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Sophia Stiles: A step ahead on the court and in the classroom

Montana vs. Northern Arizona - Big Sky Conference women's basketball quarterfinals
Posted at 8:36 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 10:50:21-05

MISSOULA — Sophia Stiles always seems to be one step ahead on the basketball court. The speedy guard who hails from Malta is known for her lock-down defense and play-making abilities on the offensive end.

But what people may not know about Stiles is that she also excels in the classroom, as she’s already earned a psychology degree from the University of Montana.

While finishing a degree in three years is impressive, Stiles didn’t really even mean to do it.

“Last year I took 19 credits both semesters, so that was really hard, playing basketball and doing 19 credits," said Stiles. "I guess coming in I just didn’t know what to expect so I took 17 credits right off the bat just because I was like, ‘Oh that doesn’t seem like that many classes.' I think by me not realizing that was kind of a lot I just continued to take a lot throughout my years.”

Now that Stiles is done in the classroom she can focus solely on basketball.

The Lady Griz are currently in the middle of the pack in the Big Sky Conference as they sit in fifth place with a 6-5 record. Coming off a win against winless Weber State on Thursday, the Lady Griz have a chance to improve with another game against the Wildcats on Saturday.

However, down the stretch, the Lady Griz face off against two of the top three teams in the conference in Idaho and Idaho State to finish the season.

While it's been a strange season with no fans in attendance, Stiles still seems to bring 110% each and every game. Stiles is currently averaging career-bests in points per game (10.4), assists (2.9) and rebounds (5.2).

"This is what we're here to do," said Stiles. "We grind every day to have a game and at this point, I think everyone is used to just playing in an empty gym as sad as that is. But I think our bench and all of us have been really intentional about bringing the energy and bringing for the girls that are on the court."

Assuming she’ll be a captain once again as a senior, Stiles, who dons No. 2 on the court, touched on how special that is to her.

“Very storied franchise, there have been a lot of great women basketball players that came out of this program," said Stiles. "Growing up in Montana, it was obviously my dream to be playing here and as a point guard you want to be the leader on the floor and I've really enjoyed all of my teammates and they have made the role a lot easier and it's been a fun year.”