|Vandal women battle for position|
MOSCOW, Idaho - The fifth seed in the Western Athletic Conference tournament is on the line as the Idaho women's basketball team prepares for its final road trip of the season, beginning with a matchup at New Mexico State on March 5.
The Vandals and Aggies both enter Thursday's game at 6-8 in WAC play, while Idaho is 13-13 overall, and NMSU is 12-16 on the season. The Vandals beat the Aggies 64-51 in Moscow on Jan. 29, but have gone just 2-5 since then.
With a win Thursday, Idaho would clinch the No. 5 seed in the upcoming WAC tournament, meaning it would play the No. 8 seed in the opening round, for the chance to face off against the No. 4 seed in the quarterfinals. With a loss, however, and Idaho would need a win at Louisiana Tech in the season-finale on March 5, coupled with a New Mexico State loss to Boise State, to finish fifth. Otherwise, Idaho would be the No. 6 seed.
The Vandals are led by senior Yinka Olorunnife, who became the school's all-time leading rebounder in Idaho's last game. Olofunnife passed Alli Nieman's 1,005 career rebounds to take over the top spot on Idaho's all-time list, and now has 1,011 for her career. Only Shanavia Dowdell, with 1,025 career rebounds, has more in the history of the WAC. Olorunnife is averaging 14.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game this season.
Madison Spence's 14.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game lead the Aggies, who are coming off an impressive win at Nevada on Feb. 26 to snap a trend of six losses in seven games.
New Mexico State and Idaho are the top two free-throw shooting teams in the conference, as Idaho leads the league with a 74.1 percent clip, and NMSU is second at 71.3 percent. The Vandals lead the all-time series with the Aggies 17-8.
The Vandals will wrap up the regular season at Louisiana Tech on March 5, before heading to the WAC tournament in Las Vegas, Nev., March 9-12.