New location for Big Sky basketball tournament
The days of the No. 1 seed in the Big Sky basketball tournaments hosting the event appears to be over. Instead of traveling to wherever the No. 1 seed is located at each given season, the tournament will now be held at the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nevada. The Big Sky Conference and the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority announced Friday a three-year agreement that will bring the league’s basketball championships to the city. In addition to the change in location, all 12 men’s and all 12 women’s teams from the conference will participate in the championship as opposed to eight teams in the past. The dates and tournament format will be announced at a later date.
“This was an exhaustive process,” said Big Sky Conference Commissioner Doug Fullerton. “Reno, as a city, and the folks that we worked with did a spectacular job in representing their community. We’re extremely excited about going to Reno for our championships. The coaches and the fans attending are going to feel very good about coming to Reno.”
Three Vandals earn first-team honors
Idaho women’s golf players took three of the five first-team All-Big Sky postseason honors Wednesday. Seniors Leilanie Kim and Kaitlyn Oster, and junior Kristin Strankman were named to the first team. Sophomore Amy Hasenoehrl earned honorable mention recognition. Kim led Idaho with a fourth-place finish at the Big Sky Tournament and was picked as a member of the NCAA women’s regional tournament May 7-9 at South Bend, Indiana.
“All four are very deserving of this prestigious recognition,” Idaho coach Lisa Johnson said. “Leilanie was very consistent this year with several top-10 finishes and has the best NCAA individual ranking in the Big Sky Conference. Kaitlyn greatly improved her scoring average from last year and is ranked third in the Big Sky.”
Tennis welcomes familiar name
The Idaho men’s tennis team signed Peter Shin to a National Letter of Intent April 17 to play for the Idaho men’s tennis team. Shin is the brother of former Vandal Alan Shin — Idaho’s all-time winningest player. Shin, a senior at Dublin High School in Dublin, California, complied a singles record of 30-10 over the past three years with the Gaels. He has also spent time in the top-150 on the U.S. Junior circuit.
“Peter is a great addition to Vandal tennis, both as a student and an athlete,” Idaho coach Jeff Beaman said. “He decided to focus on men’s tennis events the past few years instead of a junior rank. I feel that will be able to help him against the high caliber competition that the NCAA offers.”
Newlee adds another Australian
The train of Australian players to the Idaho women’s basketball team continues for Idaho coach Jon Newlee. Reigning Big Sky scoring leader Stacey Barr is out of eligibility, but Newlee added Brigitte O’Neill, a 6-foot-2 post player out of Melbourne, Australia. O’Neill joins senior Tayla Corrigan, senior Renae Mokrzycki and sophomore Geri McCorkell as Idaho’s Australian players still on the team.
“Brigitte is a long post player and an excellent 3-point shooter, who also has the ability to take people off the bounce,” Newlee said. “She is going to help us defensively with her length and is extremely fast for a post player. She is an excellent fit for our system here at Idaho.”