|Vandals Buck Broncs, 76-65|
MOSCOW, Idaho—Junior Stacey Barr posted a career-high 29 points Thursday night at the Cowan Spectrum, helping the Idaho women to a 76-65 victory over the Texas-Pan American Broncs.
The Melbourne, Australia, native shot 11-of-16 (68.8 percent) from the field, including 4-of-5 (80 percent) from long distance to lead the Vandals. Her 11 rebounds added to her team-leading sixth double-double of the season.
“We came back from the road trip and she [Barr] immediately just got out the shooting machine and took hundreds of extra shots in the last two days,” head coach Jon Newlee noted. “Her hard work paid off tonight. She got back on track and felt comfortable out there. Her shot looked great. It is a testament to her hard work.”
“The opening tip we got the ball and ran a really good play,” Barr explained. “Ali [Forde] made a really good pass and I made the layup and got the free throw. That really pumped me up and got me into the game.”
UTPA (7-8, 1-1 WAC) forced the Vandals to have to play defense early in the first half. The Broncs used a 13-0 run to take a 23-16 lead with 8:52 to play in the opening half. UTPA held the Vandals off the scoreboard for a span of six minutes.
“In the first half they [UTPA] came out and shot the bally really well,” Barr said. “We did not really contest any of their three’s. That was the big adjustment we made at halftime. We came out and played really good defense in the second half and pulled away.”
Sophomore Christina Salvatore set the tone of the Vandals entering the second half. Her buzzer-beating shot from 25 feet out put the Vandals ahead 37-34 at the break. Idaho used the first three minutes of the second half to gain a 43-36 lead, capped by an Ali Forde lay-in. The Broncs did not break easily in the second half, regaining the lead, 45-43, with 14:43 to play.
Tied at 50, Idaho cemented its lead off a Barr free throw and closed out the game on a 26-15 run to put away the Broncs.
Salvatore finished the night with 12 points and was 3-of-9 from three-point range. Senior Alyssa Charlston matched Salvatore’s 12 points and added three blocks, pushing her over 100 for her career. Forde was 5-of-9 from the field and finished the night with 10 points.
“Tonight kind of reminded the team that everybody is after us,” Newlee said. “That team tonight was 1-0 and had a great win against Grand Canyon. They are very talented and they came out hungry. They were getting to every loose ball and 50-50 ball. We talked at halftime about getting the 50-50 balls and wanting it. For a long time I felt that UTPA wanted it more than we did, and they played like it.”
The Vandals had their best shooting night of the season. Idaho finished the night a collective 31-of-57 (54.4 percent) from the floor and 50 percent (9-of-18) from beyond the arch. UTPA was held to 23-of-68 (33.8 percent) shooting on the night.
Idaho will return to Cowan Spectrum on Saturday to take on familiar rivals, New Mexico State. Game time is set for 2 p.m. PT. Saturday’s game marks the annual Readers as Leaders game for the Vandals. Kids wearing their Readers as Leaders shirts earn free admission and accompanying adults are just $5. Ali Forde will stick around post-game to sign autographs.