NEXT UP: Montana State travels to former Big Sky Conference foe North Dakota on Sunday, Nov. 19 for an 11 a.m. (MT) tip against the Fighting Hawks in The Betty Englestad Sioux Center in Grand Forks. The game begins a series of six contests played away from the warm confines of Worthington Arena. Following its game at UND, the Bobcats will travel to Cancun, Mexico where it faces New Mexico and James Madison in the Cancun Challenge at the Hard Rock Hotel Riveria Maya on Thursday and Friday, respectively.
A LITTLE ABOUT MSU: Montana State is coming off its first victory of the season with a 62-49 win over San Jose State on Tuesday. Senior Katelynn Limardo led three Bobcats in double-figures with 17 points connecting on five-of-11 from the field, four-of-seven from long distance, and three-of-four at the line. In addition, the Silver City, N.M. native recorded six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Also in double-digits were Natalie Picton 12, and Madison Hall 10.
A LITTLE ABOUT UND: The Fighting Hawks are 1-2 on the season after picking up its first victory with an 80-47 decision over Concordia College on Wednesday. UND dropped its first two games against Wyoming and Grand Canyon. Senior Kacie Borowicz was named the Summit League Player of the Week after pouring in 29 points at Wyoming, followed by 20 points and five steals vs. GCU. For the week, she averaged 24.5 points per game.
COMPETITIVE SLATE: Montana State faces eleven opponents that advanced to postseason play during the 2022-23 campaign, including seven programs the recorded 20-win seasons, as part of its 2023-24 schedule. The Bobcats host BYU in its first regular-season contest Nov. 7, which is slated as Montana State’s annual School Day game. Following an away contest at Pac-12 opponent Arizona State, the Bobcats return to the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse for a game against San Jose State (Nov. 14). MSU then plays the first of three Summit League opponents when it travels to North Dakota, Nov. 19. Following its tilt with the Fighting Hawks, the Bobcats fly to Mexico to take part in the Cancun Challenge where it faces James Madison and New Mexico Nov. 23-24. The Bobcats open December with road games at Portland, Dec. 2, Washington, Dec. 5, and Saint Mary’s, Dec. 8. Prior to the Christmas break, MSU hosts Wyoming, Dec. 17, and North Texas, Dec. 21. Following a seven-day hiatus the Bobcats open Big Sky play at home against Idaho State, Dec. 29, and Weber State, Dec. 31. MSU’s final non-conference contests are part of the Big Sky-Summit League Challenge. The Bobcats host North Dakota State, Jan. 3, before facing South Dakota State, Jan. 6 in Brookings. The annual Cat-Griz games are slated for Bozeman, Jan. 20, and Missoula, Feb. 17. The eleven opponents advancing to postseason play last winter include: NCAA- James Madison, Portland, South Dakota State, and Sacramento State; WNIT- BYU, New Mexico, Wyoming, North Dakota State, Northern Arizona, and Washington; WBI- North Dakota. MSU’s best win last year was a 71-66 decision over South Dakota State in Worthington Arena. The Jackrabbits advanced to the second-round of the NCAA tournament and went 29-6 overall and 18-0 in Summit League action. SDSU’s six losses came to MSU, #3 South Carolina, #4 Virginia Tech, #13 UCLA, Wash. State and Creighton.
THE MORE YOU KNOW: The Montana State women’s basketball team has won the Big Sky Conference regular season or tournament title – or both – in six of the most recent eight seasons. The Bobcats have posted five of the program’s eight 20-win seasons in the last eight years, as well.
DYK: The Bobcats lead the Big Sky in free throw shooting after the opening two weeks of play, hitting at an 81% (47-58) clip. Individually, Katelynn Limardo guides MSU shooting 89.5% (17-19) from the line.
KEEP FEEDIN’ DEDEN: Lexi Deden, a 6-1 senior from Missoula, is averaging 8.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Deden made her 31st career start against San Jose State on Tuesday, and tallied eight points, six rebounds, and four steals in the victory. The Deden name is familiar in Montana basketball circles. Her mother Dawn (Silliker) played at Montana from 1984-88. At UM, Silliker was a 1,000-point scorer and was an all-Mountain West pick. In addition, Lexi’s aunt and former head coach at Sentinel High in Missoula, Karen Deden, was a standout at Washington and is in the Husky Hall of Fame. As a freshman, Deden had a career-high 22 points vs. Northern Arizona.
