Idaho women’s basketball is about to play in their second conference title game in three years against No. 1 seeded Northern Colorado Saturday.
It will be a battle of the top two teams in the conference, with a chance at a NCAA Tournament berth on the line.
Idaho comes into the game with two nail biting wins over Montana State and Portland state, a combined win margin of only seven points.
“Shooters shoot”— that is what junior guard Mikayla Ferenz said in a postgame interview after their win over Portland State. That is exactly what Ferenz and fellow splash sister junior guard Taylor Pierce are going to have to do in order to stop a hot Northern Colorado team.
If Idaho wins on Saturday, that will be their second Big Sky championship in two years, making them the queens of the Big Sky, respect that this team has definitely earned.
Northern Colorado will come in wanting to make a name for themselves as well.
Ending the regular season with a 25-6 record with conference MVP Savannah Smith, the Bears believe they have it all to win the Big Sky title.
On paper the matchup looks about dead even. Northern Colorado has the best free throw percentage in the conference as well as turnover margin, two crucial factors in a close game situations.
Idaho comes in as the second-best scoring offense in the conference and are deserving so. Like most games this season, it comes down to the big three – Ferenz, Pierce and senior post Geraldine McCorkell. Whatever pace of game those three lay out, the rest of the Vandal squad will follow.
The battle to watch out for is going to be Savannah Smith from Northern Colorado and Ferenz from Idaho. This is the Lebron vs. Kobe matchup of the Big Sky women’s basketball right now and Ferenz will try to show the conference that she was very well deserving of winning that Big Sky Most Valuable Player.
McCorkell will be one to keep an eye on as well. McCorkell is looking to help lead her team to a NCAA Tournament berth, an opportunity that would make a perfect ending to a remarkable senior season.
The storylines for Saturday’s game are everywhere and both teams want a shot at the coveted title. Expect a dogfight and a game where it comes down to the team who has the last possession.
Three months ago, it looked like the Vandals had no shot of competing for a tournament berth, but now this team battled adversity battled and just might have what it takes to pull one of the best turnarounds of the year.
Let’s just hope that the madness is only beginning.
Chris Deremer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @Cderemer_VN