Many things could be said about Idaho’s 89-72 take down of Portland State. It would be easy to talk about the fact that the Vandals held a 21-point lead over the Vikings. It would also be easy to say they went 53.8 percent from beyond the arc with 14 3-pointers, a record tie under Idaho head coach Don Verlin in Division I who had 14 in 2008 at South Dakota State.
While all of those facts are impressive, something still managed to top the list.
I am a full believer in the importance of a strong bench and not putting the entire spotlight on one player. This is one of the reasons Idaho basketball games, both men and women, are so entertaining to watch.
The team depth and dynamic makes every minute of each game exciting. Fans know that whoever is on the court is capable of making big plays and scoring points.
This is not to say I don’t appreciate the “all-star player.” In fact, it is kind of hard to not get excited about a player who can break records, both school and personal, and put up 40-point games or more. After all, there is a reason there are so many Golden State Warrior fans.
Even more exciting? Both junior guard Victor Sanders and sophomore guard Mikayla Ferenz have been blowing away their own records as well as putting themselves high up on several leaderboards.
After a big win at home and a 40-point game, Sanders not only set a new career high for himself but also put his name on several lists. He went 7-10 from the 3-point range, which gives him the seventh spot for most made 3’s in a single game in program history. He also comes in at No. 7 on the list of most points made in a single game.
All this less than two weeks after another Vandal star had a night of her own. Idaho hit the road to take on Northern Arizona, where they defeated the opponents 91-80 behind Ferenz’s 41-points.
Ferenz went 15-17 in made field goals, tying the second most in program history. With 41points in a single night, Ferenz went beyond Idaho and the Big Sky Conference, landing herself on the national leader board. At the time of the game her 41-points are tied for No. 14 in the NCAA with her nine made 3-pointers landing her in a tie for second in the nation.
Two players making their mark on the program and national record boards? This might lead people to wonder what Moscow is putting in the water.
Both teams had high expectations for the season only to get off to a slower start. It would have been easy for both the men and women to ease off and lower expectations. Instead they seem to be doing the opposite, maybe even breaking out of their shells. With only eight games left before the Big Sky tournament begins, it is crunch time.
It is the time in the season for the athletes to give the game everything they have. And I think it is easy to say that breaking personal and school records is the perfect way to show they are doing exactly that.
Meredith Spelbring can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org