|Vandals Ready for Cardinals|
IOWA CITY—For the second consecutive season the Idaho Vandals will represent the Western Athletic Conference in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The Silver and Gold will take on third-seeded Louisville on Sunday (2:30 p.m. PT, ESPN).
Idaho (25-8), currently in the midst of an eight-game winning streak, enters the NCAA Tournament as a No. 14 seed this time around. Last season the Vandals won the WAC Tournament and drew a No. 16 seed in the bracket.
“I think last year there was a lot of hoopla around being the first time [in the tournament] in 29 years,” head coach Jon Newlee stated. “I think this year is more business-like. We have been able to get a lot more accomplished in practice.”
The Vandals have put together their best season since 1984, when they first made the NCAA Tournament. Idaho entered conference play an even .500 (7-7), before ripping off 10 consecutive conference-wins. The Vandals suffered their only WAC loss at home against Bakersfield, finishing the conference season 15-1.
Idaho has been very good this season from beyond the arc. The Vandals are 15th in the nation, averaging 8.6 three-point field goals per game. Sophomore Christina Salvatore set school-record with 89 three-pointers this season, breaking her old record of 87 set last year. As a team Idaho has drilled 285 shots from long range, shattering the old record of 266 (2012-13). Salvatore is 38th in the NCAA with 2.7 3FG per game. Junior Stacey Barr, the WAC Player of the Year, has hit 2.33 three-pointers per game. Both Salvatore and Barr are on pace to become the all-time leader in three-point field goals. Barr has hit 194 in her three-year career, ranking third all-time. Salvatore is fourth all-time, hitting 176 in just two seasons. Kelli Johnson (1994-98) holds the school-record with 207 career three-pointers.
Louisville (30-4) is led by Shoni Schimmel, who averages 17.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. She was named a Naismith semifinalist and was also named to the Wade and Wooden Lists.
The winner of the Idaho-Louisville game will play the winner of the No. 7 LSU/No. 10 Georgia Tech game on Tuesday