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Courtesy: Spencer Farrin (Moscow, Idaho)
Christina Salvatore
WBB rally comes up short
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 11/18/2012
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MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho women’s basketball fell behind early on and saw its second-half rally come up short in a 71-50 home loss to Montana on Sunday at Memorial Gym.

The Vandal women (0-4) suffered a frustrating first half in which they shot just 28 percent and turned the ball over eight times and trailed by 16 at the break to Montana (2-1), which shot above 50 percent in the first period and capitalized on Vandal errors.

After falling behind by 20, 51-31 at 11:42 of the second half, Idaho rattled off a 10-0 scoring run with eight points from sophomore guard Stacey Barr. The Vandal women stuck around within 10-13 points, but a few Montana putbacks and close-range Idaho misses suddenly re-created the separation and Idaho didn’t recover.

Idaho head coach Jon Newlee said he was glad to see his team respond with the second-half run, but that a few little mistakes slowed the momentum and ended the comeback bid.

“I think that was a great run, and then we came back and missed a couple chippies and gave up a couple of o-boards and all of a sudden, it got pushed back to 16,” Newlee said. “We’ve got to be able to sustain that kind of effort and that intensity throughout the game, not just in stretches – we’ve got to have a fighting spirit for 40 minutes, not just when things are going our way.”

Barr led Idaho with 10 points, all in the second half, while junior wing Alyssa Charlston added nine and sophomore guard Krissy Karr contributed seven.

As a team, Idaho shot just 27.5 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent from the 3-point line, while Montana was 40.9 overall and 30.8 percent from behind the arc. Idaho converted 16 of its 23 free throw attempts for a 69.6 percent clip, while Montana went 13-of-18 (.722).

The taller Montana squad held a 48-35 rebounding margin, including several key second-half offensive boards – and 16 total in the game – to finish with a 16-7 margin on second-chance points. UM also added 16 points off turnovers and outscored Idaho in in the paint, 32-8.

Newlee said he expected the Lady Griz to be physical, especially in the paint, and that he was disappointed that after a few blocked shots and bumps down low, Idaho went up tentatively and didn’t finish its close-range shot attempts.

“It’s a physical basketball game,” Newlee said. “If they block your shot or if they hit you and there’s no call, you’ve still got to go up strong the next time and I thought we backed down when they got physical with us. Teams are going to do that until we respond and we’re able to go up strong and finish at the rim or get to the line and knock down some foul shots.”

Montana built its early edge midway through the first half. A 7-0 UM run started after a pair of Janelle Weiss free throws had pulled Idaho within three at 17-14 with 11:15 to play in the half. The Griz increased their lead to 10, 24-14, and then steadily increased.

Newlee said that the Montana scoring run was frustrating on its own, but the way it happened caused the most frustration.

Idaho missed open looks from all over the court and then on the flip side, Montana hit its open looks, as well as several contested, off-balance attempts late in the shot clock. UM’s Torry Hill capped off the first period with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Griz a 39-23 halftime edge.

“They were just throwing stuff at the end of the shot clock and it was going in, then we had our open looks – layups and threes – that we’re not hitting,” Newlee said. “When you take that combination, it’s brutal. You can just sense the momentum going as that’s happening.”

Hill led Montana with 19 points and three assists, while Katie Baker added 14 points, nine boards and three blocks. Kenzie De Boer scored 11 points for the Griz. UM added 14 steals in the game and blocked five shots.

With nine days before their next contest, a home matchup against Eastern Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 27, the key for the Vandal women is to rest up, revisit some key areas and to continue the young team’s growth.

“The break comes at a good time for us right now, both mentally and physically,” Newlee said. “We can get some of our sick people back, get some people healed up and have a great week of practice by the time we face Eastern.”
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