Posted: Jan 16, 2013 2:00 PM by Derek Buerkle - KPAX Sports
Updated: Jan 16, 2013 2:01 PM
MISSOULA - Through a dozen total conference games, University of Montana basketball has won 11 times.
While the men's and women's teams are both tied for first place in the Big Sky, they're winning in different ways.
The ladies are doing most of their dominance on the defensive end, and rank second in the league in points allowed.
Robin Selvig's crew stepped it up even one more notch last week, forcing 41 combined turnovers against North Dakota and Northern Colorado, while also allowing only allowed 25 made shots.
The performance has even impressed the Lady Griz.
"We watched film yesterday. Just seeing it all in action. Cause when you're out there you're just kind of worried about yourself. But seeing the whole thing come together, like holding Northern Colorado, which is a good team, to 11 points at half is, you know, you couldn't ask for anything better than that. You know, North Dakota, put them in 20-some turnovers. I mean, that's unreal," forward Katie Baker said.
"That's one thing we've been doing is taking care of the ball, and actually forcing quite a few turnovers this year. I just think our defense has been solid. And obviously that's been the most consistent part of our game," Selvig observed.
Meanwhile, the men's offensive efficiency has led the way more often than not. But the Griz have also developed a talent for turning it on whenever they need to.
Montana only led by two at halftime at North Dakota, but then won going away, pushing the lead all the way up to 22 at one point.
The Griz then dug a 15-point hole in the opening minutes at Northern Colorado, but had come all the way back to take the lead by halftime.
The maroon and silver admit they can't continue that trend, but it's nice to know they can always make a comeback.
"Every team I've been on since I've been here, like we feel like we're going to win the game no matter how much we get down. It's not good. Obviously we don't want to play like that. But I mean, I think that just shows a lot about the coaching staff. The way they coach us. And it shows a lot about the players on this team, that we'll never give up," guard/forward Kareem Jamar said.
"This is one of the more I guess flamboyant groups that I think I've had since I've been a head coach. But [they've] showed a lot of resiliency. We always write that on the board - resiliency on offense, be relentless on defense," coach Wayne Tinkle told us.
The schedule for the men continues on Thursday night, when Big Sky newcomer Southern Utah makes a trip to Missoula. And then it's time for one of the most anticipated days of the season tips-off on Saturday. The Lady Griz host rival Montana State at 3 p.m. Dahlberg Arena while the men renew their rivalry at 7 p.m.