Looking aheadUniversity senior Kayleigh Valley, a versatile 6-foot guard/wing, signed with the Grizzlies last fall. She was named the Greater Spokane League’s most valuable player, and she learned this week that she’s been named the 3A player of the year by the Washington State Girls Basketball Coaches Association. The Grizzlies lose four seniors, three of whom start. Montana coach Robin Selvig was asked about Valley on Friday. “We’re pretty excited about her,” Selvig said. “She’s the kind of player we like to get. She’s a versatile kid. She could play inside, play a lot of different places at our place. She’s also a young lady that really competes and will be good on both ends of the floor. We’re very excited about her chance to be a heck of a player.” Valley averaged 16.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 54 percent from the field to lead U-Hi to a second straight trip to state.
Top of the lineIowa State has shot 80.2 percent from the free-throw line, tops in the nation, including 56 for 62 in their last four games. “For our team, it’s been a way that we need to manufacture points,” Fennelly said. “We’re not going to turn you over. So we’ve got to figure out a way to score the ball. For us, the free-throw situation has been something that we’ve taken great pride in.” GU has shot 62.5 percent from the line, but that figure is a bit misleading because starters Sunny Greinacher, Taelor Karr and Jazmine Redmon have all shot at least 74.5 percent. “The kids who are in the game, you look at their free-throw percentages, they’re a little better than you might think,” Graves said. “(But it’s) definitely been an issue this year. What do you do about them? We make them in practice.”
It’s been a whileThe Grizzlies haven’t won a first-round game since 1994-95. The Grizzlies have lost 10 straight since then. They’re 0-2 as a 14th seed and 2-12 seeded 12th or higher. “I am aware of that,” Montana senior forward Alyssa Smith said. “We’re going to come in and play as hard as we can no matter what. We can’t let not making it to the second round in over 15 years get to us. It’s not something we need to focus on or even really think about. All we can focus on and all we can control is how hard we play.”
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