Once again, the Idaho women’s basketball team fell behind early against a conference opponent. But once again, the Vandals constructed a second half comeback full of sharp shooting and stifling defense. More school records fell at the hands of the Idaho offense as the Vandals defeated Northern Arizona 91-80 Saturday.
Sophomore guard Mikayla Ferenz set the Idaho record for points in a game with 41. She also tied the record for most 3-pointers in a game with nine. Ferenz finished the night 15-17 from the field.
“Unbelievable. Every time I looked up the ball was going in. (Ferenz) gets 41 points and only shoots two foul shots. She was attacking hard, running hard in transition,” Idaho head coach Jon Newlee said in a news release.
Despite the strong offensive performance by Idaho (9-9, 4-3), it was Northern Arizona (6-12, 2-5) that took an early lead.
By the end of the first quarter, the Lumberjacks led 26-18. Guard Kaleigh Paplow went a perfect 5-5 from the field to help keep Northern Arizona’s lead alive for most of the half.
Idaho’s attack from the outside slowly cut the Lumberjack’s lead. Ferenz and sophomore guard Taylor Pierce both sank four shots from the perimeter in the first half.
Ferenz played with determination after the break, shooting 9-9 in the second half. Meanwhile, Northern Arizona went cold when no player could make a 3-pointer.
Despite the shortcomings by the Lumberjacks, they kept the game tied at 60 at the end of the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Idaho took control of the game. Junior post Geraldine McCorkell nailed a long shot from the perimeter and Ferenz followed suit with two threes of her own. The fast-paced scoring proved to be the turning point in the game, as the Lumberjacks fell behind by nine points in less than a minute.
Idaho continued taking shots from outside, despite gaining the lead. This lead to the Vandals tying the school record for most 3-pointers in a game with 18. The record had been set two days earlier when the Vandals defeated Southern Utah.
After dropping a game to Idaho State at home, the Vandals were on the road for their last two victories. Newlee said he was impressed with his team’s mental toughness after a long bus ride down to Arizona.
“We needed to get a sweep. We dropped a tough one at home (Idaho State.) To make up for that you have to win on the road, get sweeps and do things like we did tonight. I am so proud of our girls. They fought through a tough trip,” Newlee said.
Idaho returns home for its next game against Montana State. The Vandals will tip-off against the Bobcats for the second time this season 6 p.m. Jan. 26 in Cowan Spectrum.
Brandon Hill can be reached at email@example.com on Twitter @brandonmtnhill