|Freshmen dominate senior day|
MOSCOW - It was senior day Saturday in the Cowan Spectrum, but that didn't stop a pair of freshmen from torching the nets as Stacey Barr poured in a career-high 23 points and added seven rebounds while Krissy Karr netted 13 and dished out seven assists to lead the Idaho women's basketball team to a 69-50 victory over Hawai'i in the regular season finale.
Hawai'i (11-18, 6-8 Western Athletic Conference) led 17-15 with 12 minutes left in the first half when Barr simply took over. She tied the game with a jumper in the paint then buried 3-pointers on four of Idaho's next six possessions.
"I call her the microwave, and she came in, and the microwave was on tonight," Newlee said of Barr. "We've seen her do that at practice a bunch of times, and to see her come out and light it up like that gets everybody jacked up. She plays hard and that's what I love about her, she just plays hard at both ends. I tell my little girl, if you don't bruises and you're not cut up, you're not playing hard and you're not having any fun. And Stacey kind of takes that to heart. If she's not beat up and cut up and bruised up, she's not having any fun."
Karr had two assists, a steal and made two 3-pointers during the run as Idaho scored 17 unanswered points and went on a 27-2 run overall to take a commanding 42-19 lead. Idaho (11-19, 6-8 WAC) took its largest halftime lead of the season into the locker room with a 46-21 advantage at the break. The Vandals went 8-of-12 from 3-point range in the first half and committed just four turnovers.
"That's the way I dreamed it up last night," Newlee said of Idaho's 27-2 run. "That's the way it's supposed to go. She made one of them and we just kept looking at each other on the bench and we wanted to just keep going. It's what you hope for, it's what you're shooting for, to see it happen was a great feeling tonight."
Hawai'i, however, made things interesting by scoring the first nine points of the second half to close the gap to 46-30. Idaho weathered that storm with a 10-2 run of its own to take a 24-point lead. Hawai'i's final spurt pulled the Rainbow Wahine within 15 at 60-45, but they could not get any closer.
Barr finished the game 9-for-16 from the field and 5-of-9 from deep. Karr hit 5-of-7 shots in the game including 3-of-5 3-pointers.
"Coach (Christa) Sanford just said go out and shoot the ball and don't think about it," Barr said after the game. "I guess that advice really helped."
Idaho had season-highs with 11 made 3-pointers and a 52.4 percentage from long-range. The Vandals also held a 45-35 rebounding advantage which aided a 13-6 edge in second chance points. Idaho outscored Hawai'i 11-6 off turnovers and 29-14 off the bench. Hawai'i hit just 19-of-59 shots in the game to shoot 32 percent, and connected on only 3-of-17 3-pointers.
Sophomore Alyssa Charlston scored 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting, and added nine rebounds, one shy of her 10th double-double of the season. Senior Keri Arendse finished with eight points, five rebounds and four assists. Senior Adrie Shiels had four points, three rebounds, an assist, a block and a steal in the game, while senior Ganeaya Rogers added seven rebounds and two assists in the game.
"It's great they've put so much hard work and sweat and tears in this program so it's great to see them win on their night," Newlee said of Idaho's three seniors. "We talked about it in the locker room, sending them out on a great note. Any time you win on senior night as a coach it makes you feel great because I'm happy for them. It's great for them to know their last memory out here at Cowan is going to be a win, a big win over Hawai'i and that's something they will have with them the rest of their life."
With the win, Idaho clinches at least the fifth seed in next week's WAC tournament. A loss by San Jose State later Saturday evening and the Vandals will climb into the fourth spot. Regardless, Idaho will take on San Jose State in the No. 4 vs. No. 5 game at 8:30 (PST) on Wednesday, March 7.
"I think it's going to be a tough game but knowing that we've beat them twice in a row, that's going to really help us," Barr said of Idaho's upcoming matchup with SJSU.
The Vandals capped their season by winning six of their final nine games, all in WAC play, after starting with an 0-5 record in league games. Idaho's wins this week over San Jose State and Hawai'i give the Vandals regular season sweeps over both teams and propelled Idaho to at least the fifth seed. Any loss this week would have dropped Idaho to the sixth seed.
"They really trust each other and know as a group that if they play together they can do some really good things," Newlee said of Idaho's progression throughout the season. "As the season went on they found that out, and we've come from being I think the softest team in America to a team that's ready to get in and battle and not be afraid to get in there and get physical with teams, and teams aren't pushing us around anymore. On all levels, we've gotten better every day and that's what, as a coach, I'm looking for. We have continued to do that and it's been going the right way and tonight was a culmination of a regular season where you just saw us getting better as the year went on."