|Vandals can't handle Zags|
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Idaho women's basketball team committed 21 turnovers and Gonzaga shot 54 percent from the field Thursday night as the Bulldogs rolled to a 97-62 win in the McCarthey Center.
The game was Idaho's final non-conference contest of the season, and the Vandals fall to 3-11 on the season. Idaho will open up Western Athletic Conference play at home against Seattle U on Dec. 29. Gonzaga, which is receiving votes in the both the USA Today Coaches and the Associated Press top 25 polls, improves to 10-3.
The Vandals were led by junior Alyssa Charlston, who finished with 21 points and six rebounds. Charlston went 7-of-12 from the field and 3-of-4 from 3-point range. Four Vandal players, including Connie Ballestero, Jessica Graham, Ali Forde and Krissy Karr, chipped in with six points. Janelle Weiss added five for the Vandals.
Gonzaga was on fire from the field, hitting 40-of-74 shots and 9-of-18 3-pointers. The Zags turned Idaho's 21 turnovers into 34 points, and outscored the Vandals 13-0 in fast break points. Gonzaga held a 43-40 advantage on the glass, and outscored Idaho 13-11 in second chance points, despite Idaho's 17-14 edge in offensive rebounds.
After Charlston scored the game's first five points, the Bulldogs turned up the heat. GU went on a 6-0 spurt to pull ahead, and the teams traded one-point leads three more times before Gonzaga went on a 12-0 run to pull ahead 20-9. Idaho scored the next four points to try to keep it close, but the Bulldogs added to their lead throughout the final eight minutes of the half, going into the break with a 48-26 advantage.
The Vandals turned the ball over 14 times in the first half, while Gonzaga scored 20 points off turnovers and shot 55.0 percent in the first half. Idaho shot 32 percent from the field in the first half and 33 percent from 3-point range. The Vandals gathered 10 offensive rebounds in the first half, but converted those into only two points.
The second half began much the way the first half ended. Gonzaga forced Idaho into four turnovers in the first three minutes of the period, and extended its lead to 60-32 by the first media timeout of the second half. Gonzaga's largest lead of the night was its 44-point advantage at 88-44 with 6:45 to play.
The Vandals will have some time off for the holidays before hosting Seattle U on Dec. 29. That game is the first of three straight WAC home games. Idaho also hosts San Jose State on Jan. 3 and Utah State on Jan. 5.