MISSOULA — Seeing Nora Klick dive on the floor at Dahlberg Arena, you'd never guess what she's endured just to get out there.
From the time she was a freshman in high school, her back has betrayed her. Cortisone shots kept her in the game for a while, then she went under the knife as a high school junior.
Klick's back problems returned last fall as a true freshman for the Montana women's basketball team. She was forced to use her redshirt season and watch from the bench as her team labored through a 7-23 campaign.
The good news — maybe the best of all for the Lady Griz in their first month of practice — is that Klick is 100 percent. She's a 6-foot guard with long arms, a sweet shooting touch and high energy on defense and she made her presence felt Tuesday in Montana's annual Maroon-Silver scrimmage.
"I got a stem cell procedure done right around Christmastime, went down to Utah to have that done so I was out for quite a while," said the Simms native, who scored nine points for the Silver team, including eight in a row on a pair of triples and free throws. "I wasn't even able to touch a ball until maybe the beginning of summer. That was rough.
"Now it's awesome. My back doesn't even phase me anymore. I've learned what my body can take and what it can't and it seems like it can take just about everything now."
Klick's team dropped a 62-55 decision on a night when several men played and assistant coach Sonya Stokken was pressed into action for the Silver squad. The best news was that the Lady Griz shot better than 50 percent collectively and that Taylor Goligoski's injury — the guard sat out of the scrimmage with a quadricep issue — should not prevent her from playing when it counts, according to coach Shannon Schweyen.
"I thought we had good play from our point guards," said Schweyen, alluding in part to McKenzie Johnston with her 11 points, eight rebounds and four assists. "We had some good moments with some early offense and knocking down some threes, especially early in the scrimmage.
"We've got a long ways to go on D. But certain groups played with a lot of confidence and we're definitely farther along than we were when we started last year."
Shooting guard Madi Schoening was most impressive of all. She scored a game-high 15 points on four treys and a 3-point play and dished out five assists.
She had nine points in a row at one juncture. Pretty impressive for a sophomore who couldn't even practice in the weeks leading up to the season.
"She battled the big kidney thing at the beginning of school and we weren't sure if we were going to have her," Schweyen said. "She's working her way back into shape and she did a lot of great things tonight.
"Jace (Henderson) is also playing well. Right now we're just looking for consistency in practice."
One big difference between last season and this season is the presence of Klick and Caitlin Lonergan, who transferred to UM from Montana State where she played volleyball. Guard Sophia Stiles and post Abby Anderson are also new, but they're expected to redshirt.
Whether Klick and Lonergan are able to make contributions when the season starts for real remains to be seen. But they certainly appeared capable Tuesday.
"Nora can shoot the ball," Schweyen said. "Watching her in high school, that's what she did, knocking down threes from all over the place.
"She's working on other aspects of her game. She did a nice job getting some looks and knocked them down. It's always nice to see some other people who can score the ball for us. I know she put in a ton of time in the summer and worked on fitness level."
Ask Klick what makes her tick and she doesn't hesitate to answer.
"I hate to lose," she said. "I try to bring intensity."
The Lady Griz will get their first taste of real competition on Monday when they play host to Carroll College in an exhibition game at 7 p.m. at Dahlberg Arena.