|Late surge ends Vandals|
RUSTON, La. - The Idaho women's basketball team trailed by four points with just over two minutes to play, but a late surge by Louisiana Tech gave the Lady Techsters a 65-55 win, and the outright Western Athletic Conference championship.
Along the way, Idaho senior Yinka Olorunnife grabbed eight rebounds to become the WAC's all-time leading rebounder. Olorunnife passed former Lady Techster Shanavia Dowdell's career mark of 1,025, and now has 1,030 in her career.
Jessica Graham hit two free throws with 2:07 remaining to pull Idaho within four at 59-55, but a 3-point-play on the other end put LA Tech ahead by seven, as the Lady Techsters closed out the game on a 6-0 run to seal the victory.
With the loss, the Vandals finish the regular season at 14-14 overall, their most wins in a regular season since the 2004-05 season, and 7-9 in the WAC. LA Tech improve to 23-6 overall and finish WAC play with a 15-1 mark.
Alyssa Charlston was the only Vandal to score in double figures, as she finished with 10 points and three rebounds. Olorunnife added eight points to her eight boards in the game, and Derisa Taleni had eight points as well for the Vandals.
Graham finished with seven points, while Rachele Kloke, Keri Arendse and Bianca Cheever each had six. Arendse added five steals, three assists and two rebounds in the game.
The Vandals shot 48.0 percent in the second half connecting on 12-of-25 shots after trailing 35-23 at the break. Meanwhile, Idaho held LA Tech to 42.3 percent shooting from the field in the second half, as Idaho out-scored the Lady Techsters 32-30 after the break.
Louisiana Tech led by as many as 15 points early in the second half before the Vandals began chipping away. Idaho got the lead down to single digits at the 11-minute mark in the second half, trailing 48-40. Idaho kept its momentum, and closed its 6-0 with just over eight minutes left in the game to trail just 48-44. The Lady Techsters pulled ahead by nine again at 57-48, before the Vandals made their last push to get within four.
Louisiana Tech was led by 26 points and 13 rebounds from Adrienne Johnson, who went 9-of-21 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Jasmine Bendolph had 11 points, five rebounds and three assists for LA Tech.
Idaho shot 38.8 percent for the game, hitting 19-of-49 attempts from the field. The Vandals, however, went just 3-of-16 from 3-point range. Idaho and LA Tech each turned the ball over 15 times, and the Lady Techsters owned a 37-30 advantage on the glass, which aided a13-2 advantage in second-chance points.
Idaho will face No. 8 Boise State in the opening round of the WAC tournament on March 9 in Las Vegas, Nev., for the right to take on No. 4 Nevada in the quarterfinals on March 10. The Vandals will be the No. 5 seed in the eight-team event.