GREAT FALLS — Legendary University of Montana women’s basketball coach Robin Selvig was not a fan of flashy nicknames or catchy logos. In his 38 years as the head coach of one of the nation’s top hoop programs, Selvig has called his team by one name.
But that hasn’t stopped other basketball fans from trying to attach colorful nicknames to Selvig’s teams, who won 865 games during his Hall of Fame career, including 23 league championships. , 21 at the Big Sky Conference.
One of those nicknames was ‘Made In Montana’, which was given to Selvig’s team in 1993-94 – not because it was his winningest team, or his most talented team, or even his most exciting team.
The name managed to stick over the years because it was…well, it was true.
“It was the only team (I’ve coached) made up entirely of kids from Montana,” Selvig said recently.
He retired from UM after the 2015-16 season, but he still answers all kinds of questions about the Lady Griz and their legendary program.
“I didn’t think of the Made In Montana theme,” Selvig insisted. “I believe it came from the (UM Athletics) people in charge of the (promotional) poster that year. He (poster) had the whole team in their high school letter jackets.
There were 16 young women in the Lady Griz program, 13 of whom saw action. Three other Montanans — injured senior center Jill Frohlich of Missoula and two redshirt freshmen — made 16 of 16.
Ann Lake (Rausch) was one of those Montana athletes and one of the best players Selvig coached during the decade of the 1990s. A native of Missoula, the 6-foot Lake started all 30 games during in the 1993-94 season and was named co-MVP of the Big Sky along with Cass Bauer (Bilodeau) of Montana State.
Rausch still lives in Missoula with her husband and two sons, and she still follows Lady Griz when she has time. She certainly hasn’t forgotten about her Made In Montana team, though she admits the details are a little hazy.
“The poster thing was fun but I think we took two pictures and the second, with the girls in their old high school jackets, was the one they used,” Rausch said. “I think the idea may have come from Linda McCarthy of the Sports Information Service,” she added.
The Lady Griz Hall of Famer said the Made In Montana theme was not as important as what it stood for.
“The logo didn’t mean much, but the fact that our team was able to compete at a high national level with all the Montana players made me very proud, and it still does,” he said. she stated.
There were nine other teams in Selvig’s career that finished better than the 25-5 mark posted by the 1993-94 team. The 1987-88 team won 28 games, as did the 2008-09 club.
But perhaps no UM team has faced a tougher schedule than during Lake’s senior season, when Lady Griz lost to national powerhouses Tennessee, Stanford and Gonzaga, as well as rivals from Big Sky, Boise State and Montana State.
“Tennessee was No. 1 in the nation and I think Stanford was in the top four when we lost to them (66-62) in the NCAA,” Rausch recalled.
The 1992-93 Lady Griz campaign was solid and Rausch believed good things were coming. When she was a junior, the Lady Griz went 23-5, and Minnesota native Joy Anderson was the only non-Montanese on the roster.
“We knew that with the players back we would be good…but I don’t know if we knew we could compete at such a high level,” she said.
Other starters were small forward Kristy Langton-Schlimgen of Stevensville and guards Sherri Brooks of Livingston and Kelly Pilcher of Missoula. Jodi Hinrichs of Fairfield and Trish Olson of Missoula shared the main duties of the position.
A strong bench was led by outside sniper Carla Beattie of Philipsburg and versatile freshman striker Greta Koss of Malta. Other contributors were Malia Kipp from Browning, Lora Morast from Kalispell, Kristin Omlid from Stevensville, Dawn Sievers from Miles City and April Sather from Havre.
Frohlich would have been in the regular rotation but injured her knee in a preseason game.
Langton and Pilcher were named to Big Sky’s all-team squad with Lake, and Brooks was named the league’s top defenseman.
“I can’t pick a favorite team,” Selvig said. “I loved them all. It was definitely one of the most successful teams. Having two teams in the NCAA Tournament off the Big Sky was quite an accomplishment for the league. Boise was really good and we had some great games with them.
That season, the Lady Griz were ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 12 consecutive weeks, reaching a best ranking of No. 17. That team also set an attendance record at Dahlberg Arena, drawing 5,123 fans per game while winning all 17 home games. Games.
There were no dominant 20-point scorers like Shannon Cate or Mandy Morales, and no prolific 3-point threats like Katie Edwards or Sonya Rogers. But that 93-94 team was deep, versatile and selfless, Selvig said.
“It was definitely one of our most balanced teams,” said Selvig, who finished her career as the eighth-winningest coach in NCAA women’s basketball history. “Depth in every position. Different players have had great nights throughout the year. This made us a difficult team to prepare and defend.
Selvig, who has always emphasized strong defense, said his team likes to stop talented opponents.
“The team was very good defensively and did a great job in our game with Stanford…gave us a real chance to win on their home turf.
“They thought they could compete with anyone and they proved it.”
At the time, it was the Made In Montana method.