BOZEMAN – After leading Montana State to a historic 2019-20 Big Sky Conference season, coach Tricia Binford was chosen the league’s Coach of the Year on Monday.
The award is Binford’s second – she was also honored after the 2015-16 season – but only the third in the history of the MSU program. This year’s Bobcats finished the league season with a 19-1 record, the most wins and second-highest winning percentage in conference history, and enter the Big Sky tournament later this week with a 23-6 record.
Since dropping a home game on Jan. 9 the Cats have won 15 consecutive games, and MSU’s scoring margin in league games of plus-17.8 is more than 5 1/2 points per game better than any Big Sky team has managed in the last decade.
Binford joins several of her players as special awards honorees. Senior forward Fallyn Freije earned Big Sky Player of the Year honors, guard Darian White is the Freshman of the Year, and junior guard Tori Martell is the conference’s Top Reserve.
Montana State’s career leader in coaching victories (251) and games coached (453), Binford joins Judy Spoelstra (1992-93) as the only Bobcat to win coach of the year honorees. Montana State’s 23 wins is two shy of the program record, set by Binford’s Big Sky regular season and tournament championship team in 2016-17, which made the program’s second appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Binford and the Bobcats begin tournament play at noon Tuesday against the Northern Colorado-Sacramento State winner in Boise, Idaho.