Vandals overcome slow start; rally past PSU 72-66 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Vandals overcome slow start; rally past PSU 72-66

Vandals Fall to Cardinal 86-80 Vandals Fall to Cardinal 86-80

Idaho Athletics

PORTLAND, Ore.—Idaho head coach Jon Newlee picked up win No. 142 at the helm of Idaho, tying Pat Dobratz for most on the all-time list, with the Vandals' 72-66 win at Portland State on Thursday. Idaho overcame another slow start, battling back from a 15-point first-quarter deficit to pick up its third straight Big Sky road win. 

How it Happened
Portland State (10-11, 4-5 BSC) seemed invincible at the start. The Vikings opened hot from the floor, hitting 10-of-18 in the period. Ashley Bolston led the Vikings, netting 12 of her 23 points in the quarter. Idaho stumbled out of the starting gate, hitting just three field goals in the frame. Taylor Pierce notched Idaho's first field goal at the 4:53 mark, ending a 0-for-8 start. Idaho found itself down 20-5, following a 7-0 run from the Vikings with 3:40 to play in the quarter.

Idaho (11-10, 6-4 BSC) got down by 15 again, 25-10, at the open of the second. A Mikayla Ferenz triple cut the Viking lead to single digits, 28-21, at the 5:21 mark. Pierce and Geraldine McCorkell hit back-to-back 3's in a 42 second span to get back to within two, 32-30. The pair would again hit from long range, using a quick 6-2 run to trail by two, 38-36, at the break.

The Vikings hit the first basket of the third to go up by four, 40-36. Ferenz followed up with the next four points, tying the game at 40 with 7:14 on the clock. A McCorkell 3 extended the run to 7-0 giving the Vandals their first lead. Two more baskets from Pierce and McCorkell pushed the run to 12-0, giving Idaho the 48-40 lead. The Vandals defense held strong in the quarter, limiting a cold Portland State offense to eight points. The Viks closed the quarter 2-of-15 from the field, as Idaho controlled the quarter.

Brigitte O'Neill hit Idaho's 15th 3 of the night with 6:32 left to play in the fourth, giving Idaho its largest lead of the game, 60-50. The Vikings used two 5-0 runs in the quarter to cut the Idaho lead to three, 65-62, with under three minutes to go. Karlee Wilson drilled a clutch 3-ball with 1:45 on the clock, solidifying the lead at 68-62. Idaho went 4-for-4 in the final 30 seconds from the free-throw line, to nail down the win.

McCorkell ended the night with her third double-double of the season. She went for 11 points and 10 rebounds in her 28 minutes. Pierce led Idaho with 19 points. Ferenz returned to double-figures, scoring 15 points to go with her game-high six assists.

Ashley Bolston led all players with 23 points for the Vikings. Michaela Kay closed the night with 10.    
 
Keys
Idaho's strong second-quarter rebuttal proved to be a huge boost over the rest of the night. The Vandals scored a game-best 26 points in the second, following up a 3-for-19 (15.8 percent) start with a much improved 9-for-19 (47.4 percent) showing from the field.

The Vandals long ball picked up in a big way in the second. Idaho hit eight of its 17 3's in the second. Pierce and McCorkell were both perfect from long range in the period, combining for five 3's. Ferenz's two field goals in the quarter all came from beyond the arc, while Bethany Krause also hit from deep.

The play on the boards also played an important role in the win. Idaho out rebounded Portland State, 44-38. The Vandals snagged a season-high 20 offensive rebounds, leading to 16 second-chance points. McCorkell snagged five of her game-high 10 boards on the offensive glass.
 
Notes
Idaho has now hit a 3-pointer in 282 consecutive games…McCorkell's sixth career double-double...with five 3's tonight Pierce moved into sixth all-time at Idaho with 145 career 3's…Ferenz remains eighth all-time with 135 3's…Thursday was the fifth time this season Idaho has hit 15 or more 3's in a game (17 tonight)…Idaho's 47 3-point attempts mark the second most in school-history (52 at Washington earlier this season)…Idaho is now 4-6 in games decided by 10 points or less this season…Idaho has now won three consecutive conference road games.

Quotes
Head Coach Jon Newlee

On tying Pat Dobratz for most wins in Idaho history
"It means I have had a lot of great players. My staff has not changed much, but we have had some fantastic assistant coaches. Certainly so much of the credit goes to Christa Sanford, who has been with me every step of the way. From playing for me at Hawaii and Idaho State to coaching championships with me at Idaho State and here. I certainly could not have done anything I have done in my coaching career without the help of Christa Sanford. She is amazing at what she does. I have been blessed to work with her all these years."

On Idaho's start
"It was crazy the way we started. I do not know. I guess we have not seen a zone all year. We certainly worked on it this week. Working on it against yourself and then having to get out against their [Portland State's] length—they are so long at spots and I think that kind of threw us off. Once we got the attacking mindset things went much better."

On offensive rebounding
"It won us the basketball game. We talked about being able to get on the offensive boards. These guys have giving up a lot of offensive boards to their last three opponents. I even mentioned 20. I told them, 'We have to get 20 offensive boards tonight.' I loved our effort from everybody on the offensive boards. Karlee [Wilson] had a couple of huge offensive boards in the second half, with a couple of huge steals."

Upcoming
The Vandals head south from here to close out the road trip at Sacramento State. The Hornets fell to 4-5 in the Big Sky, following a 72-65 loss to Eastern Washington. Saturday figures to be a 3-point shooting showcase. Sacramento State is second in the NCAA with 11.3 3FG per game, while Idaho is fourth with 10.2.

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

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