Montana Lady Griz Boast Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year
The last time? The 2005-2006 season. And unlike the last time, the award isn't shared.
University of Montana Women's Sports Information Director Joel Carlson tells us that today (Thursday), it was announced that four Montana Lady Griz basketball players were honored by the Big Sky Conference, as the league announced its All-Big Sky teams and individual award winners.
In voting by the league’s coaches, Lady Griz point guard Mack Konig was named Freshman of the Year! Not since Mandy Morales was named a co-winner after the '06-'07 season has a Lady Griz player earned that award, and the sixth overall.
Mack (unless you're her dad, who prefers to call her Mackendra) was inserted into the starting lineup at point guard in late January. She had 21 points and six assists in her first game in that starting role. She averaged 10.2 points and 2.9 assists in 18 conference games, shot 41.2 percent from the 3-point line, and 90.3 percent from the free throw line.
Three other Lady Griz players also earned conference recognition. Forward Carmen Gfeller was named second team All-Big Sky, Sammy Fatkin third team and Gina Marxen honorable mention.
Gfeller was named All-Big Sky for the third time in three seasons. She is Montana’s first three-time All-Big Sky selection since Katie Baker. AND She will have a chance to become a four-time selection next season, as she has announced that she’ll return for one more year.
Sammy Fatkin received recognition for the first time in her career, as she averaged 12 points and a career-best 6.0 rebounds. She had games of 20 or more points seven times this season.
Regardless of how good a basketball player is (including being named the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year a few seasons back), when they take a year off from the sport, there's going to be some rust and readjusting. And Gina Marxen, who took a year off from basketball after leaving the University of Idaho's team and then transferring to Montana, found her stride during the conference season, enough so to earn a conference Honorable Mention.
Of those four recipients, only Sammy Fatkin has exhausted all of her eligibility. The other three players will be returning for the 2023-24 season.
The future is bright for Lady Griz basketball.
Here are all the team and individual honor recipients:
Most Valuable Player: Kahlaijah Dean, Sacramento State
Defensive Player of the Year: Jamie Loera, Eastern Washington
Newcomer of the Year: Kahlaijah Dean, Sacramento State
Top Reserve: Leia Beattie, Montana State
Freshman of the Year: Mack Konig, Montana
2022-23 All-Big Sky Conference Teams
Beyonce Bea, Idaho
Kahlaijah Dean, Sacramento State
Darian White, Montana State
Regan Schenck, Northern Arizona
Isnelle Natabou, Sacramento State
Carmen Gfeller, Montana
Kola Bad Bear, Montana State
Callie Bourne, Idaho State
Esmeralda Morales, Portland State
Montana Oltrogge, Northern Arizona
Jamie Loera, Eastern Washington
Jaydia Martin, Eastern Washington
Hannah Simental, Northern Colorado
Sammy Fatkin, Montana
Daryn Hickok, Weber State
Delaynie Bryne, Northern Colorado
Jacinta Buckley, Eastern Washington
Gina Marxen, Montana
Leia Beattie, Montana State
Laura Bello, Idaho State
Splash! Photos from the 2023 Polar Plunge in Missoula