A great season came to a lackluster conclusion Saturday.
The Vandals (19-13, BSC 13-6) fell to Northern Colorado (25-6, BSC 15-3) by a score of 91-69 in the Big Sky tournament final.
Idaho’s season came to an end after being beaten at their own game. Northern Colorado more than doubled Idaho’s production from beyond the arc. The Vandals finished 6-16 from 3-point range, but the Bears hit an astonishing 14 threes on 25 attempts.
The game remained close throughout the first quarter, with both teams trading the lead until a Northern Colorado three gave the Bears the lead at the end of the quarter.
Idaho retook the lead with a layup from junior guard Mikayla Ferenz with 6:32 left in the second quarter, but Northern Colorado quickly struck back and never relinquished the lead. By the end of the half, the Bears had built up a 12 point lead.
Things would only get worse from there.
The Bears went on a 14-2 run in the third quarter to establish a stranglehold on the game. Despite the best efforts of Ferenz, junior guard Taylor Pierce and senior post Geraldine McCorkell, Northern Colorado shot 64 percent from the field in the third quarter as they widened their lead.
Northern Colorado held a 20-point lead for most of the fourth quarter, even as the Vandals hit seven of their last nine field goals.
The Vandals had no answer for Northern Colorado junior guard Savannah Smith. Smith led all scorers with 34 points on 11-18 shooting and 5-6 3-point shooting. She also led the Bears with eight assists.
Ferenz finished with 18 points on 8-18 shooting to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Pierce matched her with another 18 points and shot 4-7 from 3-point range.
McCorkell tallied 20 points and nine rebounds in the final game of her college career. Senior post Nejra Solo added four points and four rebounds in what was also her last game.
Idaho finished the season second in Big Sky regular season standings and postseason tournament.
Jonah Baker can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @jonahpbaker