Idaho women’s basketball loses to San Diego in final minutes
Senior guard Stacey Barr led all scorers with 22 points and junior post Ali Forde returned to play two days after playing in the Big Sky Volleyball Tournament, but it wasn’t enough for Idaho to overcome San Diego. The Vandals fell to the Toreros 58-52 losing their home opener Saturday in Memorial Gym in the final minutes.
“They made some shots that they don’t normally make and I think we missed some shots that we normally make,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. “That’s basketball — every night is different and you have to bring it every night.”
The game was close through most of the first half before the Vandals managed to grab a six-point cushion going into halftime. Coming out of halftime though, the Toreros found their stride again and closed the gap.
With the Vandals down by three at 1:33 left on the clock, junior guard Christina Salvatore made an old-fashioned 3-point play to tie the game. San Diego responded with a 3-point play of their own by Maya Hood and Idaho couldn’t recover.
“Christina’s layup and making that free throw was huge,” Barr said. “It gave us a lot of energy and I thought we kind of had it at that point. We worked hard, but unfortunately they got offensive rebound after offensive rebound and that’s what kind of killed us.”
Idaho held San Diego to five offensive rebounds in the first half but the Toreros used their height to their advantage in the second half grabbing 12 offensive boards. They finished the game with 40 total rebounds to Idaho’s 35.
“The offensive rebounding in the second half really killed us — their offensive rebounding,” Newlee said.
Forde, arguably Idaho’s best rebounder, returned to the lineup after the Idaho volleyball team fell in the opening round of the volleyball tournament Thursday. She had one practice Friday before starting in Idaho’s opening basketball game where she had four points, four rebounds and four blocks.
“She definitely gave us a big boost inside,” Newlee said of Forde. “It’s something we missed down there in LA when we had those two games and didn’t play very well either game … We missed her and it was good to have her back.”
San Diego’s inside game was good, but it was the team’s outside shooting that was improved from its previous games. The Toreros shot 40 percent from the 3-point line in the second half.
“Coming into the game they’re 2-for-20 in their last two games from 3,” Newlee said. “They’re all about driving and getting to the rim and getting fouled. Obviously that plan apparently worked tonight when you look at the free throws.”
While USD shot 23 free throw attempts on the day, Idaho only managed 12 and 10 of them were shot by Barr.
“She’s the only player on our team getting to the free throw line,” Newlee said. “That has to change for us.”
The Vandals return to the court Tuesday to play Wyoming but don’t play at home again until Dec. 7 against Multnomah.
Stephan Wiebe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org