Idaho women’s basketball is now 0-4 this season against Power Five programs after taking a 77-33 loss to Arizona State Monday night.
Idaho head coach Jon Newlee said in a news release he commends the Arizona State defense.
“There is a reason they are in all the top-10 categories defensively,” Newlee said. “They are an elite Power-5 defense. They certainly brought it tonight. We got the full taste of that. We did not respond very well. Hopefully, we learned a few things. Great job by Arizona State.”
The opening minutes of the game was the only time Idaho would see a close score in the contest in Tempe. The Sun Devils jumped on the board early in the opening minute with an easy four points from Kianna Ibis before Idaho’s freshman guard Allison Kirby hit a deep shot to bring the score 4-3 minutes into the game.
Unfortunately, that was the only time the game could be called a contest. Idaho kept it close up until the halfway mark of the opening quarter when ASU began to run away with the lead. At the close of the first quarter, the Sun Devils already found a 13-point advantage.
But they didn’t stop there. A 13-point lead quickly became a 15-point lead, then 17 and all of the sudden Idaho found itself lagging by a whole 26 points.
The Vandals managed to reign in the Sun Devils my just a touch at the close of the second quarter. Junior guard Mikayla Ferenz hit her one and only 3-pointer of the night with 19 seconds left in the first half to close the gap to 21 points with a score of 20-41.
Senior post Geraldine McCorkell finished as Idaho’s top scorer of the half with six points in 16 minutes.
The second half only went downhill for Idaho. The opponents shut down the Vandals in the second half, allowing only 13 points to their respective 36. It was air balls left and right for Idaho while the opponents were consistently able to push through the Vandal defense and find the glass. Even when given a chance for the freebie points at the line, Idaho failed to take advantage.
The 60-30 third quarter score looked abysmal for the Vandals, but the 30-point gap only grew in the final ten minutes of play. With a full fleet of freshmen on the court, the Sun Devils continued to pound the Vandals up until the final buzzer before claiming a final 44-point victory and handing Idaho one of its toughest losses of the season.
For the first time since 2010, no Vandal player scored in double digits. Junior guard Taylor Pierce finished with the most points for Idaho with eight points followed by McCorkell who added one more point to her first half score for a total of seven on the night.
Idaho shot a season-low 24.9 percent from the field, hitting only 12 of 49 attempts. The Vandals did not have any more success from deep, a normal strength of the program, making just 6-27.
To make matters worse, Idaho committed 18 turnovers compared to just nine from the opponents.
“I told them that was a rough loss,” Newlee said to the team after the game. “When it is rough out there you need to keep your composure. When getting pressured out there you need to stay composed and not panic. And not just our young guys. They got a real taste of what it is like. Some of our veterans have played against teams like that, like the Baylor’s and Ohio State’s. They have been through this before. It was disappointing they couldn’t respond better tonight to that pressure. You have to learn from that and take these lessons that we learned tonight and get ready for Big Sky action.”
Idaho looks to get back on track against Eastern Oregon Dec. 21 in Boise in the first game of an Idaho double-header.
Meredith Spelbring can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org