The battle in Reno continues for the Vandals against the formidable Vikings of Portland State.
The No. 2 seeded Vandals come into this matchup after edging out Montana State, who they dominated in their regular season bout.
After their first round bye, the Vandals were able to avoid sluggish form and maintain a lead against the Bobcats who were sent home back home to Bozeman.
Idaho finished the regular season flying much lower than they were during their mid-season nine game win streak. Regardless of the Vandals end to the season, they were still able to clinch the No. 2 seed in the big sky tournament.
Along with the two seed, the Vandals bring along their high-powered offense guided by junior guards Mikayla Ferenz and Taylor Pierce and senior post Geraldine McCorkell. All three of these highly efficient players pose threats to any opposition to the Vandals, look for them to make a difference in this matchup.
Everyone on the floor knows how dangerous the Vandal offense can be, proven most recently by the 14 3-point shots that fell against the Bobcats in the second round matchup.
While the Vandals bring a lot to the court, Portland State has given them a bit of trouble this season. While Idaho came out victorious during both regular season meetings, they were certainly not stress-free wins.
The first matchup between the two teams included 101 points from Idaho in an 11-point victory, closer than most would want. The second matchup, however, was only decided by one point as the Vandals won 61-60.
Not only have the Vikings given Idaho anxiety in their previous matchups, but they are also coming off an upset victory against the No. 3 seeded Eastern Washington Eagles. It would be ignorant to think that Portland State is not upset minded, again, with the Vandals in their crosshairs this time.
While this will be the Vandals second game in the tournament due to their first round bye, they still look to coast off of their second round victory.
After the victory against Montana State, Idaho Head Coach Jon Newlee said in a news release it is to come out of a bye excited and ready to play in order to assuage any worries.
“You always worry when you get the bye how you are going to come out and start,” Newlee said. “I thought we came out with a lot of energy, shot the ball well and defended fantastically. I think that really set the tone for us.”
Coming out strong will be equally important for the Vandals in this matchup in order to diminish any ideas that Portland State has of an upset.
Clay McKinley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org