|Vandals look for firsts|
MOSCOW – The Idaho women’s basketball team has the opportunity to do something it has never done before, and another thing it hasn’t done in seven years when Louisiana Tech visits the Cowan Spectrum at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The Vandals are seeking their first win in the all-time series with the Lady Techsters, and are looking for their first four-game winning streak since February of 2005. Idaho comes in with three straight Western Athletic Conference wins and has climbed into sixth place in the league standings after an 0-5 conference start. A win Saturday would lift Idaho (8-16, 3-5) one more spot into fifth place in the WAC standings.
Louisiana Tech (12-11, 5-3 WAC) has other plans. Coming off a road win over second-place Utah State on Thursday, the Lady Techsters will look for their fifth win in six games, and try to make it 15 wins in 15 tries over the Vandals. Despite the lopsided series record, Idaho and LA Tech have played some tight games lately. Before a 12-point loss to LA Tech in Ruston, La., earlier this season, six straight games in the series had been decided by 10 points or less, including two that went into overtime.
Idaho is led by sophomore Alyssa Charlston, whose 14.6 scoring average and 8.4 rebounding average are both best on the team and fifth in the WAC. She also ranks second on the team and fourth in the conference with 1.25 blocks per game, and shoots 47.6 percent from the field, the eighth best percentage in the league. Charlston has scored in double-figures in 11 straight games for Idaho, averaging 18.5 points per game in that span.
Also picking up her game during Idaho’s win streak is senior Keri Arendse. She has scored in double-figures in all three games, averaging 14.7 points per game during the streak. She has done it by making multiple 3-pointers in each of those games, going a combined 8-for-20 (.400) from long range in that time.
The Lady Techsters will counter with a balanced attack that includes point guard Jasmine Bendolph, who leads the conference in assists (8.0) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.37) in WAC games. Shantale Bramble-Donaldson leads the team in scoring with 11.0 points per game, while Bendolph is second with 9.7.
The game is the first half of a doubleheader with the Idaho men’s team, which tips off at 8 p.m. against LA Tech. It is also Idaho’s Coaches vs. Cancer game, sponsored by Relay for Life. Fans who wear pink to the game will receive free admission.