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'Easy person to cheer for': Montana's Kylie Frohlich breaking through with Lady Griz

Kylie Frohlich
Posted at 2:40 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-20 11:19:18-05

MISSOULA — Patience has been a virtue for Montana Lady Griz forward Kylie Frohlich.

The former Missoula Sentinel High three-sport standout has started to break through at UM as a junior this season with a strong run in the month of February. Frohlich scored a career-high 18 points against Portland State on Feb. 4, the first of three straight double-digit scoring nights off of the bench. Frohlich added 12 in Montana's second game against Portland State and poured in 14 points in a career-high 29 minutes against Weber State on Feb. 11.

For Frohlich, the change has been spurred by approaching the game differently in her third season as a Lady Griz.

"What’s changed the most was I really just had a heart-to-heart with my family, decided to change my attitude a little bit more and just having more of an aggressive mindset and doing everything with confidence on the court," Frohlich told MTN Sports. "I worked on getting a better mindset and coming in thinking, 'You know, they need me in this game, they need me, I’m part of this game,' just really focusing on getting into the game. Sometimes it's hard whether you're on the bench or in the game, every game is different. You have to feel like you're really in the game."

As the Lady Griz (11-7, 8-5 Big Sky Conference) currently ride a four-game winning streak, Frohlich has been a big part of that. After overcoming injury at the beginning of the season, Frohlich made her season debut against Northern Colorado on Jan. 1, and the former Spartan is averaging career-highs in minutes (14.5), points (4.9), rebounds (3.6) and assists (1.3) per game.

Frohlich saw playing time as a true freshman two seasons ago and saw her minuets go up slightly last season. Ultimately, it's been about waiting for her opportunities to come and cash them in.

"Slowly working my way in, figuring out where I fit best," Frohlich explained. "This year is a different team, so chemistry is different. The way people work together on the court is different. So I think that's kind of where I fit in is new year, new playing style. Everyone's playing for each other and playing hard so if one girl gets an open look, it's an open shot for the team, so me recognizing that if that's there for me, then that's a shot for the team. If that's there for someone else, that's a shot for the team."

It's a testament to Frohlich's perseverance and patience, as Frohlich opted to enter the transfer portal last summer. But instead of leaving, she chose to remain with her hometown school and improve her game at Montana. And lately, she's been benefiting from that decision and the hard work she's put in.

With over half of the Lady Griz roster new to the program before the season started, Frohlich was also thrown into a leadership role as one of the team's veterans.

"It feels good to finally feel like I’m hitting my groove again from high school and I think everyone that comes into college kind of feels that way," Frohlich said. "Being able to start feeling like you’re in the game again, you’re more of a threat, you’re in the main team, you’re just clicking with the girls. So getting back to that and being able to feel like I’m just playing basketball again is great."

First-year Lady Griz coach Mike Petrino said Frohlich put in a strong summer ahead of the season, and he sees a similarity between Frohlich and another recent UM standout.

"A little bit it reminds me of Jace Henderson," Petrino said. "Jace Henderson (a current assistant UM coach) came in, a great high school athlete, had to wait for a little bit before she got some opportunities. Brought great energy and work ethic every day in practice. Kylie has great respect from her teammates. They admire and respect how hard she works in practice every day. It was fun to see how happy they were for her to do what she’s done the last couple of weeks.

"You cheer for good people and I think Kylie’s an easy person to cheer for."