The Vandals played a very different style Saturday night, and the result were not great.
Idaho (3-5) lost to Wyoming (6-3) 70-64 and the normally sharpshooting Vandals took on a different offensive identity for the night. The loss snapped a win streak for Idaho, who had won each of the last three games in their yearly matchup with the Cowgirls.
The Vandals shot only 1-9 from beyond the arc in the first half and finished 5-22, good enough for a 22.7 3-point shooting percentage that was well below the season average of 43.2 percent.
“It’s hard because Taylor (Pierce) and I usually make those shots,” junior Mikayla Ferenz said. “We have to take what the defense gives us, especially since defenses will be rushing up to the arc to keep us from taking those shots.”
Coming off of a 9-10 3-point shooting night against Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 4, Pierce went 2-10 from beyond the arc. Ferenz shot 1-6 from three.
To make up for this, the Vandals compensated with plenty of drives from Ferenz and strong post play from senior post Geraldine McCorkell. Ferenz set a season high with 30 points and six rebounds. She also played the full 40 minutes for the second time this season. McCorkell poured in 22 points and added four rebounds and two assists. Ferenz and McCorkell were also the only Vandals to take free throws.
“Mikayla and Geri did a great job of getting to the rim, but we’re going to need scoring from more people,” said Idaho head coach Jon Newlee. “We’ve got some passive players that are feeling their way into things and I would like to see them step up.”
Despite the result, there was plenty of drama throughout the game.
Early foul trouble forced Newlee to draw from his bench earlier than normal. There were eight lead change throughout the game. The Vandals led by as many as seven in the second quarter and held the lead for most of the fourth quarter, but the team went five minutes without a point to end the fourth quarter as Wyoming was able to get offensive rebounds and drain the clock.
“It seemed like we were able to do everything but get the board,” Newlee said. “We played great defense as the shot clock was going down, but it seemed like they always either hit the shot or got the rebound.”
Wyoming finished with only one more rebound than Idaho, but they managed to pull in 14 offensive rebounds to Idaho’s nine. Junior Bailee Cotton recorded a double-double for the Cowgirls, with 11 points and 10 boards. Wyoming had four players reach double figures in scoring.
Idaho did not get the same level of team-wide contribution.
Ferenz and McCorkell combined with junior Taylor Pierce to score 58 of Idaho’s 64 points, continuing the trend of reliance on those core three players. Only two other Vandals recorded points.
Idaho did not get much out of the point guards, with freshman guard Allison Kirby getting into early foul trouble and eventually fouling out after recording only one shot. Junior guard Sarah Bersang also fouled out after contributing five rebounds and two assists.
“We’ve got to be smarter,” Newlee said. “Most of them weren’t very good fouls and I would’ve liked to see us get to the rim and force them to foul us.”
Idaho will finish out the home stand with a matchup against Seattle University 5 p.m. Dec. 15 in the Cowan Spectrum.
Jonah Baker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jonahpbaker