Idaho Women Use Team Effort To Take Down NAU 72-51 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Idaho Women Use Team Effort To Take Down NAU 72-51

Christina Salvatore and Idaho used a team effort to take down NAU Thursday night (Photo: Idaho) Christina Salvatore and Idaho used a team effort to take down NAU Thursday night (Photo: Idaho)

Idaho Athletics

A complete team effort helped Idaho overcome its season-high 22 turnovers Thursday night at the Walkup Skydome. Freshman Taylor Pierce, in her first-career start, was one of four Vandals with double figure scoring. She led all players with a game-high 14 points, helping Idaho to a 72-51 win over Northern Arizona.

“I thought this was an important game for us,” head coach Jon Newlee said following the win. “To start the road trip off right after falling at home to Eastern Washington was a step in the right direction for us tonight.”

Idaho (11-5, 3-1 BSC) got off to a relatively slow start in the first quarter, shooting just 4-for-17 from the field. The Vandal defense held its ground early, keeping Northern Arizona off the scoreboard for the game’s first 5:09. The Lumberjacks battled back in the quarter, using a 7-0 run to take a 14-13 lead at the end of the period.

Idaho began the second quarter, committing its eight turnover in the first minute of play. The two teams traded 3-pointers in the opening minutes, giving NAU a 17-16 lead with 6:40 left in the half. Mikayla Ferenz hit the first of her three 3’s with 6:11 on the clock, regaining the lead for good at 19-17. Karlee Wilson hit the Vandals’ fifth 3 of the quarter with 38 seconds to go to give Idaho a 32-27 lead at the half.

“Our turnovers were killing us,” Newlee explained. “It was weird. There was not a lot of pressuring from NAU. I just thought we were fumbling the ball. We were not very patient.”

NAU (5-10, 1-3 BSC) was gifted with 15 first-half turnovers by the Vandals. The Idaho defense limited the damage by the Lumberjacks, allowing just 10 points off the Vandal mishaps. The Vandals controlled the glass, out-rebounding NAU 27-12 in the first 20 minutes. The Silver and Gold continued to rebound in the second half, closing the game with a 51-33 advantage on the boards.

“I thought we did a much better job of rebounding tonight then we did against Eastern,” Newlee added. “We focused a lot on blocking out in practice since we got killed on the glass last week.”

Idaho’s first basket of the second half came off a quick 3 from Pierce, helping the Vandals to an 8-3 run. NAU would cut the Idaho lead down to four with 4:53 left in the third. Christina Salvatore hit her lone field goal of the night to put the Vandals back up by seven, igniting a 10-2 close to the third.  

Pierce was 2-for-3 from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter, hitting Idaho’s only 3’s in the frame. Her final 3 of the night put Idaho in front by 15, 60-45, with 4:52 to play. The Lumberjacks resorted to fouling in the final two minutes, sending the Vandals to the line six times down the stretch. Geraldine McCorkell closed the night with a pair of free-throws, giving the Vandals the 21-point victory.

Pierce led the Vandal charge with her 14 points. McCorkell was just 3-for-10 on the night, scoring nine of her 13 points from 3-point distance. Wilson notched a season-high 12 points, going a perfect 3-for-3 from long range. Ali Forde put in a quite 11 points for the Vandals, adding a game-high nine rebounds. Forde passed former Vandal Mary Raese on the night, moving into fifth all-time with 791 career rebounds.

The Vandals shot 15-of-18 from the free-throw line. Salvatore scored five of her eight points from the stripe. She added nine rebounds and a career-high seven assists to her line. McCorkell was a perfect 4-for-4 from the line, improving her streak to nine consecutive free-throws made. 

Idaho returns to action on Saturday, remaining on the road at Southern Utah.

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