MISSOULA -- The Montana Lady Griz are in the midst of a two-game losing streak as they enter arguably the most important stretch of their season. Montana will host Northern Arizona on Thursday night, looking to get back in the win column with just four games left in the season.
The Lady Griz have slipped down to the sixth seed after two straight losses and need to climb into the top five if they want a first-round bye at the Big Sky Conference tournament in mid-March.
"I think, for us, a bye would be very important," said Montana head coach Shannon Schweyen. "Just with the numbers of minutes that a lot of these kids play and some of the little nagging things that are going on, I think one less game is probably a good thing in the long run. You still have a chance to play three (games), we just have to do what we do and hopefully go into the tournament with some momentum and try to take care of business."
Last time Montana played NAU it came away with the road victory. Since then, though, the Lumberjacks have been on a tear, going 12-4, and have climbed into the second seed. Thursday's game will be a good test for this Montana team as it pushes for that important first-round bye.
"We obviously beat them last time, but we were up quite a bit and we let them come back and we can't have that. As we've seen throughout the season, we've had that a little bit here and there," said senior guard McKenzie Johnston. "But they are a good team, they have a lot of different weapons and our defense is going to have to show up."
No. 6 Montana (14-11 overall, 9-7 in conference) host No. 2 Northern Arizona (15-11, 12-5) at 7 p.m. Thursday.