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Q2 AOW: MSU Billings’ Shayla Montague nearing ‘quite an accomplishment’

Shayla Montague
Posted at 4:08 PM, Jan 03, 2024

BILLINGS — Shayla Montague is about to do for MSU Billings women’s basketball what only two others ever have.

“I do love the 3-pointer, for sure,” Montague told MTN Sports during a recent practice.

Montague is on the verge of sinking 200-plus for the Yellowjackets and could eclipse the mark as early as Thursday in a 6:15 p.m. MST conference game at Central Washington.

“It’s quite an accomplishment, especially since they’ve moved the (3-point) line back the last few years,” MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin said.

Leave her open on the perimeter and Montague will gladly make you pay, playing for the team she grew up loving.

“I’ve been around Kevin (Woodin) all my life and my mom and dad went here, so I think I always knew in my heart that I wanted to go here,” she said.

“Shayla would come to practices and shoot with our team when she was 10 years old, 11 years old," Woodin recalled. "She spent time on buses, she went to regionals with us, she was on the bus the night we beat the (Montana State) Bobcats about 11 years ago.”

Now a senior, Montague's leadership starts on the practice court.

“That pushes me — and all of us — to become better defenders," said fellow guard Aspen Giese. "Like, how do we guard the 3, how do we guard Shayla? So, when we get into a game, we’ve had some experience with a knock-down 3-point shooter.

“She’s the calm in the storm always, but she’s still very vocal like, 'You got it, you’re OK, keep shooting.'”

Woodin agrees: “She’s a great settling influence for all of us, including me."

We’ll use maiden names here, but only Amy Winslow (198), Quinn Peoples (236) and Alira Carpenter (294) have buried more 3s in their Yellowjacket careers. Montague sits at 196.

But rewinding to her high school days at Billings West, Shayla started varsity as a freshman. Though, she admitted that start wasn’t very hot during an interview with MTN Sports her senior year in 2018.

“My first shot was an air-ball because I was so nervous,” she recalled at the time.

And there was another fun reveal from that same interview.

“Throughout my elementary years I did taekwondo. I almost got my black belt but I didn’t finish," she said.

Who knew? Definitely not Giese.

“That does surprise me a lot actually," she said with a good laugh upon learning. "No, I would have never guessed that.

"She does show some moves sometimes, though, where I’m like, 'Dang, Shay, that looks pretty good.'”

Does Montague ever think about going back to finish the black belt job?

"Oh, I don’t know if I can," she admitted, also laughing. "I’ve got old knees now, and I don’t know.”

We told you earlier mom (Krista) and dad (Brent) both played for the Yellowjackets. Krista's team became the first in MSUB women's history to reach the Elite 8, before Krista later excelled through a 10-year career as MSUB’s athletic director.

Shayla is a business major, perhaps with thoughts of becoming the school's next AD.

“I’m interning right now with (MSUB associate athletic director for marketing and development) Hollie West," she said.

Maybe Shayla’s business degree circles back to sports. But right now, the 3-point assassin and her teammates are taking care of business with an 11-3 record and eyes on a deep postseason run.