MISSOULA — Sammy Fatkin crashed into her assistant coach and flashed an awkward smile.

That's the Maroon-Silver scrimmage in a nutshell. Sort of fun but a little quirky, with a trio of young men joining in on the action along with assistant coach Jordy Sullivan, who volunteered to fill out lineups in the second half Tuesday at Dahlberg Arena.

In the end, the Montana women's basketball team gave a healthy turnout of fans plenty of reasons to be excited heading into the 2019-20 season. The Lady Griz have a wealth of confident, experienced players and a good number of capable shooters who flashed their skills.

Montana shot a combined 45.5 percent from the floor (45 for 101) in the scrimmage. That was the most promising statistic of all, with Sammy Fatkin tallying a game-high 19 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

"I thought there were some good things," Montana coach Shannon Schweyen said. "Obviously defensively we've got a long ways to go as far as playing with the kind of intensity we need to play with.

"But this (scrimmage) is always good. It gets you in a game environment and you get a little bit of the butterflies out and get to see what it's like to play in front of a crowd a little bit."

Fatkin might just be the smoothest player on the Lady Griz. She has an offensive skill set that includes a sweet shooting stroke and a knack for finding open teammates with easy-to-catch passes.

She's added to her offensive repertoire a faster release on her shot. But mostly she's been focusing on being more assertive defensively.

"I think when you start good on defense, offense kind of comes more easy," said the junior, who transferred from the University of Arizona prior to last season.

"When I'm being an active defender, I'm able to be more patient on offense."

Schweyen wants Fatkin, who also collected a game-high five steals Tuesday, to use her length to her advantage defensively.

"We always tell her to be getting after it and getting deflections," the coach said. "When you're a 6-foot point guard, you should have an advantage there."

Fatkin was one of five Montana players to score in double figures as the Maroon team beat the Silver team, 58-53. The others included guards Taylor Goligoski with 13 points, Jordyn Schweyen 12 and McKenzie Johnston and Sophia Stiles 10 apiece. Schweyen was 4 for 5 from 3-point range.

True freshman forward Jamie Pickens of Helena made her unofficial debut for the Lady Griz and finished with eight points on 2-for-8 shooting from the floor and 4-for-4 shooting from the free-throw line.

"It's one of those things you come out of it and watch the video and see a lot of things you have to work on," coach Schweyen said. "We're ready to play somebody new now. You get tired competing against each other. They've been going against each other since the summertime."

The only Lady Griz who did not dress for the game was redshirt junior guard Madi Schoening. She is nursing a minor injury, according to coach Schweyen, and was held out as a precautionary measure.

Montana will play host to Lewis-Clark State on Friday in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. at Dahlberg Arena. The Lady Griz will play Carroll in a second exhibition next Tuesday before making their official season debut at home against MSU Northern on Nov. 5.

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Bill Speltz is in his 13th year as Missoulian Sports Columnist. He also guides the sports dept., scheduling day-to-day coverage. Do you have a story idea? Email Bill at bill.speltz@missoulian.com.

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