|Vandals Take Bite Out of Cougars|
CHICAGO—The University of Idaho women’s basketball team cruised to a 92-42 rout of Chicago State on Saturday. The win moves the Vandals to 2-0 in the Western Athletic Conference, starting unscathed in conference play the first time since the 2003-04 season.
Idaho (9-7, 2-0 WAC) opened the first 5:11 of the first half, jumping out to a 9-0 lead. Defensively, the Vandals held Chicago State to 0-of-10 from the field, setting the tone for the remainder of the game. Sophomore Christina Salvatore hit the first of her four three-point baskets to give the Silver and Gold a 15-4 lead with 13:01 left in the first half. Chicago State would be unable to get any closer for the remainder of the contest.
The Cougars were held to 8-of-33 shooting in the first 20 minutes, matching the second-fewest allowed field goals in the first half this season. Offensively, Idaho shot 18-of-34 (52.percent) in the opening period.
“I thought we did a great job of getting the ball inside,” head coach Jon Newlee stated. “It was not just our post players but our guards did a good job of attacking the rim.”
The Vandals posted a season-high 50 points in the paint on Saturday, outscoring Chicago State by 36 points underneath the basket. The Vandals used a 36-of-70 shooting performance (51.4 percent) to reach 90-plus points for the first time since defeating Louisiana-Lafayette, 90-66, back on Nov. 29, 2009.
Junior Stacey Barr led all scorers with 21 points, despite not hitting a three-point field goal for the first time in six games. Barr added 12 rebounds, helping her to her team-leading fifth double-double of the season. She finished the afternoon with a game-high six helpers, just four shy of a triple-double.
“We definitely played as a team,” Barr said. “We worked well inside and we ran the ball, which was one of our main focuses. We try not to complain about it [travel and airport delays]. We got to Chicago and did our walkthrough this morning at the hotel and we really just focused on the game.”
Salvatore contributed 16 points, shooting 50 percent from long range. She moved into a tie for seventh all-time with Jennifer Clary (1991-94) with 126 career three-point field goals. Salvatore has hit a team best 39 three’s, chasing her own school record of 87.
Senior Alyssa Charlston contributed 15 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Ali Forde matched her season-high with 14 points. Freshman Agueda Trujillo Fernandez played a season-high 16 minutes, netting eight points off the bench, a new season-high.
“I told the team that this was an amazing road trip with all the adversity we faced with our travel,” Newlee noted. “They came out and were ready to go. I am proud of these guys for starting out the WAC 2-0 on the road with these kind of travel conditions. I’m just hoping we get home tomorrow.”
Chicago State (2-12, 0-2 WAC) was held to 24.6 percent shooting on the day. CSU’s 42 points were the least allowed by Idaho in conference play since allowing 41 points to San Jose State on Feb. 15, 2009. The Cougars were held to just 23 second-half points, the fewest the Vandals have allowed in the second half this season.
Idaho will return to Cowan Spectrum Thursday, Jan. 9, when the welcome in Texas-Pan American. The Vandals will continue at home on Saturday, Jan. 11, taking on New Mexico State.
Notes: For the second time on the road trip Idaho was delayed getting to Chicago, the did not leave Kansas City until eight hours after originally scheduled, leaving no time to practice in Chicago…Idaho has now made at least one three-point basket in 181 consecutive games…Charlston now has 1,330 career points, just five points removed from seventh all-time.