MISSOULA – Montana’s women’s basketball team makes perhaps the most anticipated road trip of the season on Saturday. The Lady Griz travel over to Bozeman to battle the rival Bobcats.
The ladies teams share identical 5-4 records in league play. They are currently tied for fifth, which has added significance because the top five teams receive byes in the first round of the Big Sky Tournament next month.
Montana sports a very balanced attack, with four players averaging between 10 and 12 points per game. The Cats rely more heavily on senior forward Claire Lundberg. The transfer from Seton Hall scores over 17 points per game.
“I think we’ve got to do a good job on Lundberg,” admitted head coach Shannon Schweyen. “She’s obviously scoring it up for them. Contain her somewhat as best we can. Not let them get a lot of good looks at 3s is going to be important. We’ve got to to out and do what we do well, and hopefully that’s playing some great defense.”
“I would say they run the floor well. Their bigs, just watching some film on them, they sprint the floor well,” said Lady Griz forward Emma Stockholm. “So I’m excited to see what we’re going to do on Saturday. It’s going to determine the rest of the season from there.”
The Cats have beaten the Lady Griz four consecutive times in MSU’s Worthington Arena. Couple that with poor first quarters that have doomed Montana in some of their Big Sky Conference losses and the opening minutes will be very important.
“Energy is going to be huge for us,” said forward Jace Henderson. “I think that when we’ve started games strong, we get locked in quickly. And I think that if our girls can push aside all of the little things and remember that it’s go play your own game, I think that we’ll have a great shot at it.”
The Lady Griz and Bobcats tipoff at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.