BOZEMAN — Montana State guard Oliana Squires is hitting her stride at the right time for the Bobcats. She’s only a sophomore, but is taking on a much bigger role on a vastly different roster than the one that made the NCAA Tournament in 2017.
“She’s getting a lot better,” said head coach Tricia Binford. “Every game, I’m seeing a progression and a step in the right direction.”
She’s beginning to make the transition into the second year look easy. After struggling some in the beginning of the season, she has found a groove in her past five games. She is averaging 15 points on 46 percent shooting to go with two steals per contest.
“I’d say I’m decent all-around. I feel like I do, pretty much, a little bit of everything,” Squires said when asked about the strengths of her game.
But it’s the Colorado native’s shooting from long range that is making the biggest impact for a Montana State team that set a two-game record for 3-point shooting last week.
“She’s got a great shot,” Binford said. “She’s got a really soft stroke, but she does a lot of things off the bounce, as well.”
Fellow sophomore Madeline Smith knows that Squires’ continued contributions from beyond the arc will be key to the team’s success going forward.
“(Her shot is) something that, especially from the first few preseason games, that she’s really worked on,” she said. “It’s gotten really, really good and really consistent, and I think that’s going to be really big for us the next couple of weeks.”
Squires and the Bobcats return to the court on Thursday. The Bobcats are traveling to Northern Colorado, a two-hour trip north from the sophomore’s home in Colorado Springs. Last season, she posted a career-high 17 points in Greeley, a place she already enjoys playing.
“It’s exciting (to play there),” she explained. “I get to see my family and play in front of people that I know from Colorado, so it’s a fun game to go to.”
The Bobcats hope to avenge last season’s road loss, beginning at 7 p.m.