MOSCOW, Idaho – A strong outside presence in the first half with a dominating inside presence in the second led to a balanced University of Idaho attack and a 72-59 Vandal victory over Texas State in a Western Athletic Conference game before a rowdy crowd on Senior Night.
Christina Salvatore scored 12 of the Vandals' first 18 points – all off of 3-point goals. In between her long-range shots, Krissy Karr and Alyssa Charlston each added a 3 for a run of six straight. Meantime, the Bobcats were going inside effectively to counter the 3-point barrage and set the stage for a tight first-half battle that saw five lead changes and two ties before the Vandals went into halftime with a 36-30 lead.
"We started out good offensively," coach Jon Newlee said after the Vandals moved to 14-14 overall and 11-6 to secure a place in the upper echelon of the WAC. "We certainly were getting our looks and knocking down the 3. I figured we'd get some good looks – and we did."
If there was a disappointment in the first half, Newlee said, it was in a slight lack of defensive intensity. That changed in the second. Not only were the Vandals more stingy defensively, they found their inside game – particularly with the play of freshman Ali Forde. Forde scored eight straight during a stretch that saw Idaho's lead go from 40-34 to 48-39 and set the tone for a dominating second-half inside presence.
"I like the way we came out in the second half and pounded the ball inside," Newlee said. "We didn't have to rely on the 3-ball. We wanted to get it inside."
Idaho had scoring from across the board with Salvatore's first-half outburst helping her to a team-best 15 with Charlston adding 13 and Forde 11. Charlston also had eight rebounds as the Vandals controlled the boards, 43-31.
"It was a total team effort tonight," Newlee said. "I'm real happy with the whole effort, the whole performance."
The Vandals wrap up the regular season next Saturday at Seattle University. Tipoff is 4 p.m.