|Vandals Open at No. 25 Gonzaga|
MOSCOW, Idaho—The University of Idaho women’s basketball team opens up the 2013-14 season Friday night at No. 25 Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash. The game is the first of three for the Vandals in the Preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
Idaho leads the all-time series against the Bulldogs, 20-14. Gonzaga and Idaho squared off last season in Spokane, resulting in a 97-62 Bulldog victory. The Vandals will be looking for their first win against a ranked opponent in program history.
“We are going to have to pick up on our transition defense,” head coach Jon Newlee said. “We are going to have to get back on defense and really improve our rebounding.”
In the last matchup between the two teams senior Alyssa Charlston led all scorers with 21 points. She was the only Vandal to reach double-digit scoring.
“It is a great opportunity for us to be in the Preseason WNIT,” Newlee commented. “It is a great honor for us and the program. It shows the respect we are getting around the country. We like everything about being in this tournament.”
The Vandals enter the 2013-14 season coming off a Western Athletic Conference Tournament Title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1985. Idaho returns all five starters from last season in Charlston, WAC Tournament MVP Stacey Barr, sophomores Ali Forde, Connie Ballestero and Christina Salvatore.
The Silver and Gold went 17-16 last season, finishing third in the WAC and were picked to finish second by both the conference’s coaches and media in 2013-14. This season the Vandals will host all eight WAC teams and four non-conference opponents highlighted by Wyoming on Dec. 21.
On the road this season Idaho will battle it out in non-conference play at San Diego (Nov. 26), Nevada (Nov. 29), Cal/Wake Forest (Nov. 30), Montana (Dec. 6), UC Irvine/Appalachian State (Dec. 7), Easter Washington (Dec. 14) and Texas (Dec. 28).
Friday’s game will tip off at 6:00 p.m. PT. The winner will go on to face the winner of Georgia State and Tennessee Martin on Monday, Nov. 10.