UM’s Sullivan earns Big Sky honor

Montana senior Jordan Sullivan earned her first career Big Sky Conference Player of the Week award Monday after leading the Lady Griz to home wins last week over Idaho State and Weber State.

Sullivan averaged 15.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game while shooting 56.3 percent as Montana opened its four-game home stand with a pair of wins that moved the Lady Griz within one game in the loss column of the Big Sky Conference leaders.

In Thursday’s 67-48 victory over Idaho State, Sullivan finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. She went 5-for-7 from the floor, a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range and 4-for-5 from the line.

In Saturday’s 68-52 win over Weber State, Sullivan had 14 points and 11 rebounds, her fourth career double-double and third of the season. She added three blocks and stayed hot from the arc, going 2 for 3 from 3-point range.

All of which continued what Sullivan has been doing since the Lady Griz Classic in early December. Sullivan has scored in double figures in 11 of Montana’s last 12 games, and her shooting percentage of .588 through eight Big Sky games ranks second in the league.

Sullivan averaged 7.0 points on 36.2 percent shooting as a sophomore and 6.7 points on 37.2 percent shooting as a junior. This season she is averaging 13.3 points on 48.8 percent shooting and had 23- and 24-point games in back-to-back outings against Sacramento State and Eastern Washington.

“Jordan has come into her own and is really playing well in all areas,” UM coach Robin Selvig said. “She’s become more relaxed offensively and doesn’t force things. She lets her game come to her, which is a sign of experience.

“Jordan had been an inconsistent shooter throughout her career, but this year she’s shooting it really well and with a lot of confidence. That’s allowed her to become a more consistent scorer and made us a better scoring team.”

At 6-foot-2 and with a number of polished post moves, Sullivan is an effective interior scorer. Starting late last season she also has become a threat from 3-point range.

Her signature move has become the Sullivan Step-Back, in which she get a pass 19 feet from the basket, takes one retreat dribble to get both of her feet set behind the 3-point line and lets fly a shot that these days almost always seems to go in.

By going 5 for 6 from 3-point range in two games last week, Sullivan improved to 15 for 20 from the arc in Montana’s last seven games. Her 3-point shooting percentage of .640 in Big Sky games not surprisingly leads the league.

But there is more to Sullivan’s game than just being a scorer. She is averaging a career-high 7.3 boards per game and helping Montana lead the Big Sky in both scoring defense (60.5/g) and field goal percentage defense (.367).

She also hasn’t missed a game in her career and is on pace to play more games in a Lady Griz uniform than any player in program history.

“Jordan has always been someone who plays every possession with everything she has, and she has always done good things,” Selvig said. “Now she has a consistency in her game, and that’s allowed her to emerge as a heck of a player.”

With the midway point of the league schedule approaching, Montana is tied for third in the Big Sky standings at 5-3 with Sacramento State and Southern Utah. North Dakota leads the conference at 7-2, followed by Montana State at 6-2.

The Lady Griz host Southern Utah on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Montana State next Monday at 7 p.m.

— Montana Sports Information