Claire Lundberg named Big Sky Newcomer of the Year, Squires earns 3rd team honors

(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)

BOISE, Idaho – Montana State senior Claire Lundberg and junior Oliana Squires were each named to the All-Big Sky Conference Third-Team on Monday morning, the Big Sky office announced. In addition, Lundberg was named the league’s newcomer of the year.

Lundberg, playing in her only season in the Blue and Gold after transferring from Seton Hall two years ago, made her presence felt in the Big Sky Conference despite playing just 21 games overall and eleven in league action. The Andover, Minn., native was MSU’s leading scorer averaging 17 points per game when she went down with a season-ending knee injury against Northern Colorado of Feb. 4.

Lundberg logged 356 points, including 51 3-pointers. In addition, she shot 43 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from long distance and 86.8 percent from the free throw line. Lundberg was in double-figure scoring in 18-of-21 games, including seven with 20 points or more. She garnered Big Sky Conference Player of the Week kudos as MSU defeated Delaware and Texas State in the WNIT. Lundberg posted a career-high 28 points against the Blue Hens.

“I’m thankful that the Big Sky Conference coaches recognized the impact Claire had on our program and the league despite her short chapter,” said MSU head coach Tricia Binford. “She had an immediate presence both on and off the floor. She really accomplished a lot in a shortened season and really proved herself as a versatile threat hitting big shots when we needed them the most.”

Lundberg joins former Bobcat standouts Rebecca Alvidrez, Brandi Lewis, Rebecca Mercer and Riley Nordgaard as recipients of the Big Sky’s outstanding newcomer award.

Squires, who moved from the shooting guard role into running the point for the Bobcats, has put together a solid season for the Bobcats. The Colorado Springs product is averaging 11.1 points and 3.8 assists per game. Squires has also connected on 44 triples and leads the team shooting 91.8 percent from the line. She has been in double-digit scoring in 18-of-30 games, including a career-high 23 points in MSU’s win over Sacramento State on March. 7.

“Oli has really evolved into a playmaker this season,” Binford said. “When the ball is in her hands great things happen. Moving from the shooting guard spot to the point was beneficial to our success. Her scoring output has increased and when she is distributing the ball, it puts us in a great position for success.”

MSU opens Big Sky Conference Tournament action on Tuesday, March 12 at 2:30 p.m., against Portland State in CenturyLink Arena.

Nick Petraccione

Nick Petraccione

Nick is the Sports Director at KBZK and KXLF in Butte and Bozeman, Montana. He attended Syracuse University and moved to Montana in 2017.
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