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MSU Billings to face Montana Lady Griz for 1st time since 2013

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Posted at 1:53 PM, Dec 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-20 15:53:53-05

(MSU Billings release)

MISSOULA - After a 6-5 start, the Montana State University Billings women’s basketball team is taking a pause from its regular season schedule and traveling to Missoula to play University of Montana on Friday, December 20 at 7 p.m. in exhibition action. The two in-state rivals have not played one another since 2013-14, when MSUB’s Division I counterpart narrowly won 69-65 in another exhibition.

This time, the game represents an opportunity for the Yellowjackets to show what they are capable of. The ‘Jackets have won six of their last seven outings and are coming off an 81-44 win over Dickinson State University Sunday night. It will also be a chance to compete on the road, where MSUB is 1-2 so far. With a full week to practice and scout the Griz, the Yellowjackets feel they have a realistic chance to upset University of Montana at Dahlberg Arena.

“I’ve been proud of how we have been playing,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. ”I think we are becoming more consistent which is something we’ve been striving for. What is really exciting is that we still have a lot of room for improvement, especially among the young and more inexperienced players, but I’m happy with where we are at right now. Playing in Missoula is a great challenge for us but I think it benefits us to be the underdog. Hopefully we can use that to our advantage and play well.”

The game can be viewed on PlutoTV [pluto.tv] with live statistics [stats.statbroadcast.com] also provided.

Montana State Billings won both of its games at home last week, scoring a 69-65 win over Rocky Mountain on Thursday and an 81-44 rout of Dickinson State on Sunday to close out non-conference play.

Hannah Collins was the only Yellowjacket to score in double digits in both games. She opened the week with 19 points on 7 of 14 from the field and 2 of 5 from outside to go with six rebounds, two assists and a steal against Rocky Mountain. She followed that with 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal against Dickinson State.

Taylor Cunningham finished just short of a double-double against Rocky Mountain with 19 points and nine rebounds to go with two assists, a steal and a block. She also scored eight points to go with four rebounds and two assists against Dickinson State.

Taryn Shelley registered her fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds against Dickinson State, connecting on 7 of 11 from the field.

Collins leads the Yellowjackets and ranks eighth in the GNAC with 14.0 points per game. Shelley ranks second at 11.7 ppg. to go along with 7.8 rebounds and 17 blocks. In nine starts, Cunningham ranks third with 8.5 points per game. With starting lineup fluctuation, coach Woodin has turned to senior Jeanann Lemelin and Emily St. John most often apart from the top-3 scorers.

Scouting University of Montana
Friday, December 19 – 7 p.m. – Missoula, Montana – Dahlberg Arena
2019-20 Record: 4-4, 0-0 BIG SKY, 2-2 home, 2-1 away, 0-1 neutral
2018-19 Record: 14-16, 9-11 BIG SKY, 10-4 home, 3-11 away, 1-1 neutral
Head Coach: Shannon Schweyen (4th season)

University of Montana (4-4, 0-0 Big Sky) fell 96-64 to No. 21 South Dakota in Vermillion Sunday, December 15 but has victories over Utah Valley, Cal State Fullerton, and Grand Canyon already this fall. The Griz returned four starters from 2018-19 and nine letterwinners. Last season, UM finished 9-11 (sixth) in the Big Sky Conference regular season but bowed out in the first round of the conference tournament to Southern Utah 64-56. Their last appearance in the NCAA tournament was 2015.

Head Coach Shannon Schweyen is in her 28th season on staff and fourth as head coach. Assistant coach Mike Petrino graduated from MSU Billings in 1999.

Redshirt senior point guard McKenzie Johnston led Montana last season in both points (12.6 ppg.) and assists (4.1 apg.). Johnston became the 34th player in program history to reach 1,000 points. Similar to the Yellowjackets, University of Montana attracts local talent and has seven Montana natives on its current roster.

Johnston (12.3 ppg., 4.5 rpg.), Emma Stockholm (9.3 ppg., 5.8 rpg.), Gabi Harrington (8.3 ppg., 4.3 rpg.), Sophia Stiles (7.5 ppg., 3.5 rpg.), and Abby Anderson (5.0 ppg., 3.0 rpg.) have started all eight games for the Grizzlies so far. The team is averaging 66.4 points per contest while allowing 68.8 points to opponents. UM also commits 13.3 turnovers per game and shoots .426 from the floor.

“I think we have to do the little things well against Montana,” Woodin said. “We can’t go on extended shooting droughts and have a mixture of 3-point shooting and post up play. Mixing it up with player personnel as well as inside and outside shooting I think is important on offense. Defensively, they are bigger than us so we can’t give up easy boards and point-blank post ups. We have to keep them between us and the basket which sounds easy but is challenging to execute. You can’t just key on stopping one specific player so we have to play good team defense.”

MSUB All-Time Series vs. University of Montana (3-16 Overall, 1-15 Away, 2-1 Neutral)

Date

Location

Type

Result

1-24-74

Missoula

Regular Season

L

2-22-74

Bozeman

Regular Season

L, 38-27

2-26-76

Big Fork

Regular Season

W, 72-51

2-28-76

Big Fork

Regular Season

W, 72-54

1-17-78

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 48-41

2-23-79

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 64-56

1-5-80

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 68-53

11-29-82

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 55-42

11-25-83

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 75-42

11-22-85

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 68-53

11-29-86

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 71-45

11-28-87

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 71-56

12-2-93

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 76-42

12-10-94

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 64-43

11-26-95

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 63-46

11-18-98

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 77-53

12-6-01

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 75-56

11-25-02

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 68-52

12-4-03

Missoula

Regular Season

L, 80-43

12-4-03

Missoula

Exhibition

L, 80-43

11-12-06

Missoula

Exhibition

L, 89-45

10-28-13

Missoula

Exhibition

L, 69-65