Same Destination, Different Journey

15 03 2011

Senior guard Stephanie Stender was named Conference Tournament MVP after averaging over 13 points and 7 rebounds a game.

March 15, 2011

Despite Montana’s rich history of NCAA appearances (18 coming into this season), much of this season didn’t look like another return was prominent for the ladies.

Sure they had some bright spots during the season.  The team rode the momentum from their upset over conference rival Montana State to a 6-game conference win streak during February.

By the season’s end however, their endeavors were not as successful.  The team dropped three of it’s final four conference games to close out the regular season, giving them a tough task as the #4 seed in the Big Sky Conference tournament.

But apparently nobody mentioned  anything about that difficulty to these girls… more likely they just didn’t care.  The team cruised past Idaho State 66-53, took care of Northern Colorado 55-46, and then held on in the championship 62-58 over #1 seed Portland State in Portland.

Reasons?

1. Head Coach Robin Selvig hasn’t won over 700 games by luck.

2. The freshmen (such as Lexie Nelson, Jordan Sullivan, and Torry Hill) have been surprisingly clutch and ready to play.

3.  Senior Stephanie Stender has been a consistent force for the team all season, and really took over some clutch/leadership roles in the conference tourney.

So what’s next? UCLA on Saturday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Spokane, WA.

The contest will follow the early game of Saturday’s two-game session between No. 6 Iowa (22-8) and No. 11 Gonzaga (28-4). The Hawkeyes and Bulldogs will play at 2 p.m. (MT).The first-round winners will meet Monday at 7:30 p.m. (MT) for the opportunity to advance to the round of 16.

Montana (18-14) is making its third appearance at the NCAA tournament in the last four years and the program’s 19th overall.

UCLA (27-4), one of the tournament’s at-large selections, lost to just two teams this season: LSU and Stanford.UCLA is making its second straight trip to the NCAA tournament and its 11th overall.





Grizzlies Favored to Win PAC-10

16 12 2010

Senior Brian Qvale scored a new career high against the Beavers with 27 points

December 16, 2010

Well okay… maybe that headline is getting a little carried away… but after going 2-0 against PAC-10 teams this season it certainly isn’t an unwarranted question (putting as at 3-1 against PAC-10 foes in the past two seasons). The UM mens basketball team took care of business at home last night against Oregon State 71-66 four a sixth win in our past eight games.

This win comes less than two weeks after Montana’s convincing 66-57 victory over UCLA in Pauley Pavillion.  To be honest, I’m not surprised at all by this early season successes.  When the Griz are playing well I don’t see many teams we can’t contend with.

Big man Brian Qvale is averaging over 15 points and 8 boards a game and is everything a coach can ask for as a defender and a leader.  Qvale is also posting an impressive 3.6 blocks per game (as he approaches the all-time conference and team records for career blocks).  Off the court he’s a great guy whom I had an opportunity to do a profile on earlier this month.  Qvale locks down the post-game and is probably the most valuable big man in the entire conference.

Meanwhile our point guard play out of sophomore Will Cherry hasn’t been too shabby either.  He only leads the nation in steals with 4.2 per game and leads the team in scoring with 16 ppg.  And he is a ridiculously good defender! I already gave you the steal numbers but he’s more than that.  In our zone defense he’s all over every opponent on the perimeter.  Last night against the Beavers he seemed to get a piece of a pass nearly every other time down the floor, and yet his crazy quickness comes with an equally impressive level of self control; he’s only averaging two personal fouls a game.  The only possible thing the team can ask for more of from Cherry would be his numbers at the charity stripe as he’s making just 62% of his free throws through the first ten games of the season.

The team as a whole is just a few free throws from posting an 8-2 record early on (close calls to Portland and San Francisco have us sitting at 6-4) and we’re still two weeks out from opening up conference play.  Keep your eyes on the Grizzlies… and a possible 2nd straight NCAA tournament appearance.





Grizzly Basketball Shocks UCLA

9 12 2010

December 8, 2010

Well the Montana Grizzlies are living up to their high expectations so far in this young basketball season… and what better way to continue doing so than to upset the UCLA Bruins in Pauley Pavillion?

That’s exactly what the Griz did this past weekend (Sunday December 5th).  Montana took a 4-point lead into halftime and led the rest of the way… finishing the game with a huge 66-57 win over the Bruins.  Sophomore point guard Will Cherry continued his early season brilliance with 18 points and 5 assists in the game.  Senior post Brian Qvale added 13 points and 10 boards for his seventh career double double.

The marquee victory was Montana’s first ever against UCLA in five total meetings.  The win marks the second time in just two years that the Griz have defeated a PAC-10 opponent on the road.  The win improves the squad to 4-3 on the year after early-season losses to tough teams in Nevada, Utah and Portland.

Cherry continues to impress.  The sophomore captain out of Oakland, California is averaging 17 points and a Big Sky best 3.3 steals per game in just his first season starting at the point guard position.  Meanwhile Qvale continues to look like the best post in the conference averaging 14.6 points and 8 boards a contest.





Grizzlies Advance to Semifinals

8 03 2010

March 6, 2010

Last night was a change in shooting scenery (I’d like to remind you that I use this term in relation to video cameras, not guns).  I had the opportunity to film the Montana Grizzlies Big Sky Tournament quarterfinal game against Northern Arizona.

First off, it was such a nice change in athleticism, as it’s much easier to shoot higher levels of basketball because the game is played much more fluid.  The play develops properly and thus it’s easier to follow the action within it.  Secondly, it was a pleasant change to be able to shoot the entirety of a game and not just pieces of it.  It’s easier to tell the story of a game with just a short highlight sequence when you’re able to see the whole game.  Thirdly, it was the largest magnitude of a basketball game I’ve shot as it was collegiate playoff action.  Finally, it was great because for the third time this season we kicked the crap out of NAU, winning 81-60.

The game was well in hand the whole way as Montana took an early double digit lead and never looked back.  Although Anthony Johnson was by-far the most prolific scorer in the game, registering 22 points on 8 of 12 shooting, the team was firing on all cylinders.  Freshman guard Will Cherry was just one board shy of a double-double with 11 points and 9 rebounds.  Raason Young hit double digits as well, dropping in 11 points after shooting 5-8 from the field.

Editing the highlights for the Griz games is always way more enjoyable.  A) Because there are always way more plays worthy of making the highlight sequence than in high school ball and B) because I get a full minute of highlights to show, making the process less restricting and allowing me to get in nearly every bucket I deem important and/or thrilling.

Following the victory, the Griz will face off against Northern Colorado on Tuesday, March 9th, in a Big Sky Tournament semifinal game.