Vandals get win at Northern Colorado for 1st time in program his - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

Vandals get win at Northern Colorado for 1st time in program history

Photo: Idaho Athletics Photo: Idaho Athletics

By Idaho Athletics

GREELEY, Colo.—For the first time in program history the Vandal women's basketball team picked up a win at Northern Colorado. Junior Mikayla Ferenz picked up her sixth 30-point performance and senior Geraldine McCorkell recorded her third consecutive double-double in Idaho's 79-71 win at Bank of Colorado Arena.

Freshman Allison Kirby joined Ferenz and McCorkell in double figures. Ferenz closed with 33 points and six rebounds. McCorkell was a perfect 9-for-9 from the field, totaling 22 points and 10 boards. Kirby totaled 11 points, hitting clutch shots in the second half.

How it Happened
The Bears got a heavy dose of Ferenz early and often on Thursday. She scored Idaho's first four points helping her to 11 in the first quarter. She provided the majority of Idaho's early offense, hitting 4-of-6 in the field. 

Idaho (9-10, 5-3) closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run and Ferenz continued the run with a 3 to open the second, pushing the Vandals to a 22-17 lead. UNC countered with an 8-0 run to retake the lead, 25-20. The Vandals got down by as many as six in the quarter. Ferenz and McCorkell supplied Idaho with an 8-0 run of its own to retake the lead, 34-32. A Taylor Pierce buzzer beater closed the half for Idaho, 36-34.

Northern Colorado (13-6, 5-3) used a 10-4 start to the third to regain the lead, 44-40. The third quarter saw five ties and four lead changes, as both teams shot over 70.0 percent. The Vandals hit 9-of-11 (81.8) in the quarter, while UNC went 10-for-14 (71.4). McCorkell and Ferenz both scored eight points in the period, but it was Nejra Solo that put Idaho up by three, 61-58, to close the quarter.

The Vandal defense stepped up in the fourth, as Idaho outscored UNC 18-13. The Vandals never relinquished the lead in the quarter, allowing UNC to draw even at 63 in the Bears' first possession. Freshman Haley Blankinship broke the tie with a 3 on the following possession, putting Idaho ahead for good.

Idaho's fourth-quarter defense shut the door on the Bears. The Vandals held UNC to just 25.0 percent in the final quarter (5-20). The Bears' top scoring threats, Savannah Scott and Savannah Smith, were a non-factor in the final 10 minutes, combining for seven points. 

The Vandals outrebounded UNC, 16-10, in the quarter. McCorkell dominated the glass in the quarter, snagging eight total rebounds in 10 minutes of play. She was a force on defense, picking up seven of her nine defensive boards in the fourth. 

Head Coach Jon Newlee

Overall thoughts
"Tonight was huge. We knew coming in that this building has not been kind to us. They [UNC] play so well at home. They beat LSU here. They are always tough and are extremely well coached. For us to come in here and get this game was huge for us."

On fourth quarter defense
"I thought we did a better job helping our posts out on Smith and Scott, without fouling. I thought we did a get job of keeping them off the foul-line. We finally did a better job rebounding. We knew we couldn't give a talented team like them those second shots. It started going bad there for a little bit, but we righted the ship."

On Ferenz and McCorkell
"She [Ferenz] was open at the start of the game. I was a little surprised myself. Anybody on this team can score. I knew Geri was going to have a monster game. I told [Christina Salvatore] going into it that Geri should kill these guys. There was no way the 5-9 girl is going to stop Geri McCorkell. She really took the challenge and had one of her best games of the year."

Thursdays win gives Idaho its first three-game winning streak since defeating Montana, Portland State and Sacramento State (Jan. 28-Feb. 4) last season...Idaho had its second-best shooting performance of the season with a 53.7 FG%...Idaho had a season-high 10 steals…McCorkell recorded Idaho's first 1.000 FG% of the season (min. 5 made)…She now has 13 career double-doubles…Ferenz has now scored 33 points four times this season, all against conference opponents…Kirby has now hit 17 consecutive FTs…Solo recorded a career-high four steals…six 3's from Ferenz gives her 245 for her career…Pierce snapped her nine-game 3FGM streak, ending 0-4.

Idaho will continue on the road on Saturday. The Vandals will look to sweep the season-series against the Fighting Hawks of North Dakota. UND defeated Eastern Washington on Thursday to improve to 3-5 in Big Sky play. Tip is set for noon PT. 

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