|Balanced Vandals cruise to 500th win|
MOSCOW, Idaho - Leading 30-21 to start the second half, the Idaho women's basketball team went on a 14-0 run to end any hope of a Hawai'i comeback and secure the program's 500th all-time victory, topping the Rainbow Wahine 72-48 in the Cowan Spectrum on Thursday night.
Five Vandals scored in double-figures, and Idaho shot 43.9 percent as a team and hit 10 or more 3-pointers for the fourth time this season. The Vandals connected on 25-of-57 shots overall including 10-of-24 from long range, helping overcome a 51-40 discrepancy on the glass.
Senior Bianca Cheever opened up the second half with a 3-pointer, followed by another from junior Keri Arendse. Cheever hit two more 3s and senior Derisa Taleni capped the 14-0 spurt with a layup to make the score 44-21 with just under 16 minutes left.
"When the second half came and we had our meeting with coach he just said we needed more energy," Idaho senior Yinka Olorunnife said. "They didn't seem like they wanted it, and we didn't seem like we wanted it, so I think that's what happened in the second half. We really did want this, so we came out ready to just play."
Cheever hit 4-of-6 3-pointers in the game and finished with 12 points and four rebounds.
"Second half we knew that we had to attack them," Cheever said. "So if I had an open shot I was going to take it."
Arendse led Idaho with 13 points and added three assists and two rebounds. Olorunnife was one rebound shy of her eighth double-double of the season, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds. Taleni had 11 points, five assists and two steals in the game, and freshman Alyssa Charlston had 10 points and eight rebounds, and hit 2-of-3 long range shots.
"We had a little offensive discussion at halftime about what we needed to do," Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. "We were pretty stagnant. (We started) Attacking them, pushing the tempo, we wanted to get some easy buckets, and just some ball movement. I thought we did a pretty good job of that, and Bianca came in and hit those 3s right at the start."
Rachele Kloke scored all eight of her points in the first half, and added four rebounds and two assists for Idaho, which improved to 9-6 on the season and 2-1 in Western Athletic Conference play. Hawai'i falls to 6-10 overall and 0-2 in the WAC.
Idaho's defense, which leads the WAC in opponent field goal percentage, held UH to just 27.5 percent shooting for the game, hitting 19-of-69 shots including just 2-of-17 from 3-point range. The Vandals also forced 19 turnovers.
Hawai'i was led by freshman Kamilah Jackson, who scored 16 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, including 11 on the offensive end. No other UH player scored more than six points in the game.
The win gives Idaho an all-time record of 500-497.
"That was a fast 500, three years," Newlee joked. "It's nice, we'll always be a part of Vandal history now. The 500th win hit. All of these guys on the team should be real proud of that."
The Vandals will have a week off before their next contest, a WAC road game at San Jose State on Jan. 20. Idaho will return home to begin a four-game home-stand on Jan. 22 against Boise State, in the first half of a men's/women's double-header. Tipoff of that game is slated for 4 p.m. Idaho will also host Louisiana Tech on Jan. 27, New Mexico State on Jan. 29 and San Jose State on Feb. 2 before hitting the road again.