MISSOULA – The Montana Lady Griz picked up wins in their first two Big Sky Conference games. A team that took 13 contests to reach two victories in the Big Sky last year showed it has learned how to win, even when it seems impossible.
Montana trailed Northern Arizona by 21 points midway through the third quarter last Thursday. Then the Lady Griz made a miraculous comeback to beat the Lumberjacks in overtime.
The momentum carried over to Saturday when UM blitzed Southern Utah early on its way to a 10-point win. Now Shannon Schweyen’s club has found something that was missing over the past two years: confidence.
“It’s such a great experience to go through something like that, because it literally always makes you remember. ‘Remember that one time when we were down 21?'” said the second-year head coach about what the comeback victory can give her team. “And you just understand that sports is crazy. And you have to keep believing that it’s always possible to do, because anybody who watches a lot of basketball sees it happen. It happens quite a bit.”
“They were two completely different games, I feel like,” said sophomore point guard McKenzie Johnston, who leads the team in scoring (11.7 points per game) and assists (4.5). “And they were good to know we can come back like that, and then also to show what it’s like when we come out strong, so I think those are two opposite games that really show us what we’re capable of.”
Montana really gets a chance to show what it can do this week when the women take one of the toughest trips in the Big Sky. They’ll play at perennial contender North Dakota at 6 p.m. Thursday and then go to preseason Big Sky favorite Northern Colorado Saturday for a 2 p.m. tipoff.