Vandals Win in Thriller Over Seattle U - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Vandals Win in Thriller Over Seattle U

Christina Salvatore and the Idaho Vandals topped Seattle U on Monday. (Photo: Idaho) Christina Salvatore and the Idaho Vandals topped Seattle U on Monday. (Photo: Idaho)

By Idaho Athletics

MOSCOW, Idaho-The Idaho Vandals got its first lead over Seattle U on Monday night with 16.2 left in the contest. Sophomore Geraldine McCorkell's go ahead 3-pointer brought Memorial Gym to its feet, giving Idaho a 62-60 lead. She capped off the win with a pair a free throws as Idaho defeated the Redhawks, 64-60.

McCorkell scored 20 of her career-high 22 points in the second quarter, helping the Vandals overcome an 11-point deficit in the third quarter. The sophomore from Melbourne, Australia, was 6-of-10 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range in the second half. She added four blocks and three steals, both career-highs, to her line.

"It was definitely one of the most exciting games I've played," McCorkell. "The last couple of shots I just saw my opportunity and luckily they went in."

Idaho (3-0) used a 13-0 run to close the final 1:49. Seattle U was 0-for-2 in that stretch with two turnovers. Senior Christina Salvatore started the run for the Vandals, hitting her fourth 3 of the night. McCorkell followed up with a 3 of her own to cut the Redhawk lead to 60-57 with 1:27 to play. Salvatore brought Idaho to within one with 59 seconds to go. Kaylee Best missed a jumper for Seattle U with 37 seconds on the clock and Salvatore secured the rebound. McCorkell stepped back at the top of the arch and launched the go ahead shot that found the bottom of the net with 16.2 to play.

"The last 1:40 was crazy," head coach Jon Newlee commented. "We were getting great looks [all night], we just could not throw it the ocean from a boat. It was one of those days. We responded as team and executed perfectly."

Wilma Afunugo got stuffed by McCorkell on the following possession and Connie Ballestero got the rebound and a timeout. The Redhawks fouled McCorkell and she hit both free-throws the close out the win.

"It is always a battle with Seattle." Newlee added "I see them winning the WAC. They are a really good team. Our rivalry with them has been tremendous the past few years. I really thought our team showed championship heart today to pull this out."

Seattle U (2-3) opened the game with a 15-10 advantage in the first quarter. Idaho outscored SU in the second quarter, 18-7, but trailed 32-28 at the half. The Redhawks shot 40.7 percent across the first two quarters, while Idaho struggled to find the basket with a 29.7 field goal percentage.

Salvatore finished the game 4-of-11 from long range, helping her to 14 points. She added a game-high four steals. Karlee Wilson helped keep Idaho close with her three steals in the first quarter. Idaho totaled 21 points of Seattle U turnovers.

Idaho's bench played a major role in the win, outscoring Seattle U 19-9. Renae Mokrzycki started her nigh 3-for-3, extending her consecutive mad field goal streak to 11. She ended the night with eight points (4-of-6) and three assists. Freshmen Taylor Pierce added eight points and Mikayla Ferenz totaled three from the bench.

"Being 3-0 is really good for our confidence," McCorkell stated. "We have learned what we need to keep improving on as we continue to grow."

The Vandals now head to Cancun, Mexico to take part in the Cancun Challenge. Idaho will open play with No. 14 Duke on Nov. 26. The Vandals will also face Texas State and Iowa State.

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