Idaho Streak Ends At Three, Vandals Fall 60-58 At UTA
ARLINGTON, Texas – A good look at a would-be game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer was just off the mark, and the Idaho women's basketball team fell 60-58 at UT Arlington in Western Athletic Conference play on Thursday night.
Idaho trailed 59-55 before Krissy Karr's second-chance 3-pointer made it a one-point game with six seconds left. After UTA's Laila Suleman missed the second of two free throws and the rebound bounced out of bounds, Idaho had four seconds to go the length of the court to try to tie or win the game, trailing 60-58. Connie Ballestero made a half-court pass to Alyssa Charlston, who found Stacey Barr cutting on the wing. Barr then found Christina Salvatore in the corner for a wide-open 3-pointer, but the shot bounced off the iron and out as time expired.
"You're going to have your not-so-great games, and that happened tonight and we almost won it," Idaho coach Jon Newlee said after the game. "We ran that play at the end to perfection. We had our best 3-point shooter wide open. It shouldn't come down to that, but it did and unfortunately it didn't go down, but I have full confidence Christina will knock that down next time."
It was a cold shooting night for Idaho, which hit just 21-of-65 shots (32.3 percent) and 10-of-33 3s in the game. Meanwhile, the Mavericks shot 43 percent and out-rebounded Idaho 43-41. The loss snaps Idaho's three-game win streak, and drops the Vandals to 12-13 overall and 9-5 in WAC play. UTA improves to 5-18 overall and 3-10 in the WAC.
Charlston entered the game with 997 career points, and it didn't take her long to get to 1,000. Less than a minute into the game she hit a 3-pointer to become Idaho's 18th all-time 1,000-point scorer. She finished the game with a team-high 17 points and had her eighth double-double of the season by adding 10 rebounds.
Salvatore scored 11 points and her three 3-pointers in the game leave her just one shy of tying Idaho's single-season record of 76, set by Susan Woolf in 1998-99. But the freshman from Anaheim, Calif., never found her shooting rhythm, as she went 4-of-18 from the field and 3-of-13 from 3-point range.
Karr scored a season-high 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Ballestero finished with seven assists and five rebounds for Idaho, and Stacey Barr had five assists and no turnovers.
UTA was playing its first game under interim head coach Karen Blair. Former head coach Samantha Morrow resigned earlier in the week after learning her contract would not be renewed after the season.
"With the coaching change this week, their kids played their hearts out," Newlee said. "They played with a huge sense of urgency, and hats off to them. I'm disappointed in our effort tonight. I didn't feel like we played with a sense of urgency until about six minutes left."
Led by 6-foot-1 post Desherra Nwanguma, UTA dominated down low. The Mavs out-scored Idaho 30-18 in the paint and Nwanguma scored 27 points on 12-of-17 shooting.
"It was a football game," Newlee said of the physicality of the game. "If it's going to be a football game then we need to play football. We need to be tougher. We need to respond.
"As disappointing as this loss is, we need to regroup, and wake up tomorrow morning and know that we need to play with a great sense of urgency on Saturday and get more physical, because LA Tech is going to watch film tomorrow and I know exactly what they're going to do."
The Vandals visit Louisiana Tech on Saturday for a 5 p.m. (PT) tipoff.
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