Idaho Women Grind Out Win Over Wyoming - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Idaho Women Grind Out Win Over Wyoming

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Ali Forde had a team-high 19 points to go with her 13 rebounds and season-high five blocks in the win over Wyoming. Ali Forde had a team-high 19 points to go with her 13 rebounds and season-high five blocks in the win over Wyoming.

by Idaho Athletics

MOSCOW, Idaho- The Vandals continued to stay in the win column on Saturday, defeating the Wyoming Cowgirls, 61-57, in the Cowan Spectrum. The Cowgirls pushed the Vandals to the limit, forcing the game to be won from the free-throw line. The Vandals hit five freebies in the final 33 seconds to move to 7-1 on the season.

Saturday marked the closest game the Vandals have played this season. The Cowgirls outscored the Vandals in three of the four quarters, including a 33-26 advantage over the final two quarters. The difference maker for Idaho was its second quarter. The team outscored Wyoming 20-8 to take a 35-24 lead at the break.

"I liked our first half," head coach Jon Newlee said following the win. "Certainly our second quarter, we were really able to bring it on both ends of the floor. I do not think we made great decisions in the open floor. If we had done a better job of that we might have been able to break away. To their credit Wyoming is a tough team. We knew we were going to have to grind this one out."

Ali Forde totaled a team-high 19 points to go with her 13 rebounds and season-high five blocks. She took control in the second quarter scoring eight points, going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. She totaled 14 of Idaho's 32 points in the paint. Forde also passed Mary Westerwelle (1982-86) for second on Idaho's all-time block list, finishing the game with 193 career blocks.

"Ali was a monster tonight without a doubt," Newlee exclaimed. "She got after it. We knew we would have a bit of an advantage inside, so it was part of the gameplan. She took it hard to the rim and was finishing. It was just monster game from Ali."

The Silver and Gold opened its largest lead of the game, 32-20, off a Mikayla Ferenz 3-pointer with 3:24 to play in the second quarter. Wyoming put together an 11-5 run to cut the lead in half, 37-31, with 6:54 to play in the third quarter. A Bailee Cotton three-point play slimed the Idaho advantage to two at 54-52 with 4:21 remaining in regulation.

The Vandals regained a four-point advantage off a pair for free-throws from Karlee Wilson with 2:45 left to play. Jordan Kelley missed a jumper on the Cowgirls next possession and Geraldine McCorkell snagged the defensive rebound with 2:15 to go. The Vandals were able to hold onto the ball thanks to four consecutive offensive rebounds, running the clock down to 52 seconds before the Cowgirls could gain possession.  
"Different people hitting the boards was huge [in the final minutes]," Newlee added. "Mikayla Ferenz flying in there was big on that possession. That was one of the turning points for us. Wyoming was right behind us. For us to keep those possessions was big."

"Towards the end of the game you have to get boards," Forde added. "Mikayla was just in there getting after it. I got a couple. It was great."

Marquelle Dent cut the Idaho lead to three with a 3-pointer with 17.7 second to play. McCorkell hit 1-of-2 from the stripe after getting fouled with 15 seconds to go. A pair of Dent free-throws brought Wyoming back to within two, 59-57, with 10 seconds to play. Connie Ballestero iced the victory with a pair of free-throws, putting Idaho in front by four with nine seconds to play.

"We knew we had to come out hard," McCorkell noted. "Wyoming is a great team. We had to come out with a lot of intensity, stop a couple of their really good scorers and lock down on defense."

Idaho totaled a season-high 50 rebounds, besting Wyoming by three on the day. The Vandals were able to grab 16 offensive boards, helping outscore the Cowgirls in second-chance points, 11-2. Forde's five blocks led the defense. Renae Mokrzycki added a career-high four blocks and McCorkell tallied a lone rejection, helping the Vandals to a season-best 10 blocks.

McCorkell was the lone Vandal to join Forde in double figures. She a totaled 11 points and 11 rebounds, posting her third double-double of the season. Mokrzycki added eight points and three rebounds off the bench.

The Vandals hit the road next week for two games against Big 5 opponents. Idaho will be in Lubbock, Texas to take on Texas Tech on Wednesday and will head back west to play No. 7 Oregon State next Saturday.

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