MISSOULA -- The Montana Lady Griz announced five non-conference women's basketball games on Wednesday, including the season-opening game against Utah State scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 25.
First-year head coach Mike Petrino will make his home debut on Dec. 7 with a home game against North Dakota. The Lady Griz will also play Utah Valley in Missoula on Dec. 21. Gonzaga on Dec. 13 and Seattle on Dec. 15 round out UM's non-conference road games.
“Scheduling is always challenging. Scheduling during COVID was challenging times 10,” Petrino said in a media release.
“The number of games that we had scheduled and had to change since last year is probably more games than we’ll play all year,” Petrino added. “In the end we found games that are within driving distance, which is good, and we were able to get some home games. We got games against really good opponents. It will be a challenging schedule.”
The Lady Griz will play Southern Utah on Dec. 3 and 5 in early Big Sky Conference games. The Thunderbirds will play two games at Missoula as part of the Big Sky's new-look format for league play. Teams will play two games -- one Thursday and one Saturday -- at the same site to help minimize travel.
The home game with North Dakota will make it three games in five days for UM, which will then conclude its nonconference schedule with Gonzaga, Seattle and Utah Valley.
Montana will return to Big Sky games when it plays at Northern Colorado on Jan. 1 and 3.
The Lady Griz return three starters from last year’s team that went 17-13 and tied for fourth in the Big Sky at 12-8 -- senior Madi Schoening and juniors Abby Anderson and Sophia Stiles -- but just one other player -- junior Kylie Frohlich -- who saw the court.