|Karr's buzzer-beater lifts UI|
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - With a defender on her hip, Krissy Karr drove left and put up a six-foot jump shot that made its way through the hoop as time expired to give the Idaho women's basketball team a 57-55 Western Athletic Conference quarterfinal win over San Jose State on Wednesday afternoon.
"That wasn't the play that was called," Karr said of the final possession. "But then I heard Coach Newlee say 'go, go,' so I just went for it and I got the lucky bounce."
The buzzer-beater capped a 15-point comeback for Idaho, as the third-seeded Vandals (15-15) dug themselves into a 26-11 hole 12 minutes into the game.
"We talked after the Seattle U game about buzzer-beaters and how we were on the bad end of it," Idaho coach Jon Newlee said, as his team's last three losses each came by two points. "When we got to Las Vegas, we talked in the locker room about if that situation came up, it would be our turn to hit the shot. Our players embraced that and Krissy certainly did in the end."
The game was tied at 55-all for nearly three minutes, with neither team able pull ahead. With one minute left, Idaho had the ball with a chance to go ahead but Stacey Barr was called for a charge, giving the Spartans the ball with 44 seconds. SJSU's (11-19) Riana Byrd was fouled with 15 seconds to play, but missed both free throws, and Idaho's Ali Forde grabbed the rebound, and the Vandals took timeout to draw up a final play.
Karr finished with 10 points off the bench for Idaho in the game. The buzzer beater was the second of the sophomore's career - she hit a 3-pointer as time expired in an 87-86 overtime win at Nevada on Feb. 9, 2012.
Sophomore Stacey Barr led Idaho with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting. She added six rebounds. Freshman Ali Forde came close to a double-double, finishing with nine points and nine rebounds. She was 4-of-6 from the field and added three blocks and two steals.
"I was definitely nervous in the first half," Forde said. "After the timeout coach told me to play free, and I was able to relax and play my game."
The Vandals couldn't buy a bucket early. After Idaho's brief 5-4 lead with 17:40 left in the first, Idaho hit just one field goal in the next seven minutes as the Spartans built a double-digit lead.
Idaho settled in toward the end of the first half, chipping away at SJSU's lead until it was just a five-point, 33-28, deficit at the break. Idaho kept the game within two possessions the entire second half, but didn't regain the lead until Alyssa Charlston hit a fast-break layup with 4:16 to play that put the Vandals ahead 53-52. That lead lasted only 26 seconds, however, as Byrd made a layup on the other end to put San Jose State back on top 54-53 before the near three-minute 55-55 deadlock.
Idaho shot 42 percent from the field, going 24-of-57. The Vandals hit just 5-of-21 3-point attempts, but nearly matched San Jose State's 32 paint points by scoring 26 of their own.
Idaho advances to the WAC semifinals for the second consecutive season. The Vandals will face the winner of No. 2 Utah State and No. 7 Denver at noon on Friday.