A road trip proved to be just what the Idaho women’s basketball squad needed to pick up a win. The Vandals traveled to Portland State Saturday where they scored a season-high 101 points in the 101-90 victory.
The win snapped the Vikings five-game winning streak and ended the Vandals two-game losing streak.
“We were really running our stuff well from the get-go,” Idaho head coach Jon Newlee said in a news release. “It was just an overall great team performance. I thought everybody stepped up. I just told them that. It was a total team effort. I am really proud of this team.”
Junior guard Mikayla Ferenz got things rolling for Idaho in the opening minute draining a 3-pointer to grab a lead the team would not relinquish for the entirety of the 40-minute contest.
Portland State kept the Vandals on a relatively short leash throughout the opening quarter. Idaho found a way to break free at the end of the first, pushing its advantage out to 13 points to hold a 25-12 lead.
The first quarter was one of strong defense and hot shooting for the Vandals. The defense kept the Vikings off the score board for several minutes into the game while hitting 56 percent of their own shots, including six 3-pointers.
“I absolutely loved our start. I think we were still stinging from that start in Sacramento. I thought we did a great job of bouncing back. We came out with high energy and executed as well as we have all year on both offense and defense,” Newlee said.
Idaho only continued to push build out its lead as the second quarter progressed. Another trey ball from Ferenz stretched the margin out to 35-20 just three minutes into the quarter.
The home team was able to reign in the Vandals fractionally, but Idaho still went into the half on top 46-39.
Sharp shooting paved the way for the Silver and Gold in the opening half. The duo of Ferenz and junior guard Taylor Pierce hit 10 of Idaho’s 11 shots from beyond the arc with Ferenz hitting 6-8 and Pierce with 4-9.
The second half looked similar to that of the first. Idaho maintained a consistent lead over the Vikings.
Both teams shot well in the third. Idaho knocked down 68 percent of its shots from the floor while Portland State also found success, hitting 56 percent and cutting the Idaho lead to just five points with a 3-ball from Corey James. This is the closest the Vikings would come to catching their opponents all game.
Ferenz kept the bench warm in the fourth with four fouls, so the Vandals turned to senior post Geraldine McCorkell to fill the gap. McCorkell hit 13 points in just seven minutes of play in the final quarter. The senior finished the game with 23 points and seven boards.
“Geri was huge for use in the fourth when Mik (Ferenz) got in some foul trouble. I loved seeing our senior captain respond to adversity and dominate when we needed her to. Total team effort tonight. I am very proud of the entire team today.”
A 3-pointer from Pierce midway through the fourth quarter pushed the Idaho advantage back out to 15 points. The Vikings attempted to chip away at the Vandal lead, but could not pull it any closer than 11 points. Idaho walked away with a 101-90 win.
Three of Idaho’s five starters, Ferenz, McCorkell and Pierce combined for 84 of Idaho’s 101 points.
Ferenz hit another season-high 39 points, just two points short of her career and school record 41 points, set last year against Northern Arizona. The junior hit eight 3-pointers, just one short of the school record nine, held already by Ferenz and Pierce. She also contributed seven assists on the night.
Pierce knocked down 22 points and a team high eight boards.
The Vandals look to carry the momentum into their rivalry game against Eastern Washington 5 p.m. Friday in Cheney, Washington in the first part of the Idaho vs. Eastern Washington double-header.
Meredith Spelbring can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @mere0415