|Vandals Beat Buzzer in Chicago|
CHICAGO – The Idaho women’s basketball team walked away with a 62-60 win Saturday night in thrilling fashion. Christina Salvatore’s buzzer-beating layup silenced the home crowd of host Loyola Chicago, as the Vandals improved to 2-1 on the season, playing back-to-back games in Chicago as part of the Preseason WNIT.
Junior Stacey Barr, who suffered a leg injury in Friday night’s 81-63 win and missed most of the second half and was not expected to start, let alone play on Saturday in Chicago. She went through pregame warm-ups and was surprisingly cleared to play just before the opening tip.
Barr opened the game shooting 4-of-7 from three-point range. She was the leading scorer for both teams in the first half, recording 14 points and three rebounds in 17 minutes of play. Barr finished with a season-high 21 points.
“Man that was something else,” head coach Jon Newlee exclaimed after the victory. “What a great finish for us. I thought that maybe we had let it slip away near the end. I felt like we were in charge the whole game and then at the end we were kind of letting go. Our kids showed great poise and ran the plays out of the timeouts exactly the way we wanted to. We got the big stop at the other end and Christina had the huge finish.”
Idaho came out blazing in the first half, picking up where they left off on Friday. The Vandals shot 12-of-30 (.400) and were 8-of-19 (.421) from beyond the three-point line. Freshmen Karlee Wilson and Brooke Reilly along with senior Addie Schivo outscored the Ramblers bench 11-3 in the first half, helping Idaho to a 34-27 lead.
The second half was a different story.
Loyola (1-2, 0-0) coached by three-time Olympic gold medalist, Sheryl Swoopes, came out in the second half and made things problematic for the Vandals. Idaho failed to make a three-point basket in 11 second-half attempts and held the Vandals to just eight field goals in the final 20 minutes.
“I thought we took some bad shots early,” Newlee said of his team’s second half performance. “It kind of skewed our offense. When we are taking good shots in rhythm and taking the threes we want to take, we are good shooters. I thought we just gutted it out.”
Senior Alyssa Charlston was silent for most of the game, as the Loyola defense keyed in on her after posting 23 points in Friday’s contest. Charlston was just 4-of-15 for the game with 10 points. Her 11 rebounds were a team high as she quietly posted her second double-double of the season.
The turning point of the game came with 1:26 to play in the second half and Idaho down 58-55. Schivo missed a layup down low and Charlston battled for the offensive rebound. Charlston got the board and the put back, getting fouled in the process. She made her free throw and tied the game up at 58, shifting the game’s momentum back in favor of the Vandals.
The team’s traded baskets to be tied at 60 with 33 seconds on left on the game clock. With the shot clock turned off it seemed like the Ramblers would play for the last shot and the win. With the clock ticking down under 10 seconds Salvatore stole the ball away from Erin Thomas and went the distance of the court for the game-winning layup.
For the game, Salvatore was 1-of-11 shooting and had a rare off night from the three-point line, going 0-for-8.
With Ali Forde traveling with the volleyball team the Vandals were still able to narrowly outrebound the Ramblers, 47-46. Idaho had 13 second-chance points and recorded 22 points in the paint.
Troy Hambric finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Ramblers. Tina Karopulos added 17 points to the mix with eight of them coming in the second half as Loyola outscored Idaho 33-28.
The Vandals will open up the home schedule next Saturday when they return to action against UC Irvine. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m. PT.
Notes: Charlston recorded one block on Saturday, moving her solely into ninth in Idaho history with 81 career blocks…Barr’s four three-pointers give her 122 for her career, two shy of moving into seventh all-time...Maren Austgulen got her first career start on Saturday…Charlston moved into seventh all-time in career rebounds with 650, passing Mary Westerwelle (649,1982-86).