|Vandals Set to Close WNIT|
MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho women’s basketball team will play two games in Chicago over the weekend to close out the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The Vandals will square off with Mount St. Mary’s on Friday and will play either Loyola University Chicago and Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne on Saturday at the Joseph J. Gentile Arena on the Loyola campus.
“I think Mount St. Mary’s is incredibly tough,” head coach Jon Newlee said at practice on Wednesday. “They bring back four starters from a team that finished extremely well last year in a tough league. They are a very physical team inside and they have some athleticism at the guards.”
Idaho is coming off a strong showing against No. 25 Gonzaga. Senior Alyssa Charlston led the Vandals with 15 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Christina Salvatore recorded 14 points thanks to her four made three-point field goals. Idaho led the Bulldogs for a stretch in the second-half of last Friday’s game and hope to take that determination into the final two games of the tournament.
“We are going to have to defend like we did up in Spokane,” Newlee stated. “I think that intensity level has to be there. We are going to have to block out that much better and we are going to have to take better care of the basketball in order to win up there.”
Mount St. Mary’s opened the Preseason WNIT at Saint Joseph’s with an 85-57 loss. The Mountaineers played a tight game against Davidson on Tuesday, dropping the bout 83-82. In two games this season MSM is averaging 69.5 points per game and 31.5 rebounds per game. The Mount returns four of its top five scorers from last year including scoring leaders Sydney Henderson (13.3 ppg) and Jacqueline Brewer (10.0 ppg). Last season Mount Saint Mary’s finished 15-16 and made it to the semifinals of the Northeast Conference Tournament.
For Idaho Friday and Saturday's games will be the first in series history, having never matched up with the three teams in its pod.
Friday’s tipoff is set for 3:00 p.m. PT. Saturday’s game times will be determined after play concludes on Friday. The Vandals will either play at 4:30 p.m. against Loyola or at 7:00 p.m. against IPFW.