GREAT FALLS – Legendary University of Montana girls’ basketball coach Robin Selvig wasn’t a fan of flashy nicknames or eye-catching logos. In his 38 years as the head coach of one of the top hoops programs in the country, Selvig has only 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 have 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 assigned to Selvig’s team in 1993-94 – not because it was his most successful team, or his most talented team, or even his most exciting team.
The name has managed to stick over the years because it was… well, it was true.
“It was the only team (that I coached) that consisted of all Montana kids,” Selvig said recently.
He retired from UM after the 2015-16 season, but he still answers all kinds of questions about Lady Griz and their historic program.
“I didn’t think of the Made In Montana theme,” Selvig insisted. “I think it came from the people (UM Athletics) in charge of the (promotional) poster that year. He (poster) had the whole team in their high school lettering jackets.
There were 16 young women in the Lady Griz program, 13 of whom saw the action. Three other Montanais – injured senior center Jill Frohlich from Missoula and two freshmen in red shirts – made it 16 for 16.
Ann Lake (Rausch) was one of those Montana athletes and one of the best players Selvig coached in the decade of the 90s. Hailing from Missoula, the 6ft Lake started all 30 games over the course of the decade. the 1993-94 season and was named the Big Sky co-MVP with Montana State‘s Cass Bauer (Bilodeau).
Rausch still lives in Missoula with her husband and two sons, and she always follows Lady Griz when she has time. She certainly hasn’t forgotten her Made In Montana team, although she admits the details are a bit hazy.
“The poster was fun, but I think we took two photos and the second one, with the girls in their old high school jackets, was the one they used,” Rausch said. “I think the idea came 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 represented.
“The logo didn’t mean much, but the fact that our team were able to compete at a high national level with all the players in Montana made me very proud, and still do,” he said. she declared.
There were nine other teams in Selvig’s career that finished better than the 93-94 team’s 25-5 mark. 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 powers Tennessee, Stanford and Gonzaga, as well as rivals Big. Sky, Boise State, and Montana State.
“Tennessee was No. 1 in the country and I think Stanford was in the top four when we lost to them (66-62) in the NCAA,” Rausch recalls.
The Lady Griz campaign of 1992-93 was solid and Rausch believed good things were going to happen. As a junior, Lady Griz was 23-5, and Minnesota native Joy Anderson was the only non-Montanaise on the list.
“We knew that with the return of the players 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 from Fairfield and Trish Olson from Missoula shared primary duties in this position.
A solid bench was led by sharpshooter Carla Beattie of Philipsburg and first-year all-round 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 Le Havre.
Frohlich would have been in the regular rotation, but she injured her knee in the preseason.
Langton and Pilcher were named to the Big Sky squad with Lake, and Brooks was named the league’s top defenseman.
“I can’t choose a favorite team,” said Selvig. “I liked them all. It was certainly one of the best performing teams. Having two teams in the NCAA tournament outside of Big Sky was quite an accomplishment for the league. Boise was really good and we had some great games with them.
That season, Lady Griz was ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 12 consecutive weeks, reaching the highest ranking of No.17. This team also set an attendance record at Dahlberg Arena, attracting 5,123 fans per match while winning the home 17. 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 this 93-94 team were deep, versatile and selfless, Selvig said.
“It was definitely one of our most balanced teams,” said Selvig, who ended his career as the most successful coach in NCAA women’s basketball history. “Depth in every position. Different players have spent great evenings throughout the year. It has made us a difficult team to face and defend.
Selvig, who has always focused on strong defense, said his team enjoy knocking out talented opponents.
“The team were 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.”
Back then, it was the Made In Montana way.