|Vandals Conquer Warriors, 84-53|
MOSCOW, Idaho— Sophomore Ali Forde had her best performance of the season on Wednesday night. Forde recorded 14 points in Idaho’s 84-53 win over Lewis-Clark State in front of a packed Memorial Gym.
Forde was 4-of-6 in the first half, recording 10 points. She added nine rebounds in the opening half, finishing the night with season highs in points and rebounds (14). Wednesday marked Forde’s third career double-double.
“It was definitely a team thing,” Forde said following the win. “I got a lot of great passes from my team. The game plan was to look high-low. Our posts and guards did a great job of that tonight.”
Forde led the team with a season-high four blocks. The Vandals recorded a team best 10 blocks on the night.
“We thought we had an advantage inside with our length,” head coach Jon Newlee stated. “Ali loves to play defense. She loves to block shots and she got in a little defensive rhythm so to speak tonight. I thought she was a big presence inside of us.”
Senior Alyssa Charlston surpassed Mary Westerwelle (1982-86) for 10th on Idaho’s all-time scoring list. With her nine points against LCSC, Charlston now has 1,231 points. She is only five points removed from ninth.
Junior Stacey Barr continued where she left on Saturday for the Vandals. Barr hit a game-high five three pointers, propelling her to a game-best 19 points. Barr started the night scoring nine of the Vandals first 13 points in the midst of their 13-2 opening run.
“I call her [Barr] the microwave,” Newlee joked. “She’s sometimes really hot and sometimes off. She’s on a really good run this year. She has been a lot more consistent. When she takes good shots she can be deadly.”
Idaho (7-4) controlled the game from the opening tip. By the midway point in the first half the Vandals held a 25-7 lead. Sophomore Connie Ballestero hit her only basket of the night with 3:04 left in the first half to give the Vandals a 27 point lead, their largest of the first half. At the break Idaho lead by 24, 42-18.
Idaho shot 42.1 percent (16-of-38) from the floor in the first half, holding LCSC to eight field goals in the first 20 minutes. The Warriors who averaged 38.1 percent from beyond the arch coming into Wednesday were held to 1-of-15 (.067) in the first half. They finished just 4-of-25 (.160) from long distance.
Junior Maren Austgulen set new career-highs with 13 points and nine boards in just 14 minutes of play. Austgulen made a career-best six fields goals.
The Vandals tied a season high with 72 field goal attempts. Idaho made 31 field goals on the night, shooting 43.1 percent from the floor. Percentage wise, the Vandals recorded their best three-point shooting night of the season. Idaho converted 40 percent of its three-pointers, finishing the night 8-of-20.
Freshman Brooke Reilly recorded back-to-back double digit scoring numbers for the first time in her career. Reilly finished the night with 10 points, after recording 13 against Appalachian State.
“I thought tonight was a total team effort,” Newlee said. “We had 24 assists and really moved the ball well. We have a lot of people on the team that can score and everybody trusts each other. I thought we did everything we wanted to do tonight.”
The Silver and Gold next travel to Eastern Washington on Saturday to take on the Eagles. The game time was moved from 2:00 p.m. PT to 7:00 p.m. to accommodate EWU’s FCS playoff game.
Notes: The Vandals have made at least one three-point basket in 176 consecutive games…Idaho has reached the 80 point plateau four times this season…Four players scored in double digits for the sixth time this season…Idaho improves to 3-0 at home this season… Idaho’s last three wins have been by 20 points or more...It's the first time Idaho has won three games by 20 or more points since the 2010-11 season (four wins).