is already seeing a career-high in minutes per game at 25 and is making them count with 9.3 points per game on 48 percent shooting from the field. Anderson has also turned into a defensive threat, racking up four blocks in the win over North Dakota.
While it's still early in the season, Anderson says the fire and competitive nature of this team is what gives her confidence heading into the first Big Sky Conference game.
“Something I really like is how badly everyone on this team wants to win every single game, there is never one person who is, like, meh about a game," said Anderson. "Everyone is tuned in, everyone is competitive and we are ready to go.”
The Lady Griz (2-2) take on the Northern Colorado Bears (1-6) on the road on Friday at 6:30 p.m.