This Vandal team has a very clear identity. They shoot a lot and more than enough of those shots go in so Idaho can drown their opponents with volume.
That strategy has obviously worked well for the last eight games. The team has taken it to a whole new level recently.
Since Idaho’s nail-biter against Portland State, the Vandals have put up 101, 85 and 95 points, in large part due to impressive shooting performances.
In their last three games, Idaho has shot at least 47.6 percent from the field and topped out with a 53.1 percent 3-point shooting night against Montana State. Even in the anomaly game against Portland State, Idaho was able to pull out a win. Now fans are starting to see just how dominant this team can be when every single piece of the machine is running smoothly.
Against Sacramento State, the Vandals shot 47.6 percent from the field. Junior guard Taylor Pierce hit six threes, while senior post Geraldine McCorkell had open shots all night and finished 7-10 from the floor.
Idaho never trailed against Eastern Washington, in large part because the team shot 50.9 percent from the field and never gave the Eagles a chance. McCorkell and junior guard Mikayla Ferenz combined for 10-17 3-point shooting and combined for 55 points.
The Vandals’ last matchup with Montana State further proved that this team is on a shooting streak that guides their wins. Idaho shot better than 50 percent from the field and from beyond the arc. Ferenz shot 9-13 from the field and 7-10 overall. Pierce added 20 points on 7-12 shooting. Senior post Nejra Solo continued her ascendance with a 13-point night.
“We really brought it offensively, and I thought it was our best ball movement all year with 22 assists,” Idaho Head Coach Jon Newlee said in a news release. “Everybody got involved. It wasn’t just one person.”
Idaho has been able to rely on a number of deadly shooters on any given night. That is why this team has been so successful.
Fans knew this team would shoot coming into the season. They are now just starting to prove how deadly they can be.
Idaho now has easily the best scoring offense in the conference, with 74.8 points per game. Their only foreboding matchup left on the schedule is a date with Idaho State on Feb. 22. The Bengals comes in right behind Idaho at third in the conference, but more importantly they could give the Vandals fits.
Idaho State possesses the best defense in the conference, allowing only 61.8 points per game while allowing a conference-low 36.9 field goal percentage. They also do a great job of scoring, with shooting better than the Vandals from the field and one percent less than Idaho from beyond the arc.
Yet despite all of that, the numbers say that Idaho is close to unbeatable right now.
Nine wins in a row does not happen by accident. This team has proven that they can rely on a number of deadly scorers and easily put up 80 points or more. It has been more than a month since any team has beaten Idaho, and the shooting tear this team is on suggests that their run won’t end anytime soon.
Jonah Baker can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @jonahpbaker