Vandal women hand UND 2nd Big Sky loss - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Vandal women hand UND 2nd Big Sky loss

Courtesy: Idaho Athletics Courtesy: Idaho Athletics

Idaho Athletics

MOSCOW, Idaho—The Idaho women's basketball team got another shot a taking down a top Big Sky opponent on Saturday. The Vandals, coming off a hard loss to top-seeded Northern Colorado on Thursday, bounced back with a much needed 74-61 win over North Dakota.

How it Happened
Idaho (13-11, 8-5 BSC) jumped on the Fighting Hawks early in the contest. North Dakota registered the game's first basket, marking its only lead of the day. Idaho answered with a Brigitte O'Neill 3-pointer, sparking a 10-0 run for the Vandals. The Silver and Gold shot 60 percent from the field in the first 6:12, getting out to a 16-9 advantage. Mikayla Ferenz put in 10 of Idaho's 21 points, helping the Vandals to a 21-15 lead.

The Vandals claimed an 11-point lead midway through the second quarter, 31-20. North Dakota would knock it down to nine with 3:51 left in the half. Jumpers from O'Neill and Karlee Wilson increased Idaho's advantage to 13, 35-22, inside the final minute. North Dakota made good on the last shot of half, cutting the score back to 35-24.

Ferenz had 15 points for Idaho at the break, shooting 60 percent from the field. Idaho came out aggressive on the glass in the first half, out-rebounded North Dakota 28-18.

The Vandal offense continued on an upward trend in the third quarter.  Wilson and Ferenz combined for a 6-0 start the second half, pushing the Vandal lead to 17. A pair of free throws from Geraldine McCorkell put the Vandal lead at 21 points, 51-30, with 3:16 to play in the quarter. Idaho went 10-for-10 from the charity stripe in the quarter, while holding UND to just 12 total points.

North Dakota (16-8, 11-2) broke through offensively in the final quarter, outscoring Idaho 25-17. The Vandals gained their largest lead of the day, 62-38, with 8:31 to play. UND cut the deficit down to 14, 69-55, by the 3:37 mark. The push by the visitors proved too little too late, as Idaho get the lead back up to 15 in the final minute, sealing the deal.

Three Vandals finished in double figures, led by Ferenz's 27 points. The sophomore guard also closed with six rebounds and four assists. Taylor Pierce went 6-of-11 from the field with two 3-pointers to hit 17 points. Wilson finished up 8-for-8 from the free-throw line, helping her to 16 points. The senior also led the game with eight assists.

The Idaho defense.

North Dakota entered the day second in the Big Sky, averaging 42.9 rebounds per game. Idaho wrapped up the day with a 46-33 advantage on the board, leading to 19 second chance points for Idaho. McCorkell led the charge for the Vandals with 12 total rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench. Ferenz snagged four of her rebounds on the offensive glass.

The Vandals scored 13 points off UND's 12 turnovers. Idaho also tied a season-high with five blocks.

The Vandals have now gone 285 consecutive games with a 3-pointer…Idaho tied a season-high with 17 free throws made…Idaho hit just five 3-pointers, second fewest this season…Idaho's 16 3-point attempt tied for the fewest this season…Ferenz now owns four of Idaho's top five scoring performances of the season…Pierce now is at 150 career 3's, sixth all-time…Ferenz is on her heels with 145, seventh all-time.

Head Coach Jon Newlee
On Idaho's rebounding
"If you are going to beat North Dakota you have to win that [rebounding] battle, or be close anyway. I thought we really challenged our team to get on the glass after Thursday. They took it to heart. I thought as a team we did a fantastic job of getting on the glass."

On Mikayla Ferenz
"She did a great job of attacking the rim. They are going to be pressed up against her because she can shoot the 3 so well. She also does a good job of getting to the rim. She got four free throws tonight, but finished a bunch of nice drives. That is what she is going to need to do to relieve some of the pressure teams are going to put on her."

On Karlee Wilson
"I thought Karlee had a monster game. She kept us together. Her defense was fantastic. She distributed the basketball, finished at the rim and made all her free throws. Huge game from Karlee. I do not expect that kind of game from her every night, but I know what she means to our team. She showed up big time tonight."

Sophomore Mikayla Ferenz
On Karlee Wilson
"It is nice when she gets this kind of recognition. I feel like she does all the little stuff us that people do not really notice, or it does not show up on the stat sheet. To get that kind of recognition today is really great.
"She makes it so much easier. I know that when I am cutting or coming of a screen Karlee is going to give it to me on time and on target."

Senior Karlee Wilson
On physicality of the game
"They [UND] come in with pretty much four posts players. Some of us guards are guarding a post. We have to be able to block them out and rebound. We knew it was going to be a physical game and we were going to have to match their physicality from the start. I think we did that today."

The Vandals have one game left in the current home stand. Idaho will host Eastern Washington next Saturday, Feb. 18. EWU beat Northern Colorado on Saturday. The Eagles are fourth in the Big Sky with a 9-4 record.

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