The Idaho women’s basketball brought an end to its two-game losing streak with an 80-75 win over California State University, Northridge opening the Warner Center Marriott Thanksgiving Classic Friday.
Idaho head coach Jon Newlee said in a news release that this win has a huge for the team.
“I think it was huge,” Newlee said. “We knew coming in here that they [CSUN] were a talented team. We knew they had shooters. We know these guys. Our greatest fear was that they were going to break out of their [shooting] slump. We knew we were going to have to do a better job of getting out to the 3-point line and playing better on-ball defense. At times we did, but at times they just made some great shots.”
Idaho bounced back from CSUN’s two-for-two start from the three to open the game’s scoring. The Matadors started out strong with a 16-11 lead on the Vandals, until senior post Geraldine McCorkell scored five-straight points to tie up the game at 16.
A 3-pointer from junior guard Taylor Pierce gave Idaho its first lead of the night, making the score 19-16 with 2:12 to go in the first period. The Vandals got the last three thanks to junior guard Mikayla Ferenz, taking a 25-18 lead.
Idaho continued its accuracy from the paint in the second. The Vandals hit six triples in the period and went three straight possessions with three’s from McCorkell, freshman guard Allison Kirby and Pierce to obtain a 15-point lead, making the score 47-32 with 1
17 seconds to play. CSUN’s Meghann Henderson threw up a three with just over a minute left in the half to narrow Idaho’s lead to 13 points at the end of the quarter.
CSUN demolished the Vandals double-digit lead in the third quarter. The Matadors shot 64.3 percent (9-14) within the quarter. On the other side of the court the Vandals saw their production slow to 6-of-12 shooting, resulting in CSUN outscoring Idaho 26-16 in the quarter. This cut the Idaho lead to four, bringing the score to 64-60 heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
Within the first 15 seconds of the fourth quarter, CSUN trimmed Idaho’s lead down to two.
On Idaho’s side, Ferenz answered, delivering Idaho’s next four points to put Idaho ahead six. CSUN kept the margin slim at a one or two possession game for the remainder of the final quarter. The Matadors pulled back to tie the game up at 73 with less than two minutes to play. The Vandals got the ball to Pierce, who drilled a deep shot from down range with the shot clock winding down to give Idaho a much needed 3-point cushion. Idaho outscored CSUN 7-2 in the final minute of the contest to steal the win.
McCorkell led the team with a season-high 25 points for the team. Four other Vandals also scored in the double digits. Ferenz racked up 22 points along with a career-high seven assists. Kirby totaled 13 on the night, while Pierce put in 12.
The Vandals advance to the tournament’s championship against Texas Christian University 7:30 p.m Saturday. Idaho and TCU have met on four previous occasions. The two schools last battled it out on Jan. 8, 1993, ending in a 72-54 TCU win.