|Vandals Fall at Home|
MOSCOW, Idaho—Another shy beginning for the Idaho Vandals women’s basketball game turned out to be the difference Saturday afternoon inside the Cowan Spectrum. Idaho was unable to get out in front of Wyoming early and fell at home, 72-64.
The opening half has been an issue for the Vandals in their recent contests. Saturday proved no different. With 11 made field goals in the first half, shooting 31.4 percent (11-of-35), the Silver and Gold entered the second half down 40-27.
Wyoming (9-2) came out and established its game plan early on. A pair of Kaylie Rader free-throws gave the Cowgirls a 10 point advantage with just under 10 minutes to play in the half. Kaitlyn Mileto extended the lead to 14 for Wyoming, making a three-pointer with 8:23 to play. In the final minutes of the first half Wyoming jumped out to a 16-point lead before Christina Salvatore recorded one of her four baskets from beyond the arch. The Cowgirls took a 13-point lead into the half, shooting 44.4 percent in the first 20 minutes.
“It was a slow start for us,” head coach Jon Newlee commented. “I think defensively we did not execute our game plan like we wanted to. They did a good job of making shots and getting to the driving lanes. Everything they put up was going in. On the other end we were missing layups and wide open shots. The game got away from us in the first half.”
The Cowgirls opened the first five minutes of the second half on an 11-7 run, extending the lead to 51-34. From there Idaho dug in and cut the lead to eight off an Alyssa Charlston three with 10:02 to play. The last ten minutes the two teams exchanged blows. Defensively, Idaho did not allow Wyoming to make a shot from the field in the final 7:37, letting the Vandals cut the Cowgirls lead to 64-61 with 2:57 to play.
“I was proud of the way we came back in the second half,” Newlee said. “We had several shots to tie the game. Offensively in the second half we were doing what we wanted to do. I thought we did a good job executing and ramping up our defense. Wyoming is a great team. When it is all said and done I think they will be right at the top of the Mountain West.”
Idaho (7-6) was led by Charlston and her 22 points and season-high four blocks. Salvatore added a season-high 15 points. Sophomore Ali Forde was a force to be dealt with on the boards, pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds. For the game Idaho shot 23-of-68 (33.8 percent) from the field and 7-of-28 (25 percent) from downtown.
“I told the team that if you look at the way the season has gone this year, a bounce either way and we could be 11-2 right now,” Newlee noted. “You look at our losses and they have been heartbreakers. Either way they are riding on a shot or a possession. We are encouraged by that and we are way further ahead going into WAC play than we were last season. We are just going to have to get ready for a war every night.”
Fallon Lewis led the game with 23 points, adding 11 rebounds for Wyoming. Kayla Woodward recorded 17 and Marquelle Dent put in 12.
Idaho will take a short break, before meeting up in Austin, Texas. The Vandals will take on the Longhorns on Dec. 28. The game is set for 12:00 p.m. PT and will be broadcast live on the Longhorn Network.
Notes: The Vandals have made a least one three-point basket in 178 consecutive games…freshman Karlee Wilson got her first career start with the absence of Connie Ballestero…Idaho is now 4-1 following a loss…Barr extended her streak to four games with a made three-point basket, currently the longest active streak on the team…Barr has also scored in double digits for four straight games, and 17 of the last 19 games…Charlston attempted a season high 20 field goals.