MISSOULA -- The Montana Lady Griz are out to a 3-3 start as they head down the stretch of non-conference play. Including their first two exhibition matches, Montana had the luxury of hosting its first six games.
Last weekend the Lady Griz hit the road for the first time in 2019, where they went 1-1 at the Titan Classic. Montana started the tournament with a 10-point loss to Santa Clara University but ended the road trip on a good note by beating the host Cal State Fullerton Titans.
"It's always great when you get a chance to play the host team and beat them," said Montana head coach Shannon Schweyen. "We were able to get a couple of stops down the stretch to pull that one out. It's always good to get tested like that when you're playing on the road and I'm proud of the way the ladies responded."
After the win over CSU Fullerton, that brings Montana to an even .500 with three games left until conference play begins on Jan. 2. The first of the final three non-conference opponents left is Utah Valley, as Montana will take on the Wolverines this Saturday in Orem. Utah Valley sits at 1-6 overall, but it plays better than its record shows with close games against Boise State, Nevada and UC Santa Barbara.
"They've got athleticism, really good size with the 6-foot-5 post player (Josie Williams) and good size across the board. It'll be a good time for us to go down there and have to create our own environment in that gym and see if we can come out with another road win," said Schweyen.
"Their record is a little deceiving, so we need to go into it with confidence and not overlook them and just play our game and I think we'll do well," said Montana guard Taylor Goligoski.
While Big Sky Conference play is coming into sight the Lady Griz still have a tough road ahead and they're focused on finishing out non-conference play in solid fashion.
"We're trying to use each and every one of these to get better and learn more about ourselves, get exposed to different situations. I think we've seen a lot of good things in the non-conference. I'm looking forward to what we have left on our schedule," said Schweyen. "We've got Utah Valley on the road, South Dakota, who could very well be ranked by the time we get there, then finish up with MSU Billings before we head home for Christmas."
Regardless of the result in these final non-conference games, Montana likes where it sits, but the Lady Griz know there's room for improvement.
"We've been playing with a lot of confidence and togetherness. We've had a few games where we've had 20 assists, 30 assists as a team, so I think our chemistry has been really good," said Goligoski. "There's been some games that I think we could have won, some closer games, but for the most part I think we've been playing really well."
Montana (3-3) takes on Utah Valley (1-6) Saturday at 2 p.m. Mountain Time.