University of Montana women’s basketball coach Robin Selvig scoffed at my question.

St. Mary’s was on its way to Missoula to play the Lady Griz in a non-conference game in December of 1996.

Were the players thinking about a 57-50 loss to the same team a year earlier in Moraga, California?

Absolutely not, Selvig said. That game is in the past, and it was the furthest thing from the mind of his players. 

While I suspected he was giving me a line of total B.S., the coach went on to say that he does not even think that his players remember that they played St. Mary’s a year earlier. It was a different season, a different team and a different game. (Click here for the podcast version of this column.)

I asked the question because I was working on a game preview story for The Montana Kaimin, the student newspaper at UM.

About 15 seconds after I was done talking with Coach Selvig, I walked up to Skyla Sisco, UM’s electrifying point guard.

She did not hear what her coach just told me.

“Hey Skyla,” I said. “Big game coming up.”

“Yeah,” Skyla said. “There’s a little revenge in the air. We just want them to know that how we played last year isn’t the best we can play.”

It was vintage Skyla. If she watched the movie Bull Durham, she never paid attention to Crash’s talk about how to handle the media. She always spoke from her heart, and she always spoke the truth.

That was one of my many favorite characteristics about the 5-foot-7 Lady Griz guard. The former Malta star did not get the memo that she was supposed to give bland quotes to reporters.

Two days later, Skyla scored eight points and dished six assists as the Lady Griz pasted St. Mary’s 74-47 in front of 4,002 fans at Dahlberg Arena.

Revenge enacted. Message sent.

At the time, Skyla was my favorite player for the Lady Griz. More than a quarter of a century later, she still is.

She was pretty much the reason I was covering the Lady Griz instead of the Gentlemen Griz, as I like to call them.

I first watched her play as a redshirt freshman during the 1994-95 season. It was my first year at UM, and I did not know I had to get to the arena 2 hours early to get a seat in the student section for big games.

So, I watched Skyla and the Lady Griz play NCAA powerhouse Tennessee from the Bob Uecker seats at Dahlberg Arena.

Skyla came off the bench and scored 11 points and dropped four assists. She was young, and she committed six turnovers, but she proved to the world that night that she belonged in that game.

She was a crowd favorite, too. Every time she scored a bucket or made an eye-popping pass, a group of 10 or so guys in the student section stood up and gave the “we’re not worthy” motion and chant from Wayne’s World.

Skyla was not intimidated by Tennessee nor the Volunteers’ coach, Pat Summitt, perhaps the greatest coach in the history of the sport.

From my nosebleed seats, I thought Skyla was the best player on the floor that night. She was definitely the most entertaining to watch. She just oozed spunk, and her confidence was off the charts.

It was so much fun to watch.

Skyla and the Griz nearly pulled off the upset, too, falling 66-61 to a Tennessee team that fell to Connecticut in the national championship game less than four months later. The Vols started a string of three straight championships the next season.

Summitt never scheduled Montana again. I figured she wanted no part of Skyla Sisco.

For the next four seasons, Skyla shined for the Lady Griz. When she played, Lady Griz fans just knew they were going to win.

In her four years, she helped the Lady Griz capture four Big Sky Conference regular-season titles, four Big Sky Conference tournament crowns and secure four trips to the NCAA Tournament.

She became UM’s first four-time All-Big Sky player, and she played after the great Shannon Cate. Skyla also never lost to Montana State.

Simply put, Skyla was a winner, whether it was high school, college or in the “real world.”

When I was given the choice to cover the men or the women for the paper, I did not hesitate. With all due respect to Chris Spoja, Ryan Dick and Bobby Olson, I would still make that decision 100 times out of 100.

Give me Skyla’s team.

Now, Skyla is in a fight that she just has to win. She is fighting late-state breast cancer, which has spread to her lymph system.

She will spend a few months in Arizona undergoing an integrative approach, which will include some chemotherapy and radiation. It also includes some alternative and complementary aspects that will hopefully help her kick cancer to the curb once and for all.

However, insurance does not cover such potentially life-saving treatment.

Skyla has already received tons of support from Malta, where they really love their girls’ basketball, and around the state.

A Go Fund Me was started, and it raised more than $115,000 as of Monday afternoon. It would be so great if we could times that by about 10 to make sure Skyla only has to focus on getting better when she is on the road.

If you have a lot of money, then dig deep for Skyla. If you do not have a lot, give a few bucks. Every dollar counts, and it will add up faster than Skyla’s 1,238 points and 587 assists as a Grizzly.

Give if you are a Grizzly. Give if you are a Bobcat. Give if you are an Oredigger, Bulldog, Battlin’ Bear, Light, Argonaut or Saint.

If you have no money to give, then please just keep Skyla in your heart as she fights for her life.

As players like Greta (Koss) Buehler, Lauren Cooper and Megan Harrington will certainly tell you, it is always good to be on Skyla’s team. Always.

As you would expect from the great competitor, Skyla is heading into this battle like she is trying to avenge a loss.

“Just being present, trying not to live in the past or be anxious about the future because that just does not do anybody any good,” Skyla told MTN Sports, explaining her positive attitude. “It’s like shooting a free throw. Like your whole career, you’re told you never tell yourself ‘Don’t miss, don’t miss,’ right? You’re planting that seed of miss. 

“Instead, you’re like, ‘I’m going to drain this free throw.’ And that’s the mentality I’m taking in, it’s like I’m going to beat it.”

Skyla is going to beat this. We just know it.

That is because for more than a quarter of a century, we have learned one undeniable truth.

When Skyla Sisco plays, Skyla Sisco wins.

— Bill Foley can be reached at Follow him at to the ButteCast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.