Idaho’s game against California State Fullerton was never in doubt.
The girls led for the entirety of the game and maintained at least a 20-point for most of the second half en route to an 80-60 win Monday night. It was their first home win of the season.
The Vandals were led by a historic performance from junior Taylor Pierce, who drained nine 3-pointers. She tied the school record for threes in a game, which she already held along with teammate Mikayla Ferenz. She also moved into sole possession of third place in school history for threes in a career, passing Kelli Johnson. Pierce started the game a perfect nine for nine from beyond the arc and did not miss a three until midway until through the third quarter. She finished with a team high 27 points, four rebounds, and four assists.
“I knew that I just wasn’t missing early on,” Pierce said. “A lot of the credit should go to my teammates and the screens that they set to spring me open. Shooting wide open shots makes it a lot easier for me so they deserve plenty of credit.”
The Vandals dominated the entirety of the game thanks to strong performances from many usual faces and spot contributions up and down the roster.
Junior guard Mikayla Ferenz poured in five more shots from three and finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. Senior post Geraldine McCorkell added twelve points, and the Vandals continued their trend of getting the majority of their offense from the core of Pierce, Ferenz, and McCorkell.
Despite the hot night from beyond the arc, Idaho was able to establish a strong presence in the post with McCorkell and sophomore post Isabelle Hadden.
“Coming into the night, we knew that we could take advantage of our size over theirs,” McCorkell said. “When we play well inside we create extra opportunities outside and you saw the results of that tonight.”
Even as the game wound down, the rest of the team continued to put pressure on Fullerton in large part thanks to contributions from the bench.
“Everyone contributed, which is what we really need,” head coach Jon Newlee said. “We can’t just run with the same three people and tonight we got contributions from everyone that stepped on to the court.”
Junior guard Sarah Bersang led the bench with a strong finish with to put the Titans away for good. She poured in 8 points in the second half, and Newlee subbed out most of the starters midway through the fourth quarter. In total, the Vandals shot 50.8 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from beyond the arc. Both were good for season highs.
The Vandals also held the Titans to only 60 points, which is Idaho’s best defensive showing of the season.
“Our intensity and execution on defense tonight were very good,” Newlee said. “We kept them out of the flow of their game which sprung us to some good offense.”
The Vandals will try to keep the home stand rolling with a matchup against Wyoming 6 p.m. Dec. 9 in Memorial Gym.
Jonah Baker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jonahpbaker