Vandals Cruise Past North Dakota in Big Sky Opener - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Vandals Cruise Past North Dakota in Big Sky Opener

Christina Salvatore finished 5-for-5 from long range, finishing one point shy of her career-high with a season-high 21 points. Christina Salvatore finished 5-for-5 from long range, finishing one point shy of her career-high with a season-high 21 points.

govandals.com

MOSCOW, Idaho — Nine first-half 3-pointers helped propel the Vandals to a 92-65 victory to open Big Sky play on Thursday. Idaho finished shooting a season-high 58.8 percent (10-for-17) from 3 on the day, keeping North Dakota at a distance from start to finish.

“We played hard—and that is what we wanted to do,” head coach Jon Newlee said following the victory. “We wanted to come out and really be able to defend. They are hard to guard. They run a lot of different things. They are extremely well coached. For us to come out and do the things we did defensively, really fueled our offense.”

Idaho (9-4, 1-0 BSC) started where it left off against Carroll College on Monday. Renae Mokrzycki hit two of the Vandals’ opening three baskets, a continuation of her perfect 6-for-6 in Monday’s win. North Dakota hit two early free throws, but the Vandal defense held the Fighting Hawks to a 0-for-5 start from the field. UND did not hit a field goal until the 4:09 mark of the first, trimming the Idaho lead to 12-4. A Christina Salvatore 3 gave Idaho a 21-9 lead in the final seconds of the first quarter. The senior was 4-for-4 from beyond the arch in the opening 10 min.

29 points from Idaho in the second quarter, including 12 off the bench from Geraldine McCorkell helped Idaho outscore the Hawks by 15 in the period. Idaho hit 5-of-7 shots from beyond the arch in the quarter, while outscoring UND, 12-6, in the paint. Senior Tayla Corrigan closed the scoring for the Vandals in the first half, giving the Vandals a 50-23 lead at the break.

A Connie Ballestero jumper gave the Vandals their largest lead at 35-points, 72-37, with one minute to play in the third quarter. UND and Idaho played evenly in the second half, with both teams totaling 42 points. The Hawks outscored Idaho in the fourth quarter, 23-16, with a majority of Idaho’s key contributors on the bench down the stretch. Idaho’s bench finished the day with a season-high 46 points.

“We have a really deep team, our shooters especially” Salvatore noted. “We have a next man up mentality. When you are called you go in and produce. I think we did a great job of that today. Everyone was able to contribute.”

Salvatore finished 5-for-5 from long range, finishing one point shy of her career-high with a season-high 21 points. She was able to help out on the boards as well, totaling seven rebounds. McCorkell led the Vandals bench with 20 points to go with three rebounds. Mokrzycki got out to a 4-for-4 start, before missing her first shot in two games. She closed the day with 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds.

UND (4-8, 0-1 BSC), got 11 points from Leah Szabla. The Hawks’ top two scorers, Mia Loyd and Makailah Dyer, were both held to just four points. The duo who began the day averaging 13.8 and 13.7 points, respectively, shot a combined 2-for-6 from the field.

The Silver and Gold totaled 24 points off 17 UND turnovers. Idaho outscored the Hawks in the paint, 36-32. Idaho held North Dakota to just two 3-pointers, an opponent season-low.

The Vandals will be back in action on Saturday, hosting Northern Colorado. First tip is set for 2 p.m. inside the Cowan Spectrum. Admission is free. 

For more information on Idaho Athletics, visit GoVandals.com.  Fans can also follow Idaho women’s basketball on Twitter, @VandalsWBB.

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