The Lady Griz experienced a tumultuous two days from Friday up until Sunday, but they capped it off with a win against the College of Idaho Yotes, 61-33.
It wasn’t a pretty game offensively. Carmen Gfeller led the game in scoring with only 10 points, and Abby Anderson and Sophia Stiles each recorded three assists, also leading the game. As a whole, the Lady Griz shot a rough 31.7% from the field, including 27.3% from three. They also committed 19 turnovers.
However, what Montana lacked in offense, it made up for on the defensive end. The Yotes were held to shooting 22.2% from the field and 15% from three. Montana forced 24 turnovers and recorded seven blocks along with 18 steals, four of which were recorded by Stiles. Madi Schoening pulled down seven of the team’s 51 rebounds, 15 more than the Yutes grabbed at 36.
This wasn’t originally the team the Lady Griz were set to face, as a game scheduled for Saturday against the Division III Whitworth Pirates was canceled on Friday due to COVID-19 issues in Whitworth’s program. The men’s game went on as planned at 2:00 p.m., and around 3:00, it was announced that the Yotes, an NAIA school based in Caldwell, Idaho, would make the seven hour bus ride to Missoula for a last minute matchup.
“You don’t ever get used to it,” coach Mike Petrino said when asked about the ease in which things have changed this year. “This summer I kept saying we’ve gotta plan, prepare, pivot. And I think lately we’ve been pivoting so much I’m starting to get dizzy.”
Petrino was thankful to both schools for figuring out a way to make this game happen.
“It was fun to play someone new… It’s better to do this than practice each other. We’ve gotten enough of those in. we needed some game experience.” This was only the Lady Griz’ seventh game this season. The Whitworth game was the fourth canceled matchup so far after two games against Southern Utah and a game against Utah Valley were called.
As of right now, Montana is set to play two games against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on January 14th and 16th. The 5-5 Lumberjacks are 4th in the Big Sky Conference and will provide a competitive matchup against the 7th ranked Lady Griz.