|Vandals End 'Lopes Streak|
PHOENIX—On the heels of being voted a Capital One Academic All-American, Idaho senior Alyssa Charlston posted 17 points as the Vandals handed Grand Canyon its first home loss of the season. Idaho shot 49.1 percent (27-of-55) on its way to a 68-54 triumph at GCU Arena.
Charlston and junior Stacey Barr both posted game-highs of 17 points. Charlston’s total pushed her career scoring numbers to 1,483, placing her fifth all-time in the Idaho record books.
Idaho (19-8, 12-1 WAC) played two very consistent halves on Saturday, scoring 34 points in each 20 minute period. Charlston totaled 12 points at the break, shooting 5-of-6 from the floor in the first half. Not to be outdone, Barr put in 12 points in the second half, aided by shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc.
With a five-point lead to open the second half, Idaho put together an 8-0 run to silence GCU Arena. Barr pushed the issue early on in the half scoring five straight points to extend Idaho’s lead to 39-29. Sophomore Christina Salvatore continued to pile on with an old fashioned three-point play to give the Vandals a 42-29 lead 2:35 into the second half.
“I think we ran the floor great to start the second half,” Newlee said. “We made a couple of quick shots. Our post guys were running the floor and that opened up the outside. We hit a couple of three’s to get us moving. Defensively, we were getting the stops. We finally got some block-outs, they were killing us on the offensive boards the entire game. I thought Stacey and Christina did a fantastic job of flying in and getting rebounds during that run.”
Grand Canyon came into Saturday shooting 42 percent on the season, fourth best in the Western Athletic Conference. Idaho held GCU to a 31.4 shooting performance, well below the ‘Lopes season average.
“Overall aggression was the key defensively,” Newlee added. “We did not sit back. I thought we came with a lot of hands and executed that game-plan perfectly.”
An Ali Forde layup with 3:44 to play gave the Vandals a 17-point lead, their biggest of the day to ensure the Idaho victory.
The Vandals had four players finish in double figures for the second consecutive game and the 16th time this season. Salvatore contributed 10 points, joining Barr, Charlston and Ballestero.
Idaho will return home for its final three games of the season. The Silver and Gold will start its final homestand with a matchup against rival Seattle U on Saturday, Mar. 1 at Memorial Gym.
Notes: The Vandals have made at least one three-point basket in 192 consecutive games…Barr has made at least one three-point basket in each of the last 11 games…Barr has scored in double figures in 31 of the last 32 games…Charlston also moved into fifth all-time with 562 career FGM…the starting lineup of Ballestero, Barr, Salvatore, Charlston and Forde is now 14-5 on the season.