Montana Lady Griz
| MESSAGE BOARD
RECORD: 27 - 5
REGION: Mideast SEED: 12
COACH: Robin Selvig CONFERENCE: Big Sky
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
|PLAYER TO WATCH|
The 5-foot-5 senior point guard has been breaking records all season. On Jan. 31, she became the Montana career assists leader, then took over the Big Sky's all-time mark on Feb. 28. Lorenzen, who averages 6.9 points and a team-high 33.3 minutes per game, has dished out more than 675 career assists, including more than 225 this season (a school and league single-season record). The Big Sky Player of the Year leads the league with 7.7 assists (fifth in the nation) and a 4.04 assist-to-turnover ratio.
ANALYSIS BY ESPN'S STACEY DALES-SCHUMAN
The accolades and recognition just keep rolling in for the Montana Lady Griz. Earlier this month, coach Robin Selvig became the sixth-fastest coach to reach 600 wins, placing him among the distinguished elite of women's hoops. Selvig is deeply passionate about the game, and boasts a team that presents a balanced attack and as deep a bench as you'll find.
They're led by Big Sky Player of the Year Brooklynn Lorenzen, a savvy point guard. Although not granted the luxury of tremendous national recognition for her efforts, Lorenzen has done a remarkable job running the Lady Griz. She's ranked in the top five of women's hoops with eight assists per game, but what's better is her ability to protect the precious leather -- she tops the Big Sky with an outstanding 4.04 assist-to-turnover ratio. A 33-minute gamer, Lorenzen is the mighty heart of the Lady Griz.
Despite an excellent backcourt, Montana has heavy weight thrust inside with 6-foot-3 junior Hollie Tyler and 6-4 junior Crystal Baird. Tyler, the starting center who was named the Big Sky co-Defensive Player of the Year, averages 13 points and seven boards. She has a wonderfully pure stroke that's especially effective because she knows how to keep the ball high and locked in the vice grip.
The beauty of Selvig's inside game is that when he substitutes one of his bigs, he doesn't lose anything. The 6-4 Baird comes off the bench, but if you're the opposition, you'd better hope her turn-around jumper isn't falling. It can cause some serious damage.
Still, perhaps the best story belongs to senior multi-talent Julie Deming, who along with Lorenzen and Tyler was named to the All-Big Sky Conference team. After redshirting last season to injury, Deming is carrying the team with almost 14 points, five boards and 2.5 assists. An excellent vocal trooper, she has really put Montana over the edge in terms of balance and depth. Montana is so deep this season that Selvig can make changes at any spot with virtually no drop-off.
One of the Lady Griz trademarks through the years has been their sound team defense, predominantly in the form of zone. You can typically find Montana in the top 10 of women's hoops, with a scoring defense that holds foes to slightly fewer than 55 points and just 36 percent accuracy from the field. Whether zone or player-to-player, as Selvig's club will occasionally use, the opposition always has to go through a 6-3 big who is patiently waiting and drooling for the picture-perfect blocked shot. Just another reason the Lady Griz went undefeated in conference play this year.
Above all, Montana is a team that makes good decisions. Since the Lady Griz have excellent leadership, they tend not to turn the ball over and, in fact, are second in the nation averaging just 12 giveaways.
An important element to Montana's chances is its ability to stroke a nationally recognized 38 percent from downtown. When you have power and size inside, coupled with efficient perimeter play, you have an air of balance that can be extremely troublesome to defend.
Having competed in a relatively tough nonconference schedule against the likes of Texas, Oregon, Memphis and Utah, be prepared for the Lady Griz to step out of Big Sky hibernation.