“The crowd was awesome tonight. It’s one of the biggest crowds we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. “I know Lewiston brought up a bunch of people on their bus … I’d like to see them become Vandal fans as well and come up and cheer for the Vandals when LCSC isn’t playing them, because I thought the atmosphere here was great tonight.”
Although the team 32 miles south of Moscow is an NAIA team, they came in with an undefeated 13-0 record. Still, they were no match for the Vandals who outscored them 42-18 in the first half before winning the game 84-53.
Idaho’s leading scorer was junior guard Stacey Barr with 19 points. She led the Vandals in scoring, for the seventh time this season.
“It’s nice to play against a local team. It’s a good rivalry, we had a good crowd,” Barr said. “They were 13-0, and that’s awesome for them. We came out not disrespecting them at all. We knew that they were great shooters and we needed to get out to them and that’s what we did.”
A total of four Vandals scored in double figures on Idaho’s second-highest scoring total of the night and fourth game with 80 or more points. In addition to Barr, sophomore post Ali Forde had 14 points and 14 rebounds for a double-double, while freshman Brooke Reilly (10 points) and junior Maren Austgulen (13 points) reached double digits off the bench in an all-around good night for Idaho’s post players.
“I just told our post guys that I thought our high-low game looked extremely good tonight,” Newlee said. “It was something that we wanted to focus on, going into this game. We thought we would get that look and we did. I thought Maren (Austgulen) came in and finished extremely well. I liked all of our post play tonight.”
If there is a negative the Vandals can take from a 31-point victory, it is the turnover margin. Idaho committed 17 turnovers on the night, seven of them from Barr.
“I think I had a lot of those, so that’s probably something I need to fix personally, but It was just us trying to force a couple of passes, which we shouldn’t have,” Barr said on Idaho’s turnovers.
The Vandals, who moved to 7-4 with the win, head back to the road this weekend — a place they have been eight of 11 games so far this season. Saturday’s game pits Idaho against Eastern Washington in Cheney, Wash. The Eagles, who are 1-5 on the season, are a team Idaho will face regularly during the season in the Big Sky Conference.
Stephan Wiebe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org