|Vandals stumble in home finale|
MOSCOW, Idaho -- The Idaho women's basketball team was out of sync Saturday afternoon, turning the ball over 30 times, and the Utah State Aggies took advantage to secure a 67-51 win in Western Athletic Conference play.
Idaho (13-12, 6-7 WAC) senior Yinka Olorunnife had 14 rebounds in the game, becoming just the second player in Vandal history to surpass the 1,000 rebound mark, bringing her career total to 1,001.
Utah State's (14-11, 8-4 WAC) aggressive, physical defense was too much for Idaho to handle on Saturday, as the Vandals matched a season-high 30 turnovers, and shot just 37.3 percent from the field, including 18.8 percent from 3-point range.
"I thought we were doing a decent job of being aggressive in the first half, and we were getting beaten around," Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. "Maybe it's like a boxer who takes too many punches, you just kind of start backing down a little bit, and I thought we backed down in the second half. We didn't keep our aggressiveness up from an offensive or defensive standpoint. They're a good physical basketball team, that's their style, and my hat's off to them. I thought they played extremely well today, and took us out of our game, and you see the result."
The Vandals connected on just 19-of-51 shots in the game, and 3-for-16 from long range, while going 10-fo-16 from the free throw line. Utah State hit 26-of-56 shots to shoot 46.4 percent from the field, including 2-of-8 (25.0 percent) from 3-point range. The Aggies also hit 13-of-22 free throws. Utah State committed 14 fewer turnovers than the Vandals, finishing with 16. Idaho, however, held a 40-26 advantage on the glass.
Idaho senior Derisa Taleni scored a team-high 15 points in the game on 5-for-11 shooting, and finished with four rebounds, five assists and two steals. Junior Keri Arendse finished with 11 points, going 3-for-8 from 3-point range. Olrunnife was held to just seven points, going 3-for-12 from the field in the game.
Utah State jumped ahead to an early 4-0 lead in the game, and would lead throughout. After the Aggies pulled ahead by 10 at 21-11, Idaho went on a run to close the gap to just 24-21 at halftime.
But after trading baskets to start the second half, Utah State went on a quick 8-0 spurt to pull ahead 36-23, and the Vandals would come no closer than within eight points the final 16 minutes of the game. Utah State's largest lead was 18 points, at 58-40 with 6:15 remaining.
Utah State out-scored Idaho 27-12 off turnovers, 40-30 in the paint, and 12-6 on the fast break.
The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Vandals, who will spend their final three regular season games on the road at second-place Fresno State, New Mexico State, and first-place Louisiana Tech, before heading to the WAC tournament March 9-12.