BOZEMAN — While Thursday may have felt like any other game day inside The Brick with Montana State Women's Basketball hosting the Eagles, for Eastern Washington's Gabrielle Jung, it will be one of the most memorable games of her career.
That's because CountryHouse Residences, a memory care facility in North Dakota, was able to pull off the ultimate surprise by bringing her 81-year-old grandmother to Bozeman after a trip to the arcade sparked an idea.
”Her daughter [Lori Jung] had posted a picture on Facebook of a side-by-side of our resident Marilyn [Wert] and her daughter Gabby on this team and said this must be where she must get her skills from," CountryHouse Residences executive director Tessa Johnson explained. "I commented and said hey, we should take Marilyn to a game, and her daughter said oh I wish. I don’t even get to go. She plays for Eastern Washington, and so I just wrote back and said you never know. We’re pretty wild.”
Since Cheney, Washington is nearly 900 miles away from CountryHouse Residences, it's been a few years since Jung's grandmother was able to watch her play.
Bozeman, however, is only about a six-and-a-half-hour drive from Dickinson, North Dakota, so the facility drove Marilyn Wert to the Treasure State on Thursday to surprise Jung mid-court as Eastern Washington arrived for an early shootaround.
“It was just so surprising," Eastern Washington guard Gabrielle Jung smiled. "I wasn’t expecting that at all. I wasn’t expecting to see any of my family this weekend here in Bozeman, but seeing her definitely brought me to tears. It’s been a few months. The last time I saw her was at Christmas, but it was just crazy. It was just a lot of emotions all at one time.”
While the two didn't get to spend too much time together on Thursday, Wert did get to meet the entire team, hang out courtside during the Eagles shootaround, and sit in the stands at night to cheer on her granddaughter.
“She’s always been one of my number one supporters - her and my grandpa - so now just her seeing me play in college is just awesome," Jung said.