Vandals continue to roll beating Montana State, 95-77 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

Vandals continue to roll beating Montana State, 95-77

Photo: Idaho Athletics Photo: Idaho Athletics

By Idaho Athletics

BOZEMAN, Mont.—Idaho women's basketball hit milestone after milestone on Thursday. The Vandals won their eighth straight game, snapping an eight-game slump against Montana State with a 95-77 triumph inside Worthington Arena.

The night looked more like a 3-point contest at times, with both teams combining for 31 3's. Idaho got seven from Mikayla Ferenz and four from Taylor Pierce. Both Splash Sisters now have 94 triples on the season, setting a single-season school record. Pierce held the previous record with 93 3's last season. 

Ferenz led all scorers with 29 points. She became the seventh player in program history to surpass the 1,500-point mark. She's now got 1,522 career points.

How it Happened
Allison Kirby
hit Idaho's first shot—a 3—to get the Vandal offense going. The Vandals tied the score twice off of 3's from Ferenz and Pierce. Kirby's second triple of the quarter gave Idaho its first lead, 16-13, with 2:12 to play in the period. Montana State picked up a last-second 3 from Pranger to knot the score at 20 a side. 

Idaho (14-10, 10-3) got its first six points from Isabelle Hadden at the open of the second, helping regain a 26-24 lead. Idaho shot 64.3 percent in the quarter (9-14) and did not relinquish the lead. A 3 from Pierce gave the Vandals their largest lead of the half, 42-37, at the 2:32 mark. Ferenz and Geraldine McCorkell added on from long range in the quarter, giving the Vandals a 46-40 lead at the half. 

Montana State (13-12, 7-7) cut the Vandal lead down to seven twice early on in the third, but that was as close as they would get. Pierce hit her fourth 3 to put Idaho back up by 10, 55-45. Kirby's 3 at the 1:17 mark gave the Vandals their largest lead of the night, 77-52.  Idaho shot 66.7 percent from 3 (8-12) and 63.2 percent (12-19) from the field, outscoring MSU 34-19 in the quarter.

The Vandal lead never dipped below 14 for the remainder of the night. Idaho's 18-point win marked the largest home defeat for Montana State since a 21-point loss to Northern Colorado in 2015. 

Ferenz added seven rebounds and seven assists to her final stat line. Pierce ended her night with 20 points and five assists. Nejra Solo hit double figures for the second straight game, totaling a career-high 13 points. McCorkell finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and six assists. 

Idaho's third quarter shut the door on the Bobcats. Hannah Caudill cut the Vandal lead down to seven in the first three minutes. The Vandals dominated the next 5:37, going on a 22-5 run. 

Ferenz scored 11 points in the run and Solo recorded five straight points, including a key old-fashioned three-point play.  

Head Coach Jon Newlee
On the win
"It feels great. I didn't realize that we had lost eight in-a-row to them. That was the last thing I told the team. I said, 'This thing ends tonight.' The team really took that to heart. Montana State plays really well at home. They shot lights out. We really brought it offensively. I thought it was our best ball movement all year with 22 assists. Everybody got involved. It wasn't just one person."

On having multiple scoring threats
"It definitely helped us out. I was glad to see Ally make those 3's. People haven't been guarding her. She just needs to shoot with confidence. I know she can shoot the basketball. 

"They [MSU] got a fast start and the crowd was into it. We needed to match that and I thought we did. I thought Issy came in and gave us a spark in that first half. When Solo got tired she came in and knocked down shots and played some pretty good defense. Total team effort from the Vandals tonight on both sides."

On the third quarter
"I was surprised. They came out and played zone in the second half. We moved around and Taylor hit that 3 that got us going. Everybody just got contagious. Everybody was feeling it. Mikayla got in the zone as well. Again, the ball movement was spectacular. Everybody was getting touches. Everybody was finishing."

Idaho's 95 points were the second most this season (101, twice)…the team shot 56.5 percent (35-62), its second best game of the season…the Vandals were one 3 shy of tying the school record of 18 (last against Colorado State)…Idaho committed a season-low four turnovers…Ferenz hit 20 points for the 15th time this season…Pierce recorded her seventh 20-point game of the season…Ferenz now has 264 career 3's, four shy of tying Stacey Barr for third all-time…Pierce remains second with 275 career 3's…Idaho has now hit a 3 in 319 consecutive games. 

Idaho finishes off the weekend in Missoula, Mont. The Vandals will take on the Lady Griz at 1 p.m. Montana fell to 8-6 on the season, dropping Thursday's game to Eastern Washington. 

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