MISSOULA — After playing the best games of her brief college career at Northern Arizona Saturday and Sacramento State Monday, Montana sophomore forward Abby Anderson has been named Big Sky Conference Player of the Week.
The sophomore went into Saturday’s game in Flagstaff, Arizona, averaging 5.6 points and 3.0 rebounds through the season’s first nine games. She was barely taking five shots per outing.
But she scored 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting as Montana led from start to finish in its 79-71 win at Northern Arizona. And then there were the career-high nine rebounds.
Two days later, Anderson hit her first seven shots and finished with 20 points as Montana won 64-60 at Sacramento State. And don’t forget about the eight rebounds.
For the road trip, Anderson averaged a team-best 17.5 points on 65 percent shooting and 8.5 rebounds.
“We’ve seen it in her, in glimpses here and there. It’s been one of those things where you wait for them to finally emerge and get some confidence,” UM coach Shannon Schweyen said.
“It’s amazing what that can do for somebody. She has just thrived now that she has earned the opportunity to be out there playing. She is making the most of it.”
Anderson scored just 52 points last season as a redshirt freshman despite playing in 29 of 30 games. When she stepped onto the court for her limited minutes, her role was to block shots and distribute the ball out of the post.
“She’s always been a great defender, so it’s been exciting to watch her offensive skills and her confidence come along,” said Schweyen.
“She’s very athletic. She can jump and she’s getting better at scoring with contact. She’s starting to learn how to go after it. If she doesn’t have an easy shot, she’s going to go create something.”
Montana now has seven players averaging at least 7.7 points per game and has seven rotation players who have a career high of at least 20 points.
Anderson is now a part of both groups.
“Having one more weapon in there makes us really tough to defend, because now you have one more player who can step up and pick up some slack,” said Schweyen. “It’s always nice to have multiple weapons.”