ALL JACKED UP: Madison (Jackson) Hall played in 29 games, including 16 starts last season. Over the summer, she married Brayden Hall, a former MSU men’s basketball manager. Last winter, Hall tallied a season-best 12 points on two occasions, the last coming against Northern Colorado on Jan. 5. Against the Bears, Jackson connected on 5-6 from the field, with two triples. For the season, she averaged 5.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. As a sophomore, Jackson had a career-high 20 points against Idaho State. On Tuesday night against San Jose State, Hall tallied 10 points on four-of-nine shotting, including a pair of three-pointers. The Parma, Idaho product also hauled down three rebounds.
OH CANADA: Marah Dykstra has started 13-of-32 games as a Bobcat is currently averaging 10 points and 5.7 rebounds per outing. Last winter, the native of Vancouver, B.C., Canada averaged 3.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per contest, while shooting 38.2% from the field and 80.5% (33-41) from the free throw line. This season, Dykstra had her best outing of the season at Arizona State on Nov. 10, recording 17 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Against the Sun Devils, she also went 8-9 at the line. On Tuesday night against San Jose State, Dykstra registered seven points and six rebounds, while dishing out three assists. Last summer, Dykstra, a 6-2 forward, played for Team Canada at the 2023 FIBA U19 World Cup in Madrid, Spain, July 15-23. During this year’s offseason she navigated a year-long process and survived two rounds of cuts to make the final 12-player roster. Five players returned to the squad from the 2022 U18 Canadian team that competed in the Women’s Americas Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of which Dykstra was a member. Team Canada cruised through pool play, defeating China 83-62, Czech Republic 66-61, Egypt 100-44, and Brazil 89-45. Dykstra averaged seven rebounds per game, the second-best mark of any athlete in opening round action. Dykstra finished World Cup play averaging 23.1 minutes, while chipping in 4.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
THE PRIDE OF ROSEMOUNT: Taylor Janssen played in all 30 games and averaged 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per outing last season for the Bobcats. Janssen notched a season-high 11 points against Northern Arizona on Jan. 7. Against the Lumberjacks, she went 3-of-6 from the field, hit one 3-pointer and was 4-of-4 at the line. Janssen pulled down a season-high seven rebounds against Providence (MT) in the season-opener. As a freshman, the 6-3 product of Rosemount, Minn., connected on 20 straight free throws before finally missing a charity toss against Weber State. Janssen came up short of the all-time Bobcat record of 25 set by Rebecca Mercer during the 2007-08 season. On Tuesday night against San Jose State, she recorded six points on a pair of three-pointers. Janssen also dished out three assists in the victory.
WIN 300: With its 75-60 win over Weber State on Feb. 9, MSU head coach Tricia Binford notched her 309th career win, moving her past former Weber State bench boss Carla Taylor (308 -23 years). With MSU’s 92-84 victory at Eastern Washington on Dec. 31, 2022, Binford became just the third coach in Big Sky history to record 300 wins- all coming as a member of the league. Binford is second to Montana’s Robin Selvig (865, 38 years). In Big Sky play, Binford is second to Selvig (358) with 197 victories. Binford is MSU’s winningest coach – men/women. This season marks Binford’s 19th with the Bobcat program. She is currently 313-234 overall and 197-118 in BSC play.
A FEW MORE NOTES: *Over the past seven seasons, the Bobcats have claimed three Big Sky regular season titles 2016, 2017, 2020; two Big Sky Conference Tournament titles 2017, 2022; made two NCAA appearances 2017, 2022; and one WNIT appearance 2016. *In the last five seasons, no Big Sky Conference team has won more league games than the Bobcats. Montana State has racked up 70 victories in Big Sky play since the 2019-20 season. The Bobcats are followed by Idaho (65) and Idaho State (64).