|Vandals draw SJSU in WAC Tourney|
MOSCOW - With back-to-back wins to close the regular season, the Idaho women's basketball team completed its climb from an 0-5 Western Athletic Conference start to a fourth place finish in the conference. The Vandals will look to continue that momentum in Las Vegas this week at the WAC Tournament, where they face San Jose State in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
"I like the fact that we have gotten better," Idaho coach Jon Newlee said of his team. "As a coach, that's what you want, for your team to get better day-by-day, game-by-game. We started out about as low as you can be, to make the jump after we've gone along, I feel like we're playing great basketball right now."
Idaho finished the regular season with an 11-19 overall record and a 6-8 mark in WAC play. The Vandals swept the regular season series from the Spartans, and will play them for the second time in six days. Idaho topped SJSU 70-65 in the Cowan Spectrum on March 1.
"Its 0-0 for everybody going into that tournament," Newlee said. "Everybody is going to be playing each other for the third time. You never know what adjustments are going to be made. The teams that go out and execute and do what they do best are going to be the ones there on Saturday playing for the championship."
If Idaho advances, it will reach the WAC semifinals for just the second time in program history. The Vandals have never been to the WAC championship game since joining the league in the 2005-06 season.
A semifinal matchup would pit Idaho against either top-seeded Fresno State (25-5, 13- WAC) or eighth seeded New Mexico State (6-23, 3-11 WAC). Idaho was swept by Fresno State in the regular season and split the season series with New Mexico State, with each team winning on its home floor.
"Our team is confident and excited," Newlee said. "We have to continue to trust in each other and play together and play as hard as we've been playing and we'll see what happens. They've gotten better in all phases as the WAC season went on and that's what you're looking for going into the tournament."
Fans in the Moscow/Pullman area can catch the tournament games on the radio on 840 AM. Fans can also follow live stats at www.wacsports.com. The semifinals and finals will be broadcast on TV on the WAC Sports Network.