Vandals Lose In Heart Breaking Fashion - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Vandals Lose In Heart Breaking Fashion

by Idaho Athletics Media Relations

CHENEY, Wash.—The University of Idaho had the ball in the final seconds and got a good look at the basket. In the end the Vandals last second shot did not bounce Idaho’s way, falling to Eastern Washington in an 85-84 heartbreaker.

The Silver and Gold overcame a 17-point first-half deficit to climb back into the game on Saturday night. The Vandals entered the second half trailing, 52-43.

“When the ball gets thrown up to start a basketball game, they need to be ready to play,” head coach Jon Newlee commented. “That is my job and apparently we were not ready to play. That is on me. We were not there in the first half defensively. We didn’t have the energy or the effort and it cost us the game.”

EWU (2-5) shot 62.5 percent (20-of-32) in the first 20 minutes to jump out in front of the Vandals. The Vandals put together an 18-10 run to close out the final 4:46, helping to trim the lead. Senior Alyssa Charlston put in 10 of her 15 first half points in the closing run. Junior Stacey Barr hit two three-point shots before the half came to a close.

Idaho (7-5) came out in the second half with a chip on its shoulder. The Vandals started the first five minutes on a 13-0 run to overtake the Eagles, 56-52. Barr opened the second half with a momentum-shifting three-point basket, setting the tone for the remainder of the game.

“I told them that they needed to come out with more energy and get out defensively in that second half,” Newlee said. “We were a completely different team in that second half. That is the frustrating part. We came from all the way down and had a chance to close it out and we did not get it done.”

Charlston was a work horse in the second half for the Vandals. She finished the night with a career-high 32 points. She recorded 17 points alone in the second, ending her double-digit scoring drought. Charlston had been held to single digit scoring numbers since scoring 28 points at Nevada.

“We were attacking and seeing the open lanes better in the second half,” Charlston said. “Our main goal was to push the ball in transition because we were tiring them out. I got some great looks from my teammates and took advantage of going up against the smaller guards.”

The Vandals extended their lead to six points off an Addie Schivo three-point play with 3:56 to play in the second half. With 1:50 left in the half Hayley Hodgins hit a shot from beyond the arch to cut the Vandals lead to 84-83. The two teams traded empty possessions with the clock ticking under a minute to go. With 3.7 seconds on the clock Aubrey Ashenfelter got her jumper to fall, putting the Eagles ahead 85-84.

Barr finished the game with 19 points and six rebounds. Freshman Brooke Reilly continued to impress in the post, finishing the night with nine points and four rebounds off the bench. Sophomore Ali Forde also added nine points and snagged nine boards.

The Vandals will return home on Dec. 21 when they play host to Wyoming at Cowan Spectrum. Tip-off is set for noon.

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