|Blazing hot second half lifts UI|
MOSOCW, Idaho - With the help of a 60-percent second-half shooting performance and four double-digit scorers, the Idaho women's basketball team did something it hadn't done since 2004 - beat the Montana Lady Griz. The Vandals went on a 19-7 extended run early in the second half to erase a 10-point deficit on their way to a 69-56 win over Montana.
Senior Yinka Olorunnife tallied her fifth double-double of the season with 12 points and 18 rebounds, while senior Rachele Kloke came off the bench for the first time this season, and led all scorers with 21 points and added three rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal without turning the ball over in 34 minutes of play.
"It definitely boosts my confidence to know that my jump shot is still there even though it's been kind of struggling," Kloke said.
Junior Keri Arendse knocked down 5-of-9 shots from the field including 3-of-6 from 3-point distance to finish with 15 points for Idaho, while senior Derisa Taleni had 12 points, four assists and three rebounds for Idaho.
The Vandals ended a five-game losing streak to Montana, and improve to 6-2 on the season. The Lady Griz fall to 3-6 on the year with the loss.
Montana led by as many as eight points in the first half, as Idaho had eight first-half turnovers and shot just 37.9 percent from the field (11-of-29), as the Lady Griz took a 36-28 lead into the break.
"That first half was really slow, it was just kind of like watching sand through an hour glass," Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. "We had to pick up the defense, we had to pick up the offense, and play faster, and I thought we did that. As soon as we started pressuring the ball and bringing it up the court looking for fast breaks, it picked up the speed of the game."
Montana took its largest lead of the game at 38-28 just nine seconds into the second half before the Vandals turned things around. After their 19-7 run to take a two-point lead, the Vandals steadily added to the lead with strong shooting and defense.
"We have so few home games this year, I thought it was huge to go out and hold the home court tonight," Newlee said. "That second half was more like Vandal basketball."
The Vandals hit 15-of-25 second half shots and shot 48.1 percent (26-of-54) for the game, connecting on 7-of-19 3-pointers. Idaho held a 37-35 edge on the glass and owned a 26-12 advantage in points in the paint.
"We knew they were going to be playing zone and we knew we would be getting looks off the zone," Newlee said. "It's just a matter of getting the feet set and knocking the shot down. And that's exactly what we did."
Montana shot 34.9 percent (22-of-63) from the field and hit just 6-of-25 (.240) 3-point attempts.
The Vandals return to the road for the second five-game road trip of the season as they face Seattle University of Dec. 11. Idaho will visit Gonzaga on Dec. 17, Saint Mary's on Dec. 23 and Portland on Dec. 30 before opening Western Athletic Conference play at Nevada on Jan. 6. The Vandals return to Moscow on Jan. 10 to take on Fresno State.