LARAMIE, Wyo. - A sub-par second half shooting performance was a glaring factor in the Idaho women's basketball team's 86-53 season-opening loss at Wyoming on Friday night.
The Vandals (0-1) shot just 22.2 percent (6-of-27) from the field in the second half and 28.8 percent (17-of-59) in the game, while Wyoming connected on more than 50 percent, 31-of-61 of its shots, including 59.3 percent in the second half. The Vandals went just 4-of-21 from 3-point distance, as Wyoming hit 7-of-19 3's.
With Alyssa Charlston, Idaho's leading scorer a season ago, on the bench for most of the first half with foul trouble, it was a pair of freshmen leading the way for the Vandals. Ali Forde led all players with 11 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end, and added seven points. Christina Salvatore was the Only Vandal to reach double-figures in scoring, finishing with 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting.
The Vandals started the game with turnovers on their first three possessions while the Cowgirls jumped out to a 7-0 lead. Idaho fought back to pull within 9-7 on Stacey Barr's jumper, but couldn't get any closer. Wyoming's lead stayed in single-digits for most of the first half, but a 3-pointer by Ashley Sickles made it an 11-point game, 35-24, with 2:11 in the half, and the Cowgirls took a 10-point, 37-27, lead into the break.
Needing a hot start in the second half, the Vandals got just the opposite. Wyoming hit three straight shots to expand its lead to 16 points before Idaho coach Jon Newlee was forced to call timeout. The Vandals regrouped to cut the lead to 10 at 47-37 with 15:35 to play, but Wyoming used a 9-0 run to put the Vandals away for good. The closest Idaho got to Wyoming the rest of the way was 14 points, when a pair of free throws by Charlston made it 60-46 with 10:30 to play. Wyoming's 33-point win was also its largest lead of the evening.
Idaho committed 15 turnovers in the game, which the Cowgirls converted into 23 points. Meanwhile, Idaho was only able to get eight points out of Wyoming's 13 turnovers. Wyoming held a 41-34 advantage on rebounds, but the Vandals had a 16-13 lead in offensive rebounds, and both teams scored 16 second-chance points.
Charlston finished with six points, all from the free throw line, and four rebounds in the game before fouling out in 19 minutes of play. Sophomore Krissy Karr had five points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal in the game, and Barr finished with seven points, all in the first half. Freshman Connie Ballestero had six points for Idaho, while Addie Schivo and Ashley Walters each scored four and Ana Overgaard had two. All 10 Idaho players who entered the game played at least 11 minutes.
The Vandals will face Colorado on Sunday at 1 p.m. (Pacific) before returning to Moscow for their home-opener against Portland on Nov. 16. Sunday's game will feature a free live online video stream at http://pac-12.com/live/cubuffs.aspx. It will also be broadcast on the radio on 1400 AM on the Palouse.