Vandals Impress but Ultimately Fall to Duke at Cancun Challenge - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Vandals Impress but Ultimately Fall to Duke at Cancun Challenge

Christina Salvatore and Idaho fell to Duke 74-68 on Thursday in Mexico. (Photo: Idaho) Christina Salvatore and Idaho fell to Duke 74-68 on Thursday in Mexico. (Photo: Idaho)

By Idaho Athletics

CANCUN, Mexico- Geraldine McCorkell led the Vandals with 18 points on Thursday to open the Idaho's stay at the Cancun Challenge. Christina Salvatore hit four third-quarter 3's to help Idaho get to within four points late in the fourth quarter against No. 12/15 Duke, falling 74-68 at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.

"We did a great job of executing the gameplan" head coach Jon Newlee said following the games. "Once we settled down and did not worry about the name on the chest across from us-we played Vandal basketball. It was a championship effort from us against the No. 12 team in the country."

Duke (4-1) jumped out to an 18-point lead in the first four minutes of the 3rd quarter. A pair of Connie Ballestero free-throws put an end to the Blue Devil's 10-0 run. Azura Stevens gave Duke a 19-point lead, 51-32, at the media timeout. Ali Forde and Salvatore combined for a 5-0 spurt for the Vandals to get Idaho rolling.

"It was a great comeback once we got down by so much," Newlee added. "It could have gone either way. We were either going to battle back or turn pale. This team has shown that we are going to keep on the attack and keep battling."

Idaho (3-1) cut the Duke lead to eight points at the end of the third half. McCorkell banked in a deep three at the buzzer to cut cap a 9-0 run in the final 57 seconds.    

The Blue Devlis pushed their lead back up to 11 off a Lynee Belton layin with 6:07 to play. Ballestero answered back immediately with a jumper, igniting a 7-0 Vandal run. Salvatore hit three freebies from the line to bring Idaho to within four with 4:51 to play.

Crystal Primm hit a 3, putting Duke up by eight with 2:45 to play. Both teams went scoreless over the next two minutes. An Angela Salvadores free-throw broke the scoreless drought moving Duke ahead by nine at 70-61. Freshman Taylor Pierce hit a 3 with 10 seconds to play to get Idaho within 6. Bethany Krause hit the first of two free throws down by seven, missing the second on purpose. Stevens got the rebound, closing out the game.

McCorkell added three steals and four rebounds to her 18 points. She finished 6-of-14 from the field and 3-of-9 from long distance. Salvatore totaled 15 points, going 4-of-11 from 3-point distance. She added a team-high nine rebounds to her line. Ballestero rounded out the Vandals double figure scorers with 13 points and a team leading five assists.

Stevens led the game with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Rebecca Greenwell totaled 17 points for the Blue Devils, while Primm added 13 points to go along with six rebounds.

Idaho draws Texas State on Friday. Tip-off is set for 8 a.m. PT.

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