|Vandals come up just short|
SPOKANE, Wash. – Three University of Idaho players scored in double figures but it wasn’t quite enough to overcome a 13.8 percent first-half of shooting as the Vandals fell to No. 25 Gonzaga, 64-56, in the first round of the Women’s NIT basketball tournament Friday night.
The Vandals fell behind 26-14 at the half after struggling from the field but came back with a 12-2 run to start the second half and put the pressure on the Bulldogs, setting the stage for a furious second-half battle that wasn’t decided until Jazmine Redmon’s two free throws with 32 seconds to play.
“Our effort was great,” said Idaho coach Jon Newlee, whose team is coming off a WAC championship season. “Our execution wasn’t great … but it’s the first game of the year.”
Where Newlee saw promise as in the Vandals’ ability to successfully alter the game at halftime.
“I liked the fact that our veterans were able to take the halftime adjustments – take things we haven’t practiced this year but stuff we ran last year,” Newlee said. “Our adjustments by our players were fantastic.”
Newlee pinpointed the difference in the game as the difference in rebounding. While it wasn’t lopsided (GU 53, Idaho 48), it was the Vandals’ inability to prevent Gonzaga from pulling down 17 offensive boards that hurt.
“Their putbacks were the difference in the game,” he said.
For Idaho, Alyssa Charlston had 15 points and nine rebounds, while Christina Salvatore had 14 points (which includes four 3s) and Stacey Barr had 10 points and four rebounds.
Haiden Palmer led all scorers with 18 points for Gonzaga and Kiara Kudron and Lindsay Sherbert had 11 boards each.