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WAC preseason polls announced, Idaho too low

24 Oct

Madison McCord | Vandal Nation
Junior forward Stephen Madison throws down a dunk before the Black and Gold Scrimmage Friday.

The preseason suspension of Idaho center Kyle Barone must have really hurt the Vandal men’s basketball team who have been picked to finish sixth and fifth in the coaches and media polls respectively.

The Vandal women’s team also slipped lower than we projected finishing fifth and sixth in the coaches and media polls respectively.

Three bright spots did arise from the polls though for the Vandals, with three players receiving all-WAC honors. For the men, Barone was picked as a first-team member in both polls after finishing last season as a second-team all-WAC selection. On the women’s team, junior forward Alyssa Charlston was a first-team selection in both polls, while sophomore guard Krissy Karr received second-team placement in both. Continue reading

WAC Tournament: Idaho Women vs Fresno State

10 Mar

The Idaho women were blown out by the Fresno State Bulldogs in the quarterfinal round of the WAC Tournament. The Vandals were unable to get any offensive pressure in the first half, which put them in a hole they were unable to recover from. Photos courtesy of Ilya Pinchuk

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Vandals survive, advance to semi-finals

7 Mar

Kevin Bingaman


After seeing a 19-point first half lead evaporate, the Vandal women’s basketball team was able to hang on and beat San Jose State 67-63 Wednesday night at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas and advance to the semi-finals of the WAC Tournament.

The Spartans surged in the second half and got within three points of Idaho with less than a minute to go, but freshman Krissy Karr hit two free throws to give the Vandals a four-point lead that would hold.

Idaho sophomore Alyssa Charlston said it’s an amazing feeling to get the first round win.

“It’s huge for us. We’re a team that’s been improving all along,” Charlston said. “… We have a lot of threats on our team and I think just getting this game is going to get a lot of confidence.”

Next up for Idaho will be the No. 1 seeded Fresno State Bulldogs. The game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Friday.

The Vandals started the game on a 5-0 run, but it was quickly countered by the Spartans. Over the next 10 minutes the Vandals slowly extended their lead, and after an 8-0 run and barrage of 3-pointers, Idaho cemented the lead. Idaho led by as many as 19 and went in to the break with a 41-24 lead.  The Vandals hit nine 3-pointers in the first half.

Idaho coach Jon Newlee said it was all about getting stops in the first half.

“We came out on fire. I thought we’re playing well,” Newlee said. “I thought we defended extremely well in the first half.”

The score may have been lopsided at halftime, but the game was far from over. The Spartans came out of the locker room and went on a 10-2 run to cut the deficit to single digits. Throughout the half the teams played a counter punch game, but slowly the Spartans climbed back into it, led by all-WAC senior Brittany Johnson.

The Spartans cut the deficit to three in the last minute but Johnson was forced to give up her fifth and final foul, sending Karr to the line with 3.9 seconds remaining. Karr made both free throws to make it a two possession game, sealing the Idaho victory.

Newlee said he wasn’t happy with his team’s energy in the second period.

“In the second half, I thought defensively we broke down as some point, but you have to give a lot of credit to Brittany (Johnson),” Newlee said. “I thought in the second half we got tentative with the basketball and tentative in our shot selection and it almost cost us, but I’m proud of the way we hung tough.”

Johnson led all scorers with 31 points. Karr led Idaho with 17 while Charlston had 16 and 15 rebounds.

Newlee said the Vandals will practice at a local high school on Thursday to prepare for Fresno State on Friday.

For San Jose State, the loss ends another season and the career of Johnson, who was the second-leading scorer in the conference this season. It was a breakout year for the Spartans, who won nine more games this year than last year. First-year coach Tim La Kose was named WAC coach of the year for his efforts.

La Kose said despite losing Johnson, this year should serve as a building block for San Jose State’s future.

“Going into the future now, I think the expectations have been laid,” La Kose said. “It’s a tribute to what this group did.”





WAC Tournament: Vandal women optimistic for first round

6 Mar

Kevin Bingaman


Tournament time is finally here and the Idaho women’s basketball team will get things going when they take on San Jose State in the first round of the WAC Tournament Wednesday night.

The Vandals finished the regular season with a 6-8 conference record and are the No. 4 seeded team in the tournament. Idaho started conference play 0-5, but put it together in the second half of the season.

Sophomore Alyssa Charlston said the team is ecstatic for tournament play.

“We’re super excited,” Charlston said. “Everything starts off 0-0 from here on out, so we’re looking to play a whole new brand of basketball.”

It will be the third meeting between the Vandals and Spartans this season. Idaho won both meetings this year, but by a narrow margin.  Charlston said Idaho isn’t taking anything for granted.

“It shows that we can finish games, but the WAC tournament is a whole different thing,” Charlston said. “It’s a clean slate. It’s hard to beat a team three times. It’s been two close games. We have the confidence and know we are capable of it, but it’s no guarantee whatsoever.”

The Spartans are led by all-WAC selection Brittany Johnson, who is the second-leading scorer in the conference and played a big role in SJSU’s resurrection this season. Johnson set a new Spartan record for points in a season.

SJSU coach Tim La Kose was named WAC coach of the year this season in his first year with the Spartans. Under La Kose, the Spartans won nine more games than they did last season.

The Vandals won their last two games of the season, largely because they were able to take care of the ball. In their last two games the Vandals turned the ball over just 16 times. Idaho coach Jon Newlee said his team has to continue to cut turnovers if the wins are going to keep coming.

“We’re going to have to make good decisions with the basketball,” Newlee said. “I think we’re going to have to rebound and match their physicality. Defensively, they’re extremely talented and athletic offensively, so we’re going to have to get out there. I think we’re going to have to come focused defensively.”

Leading the Vandals is Charlston, who was also named to the all-WAC first team. Charlston was the fourth-leading scorer in the conference and the second-leading rebounder.

The Vandals are a young squad and the experience of a conference tournament will be a new experience to multiple players on the roster. Nevertheless, Newlee said his team is focused and ready to go.

“I think we’re focused,” Newlee said. “They know what’s at stake. It’s the best time of the year. It’s postseason tournament time, a lot riding on it. There’ll be a lot of emotion out there.”

“I think we’re excited to get out there,” Charlston said. “We just have to bring the energy that we brought the last five or eight games.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. at Las Vegas’ Orleans Arena. The winner of the contest will advance to the semifinals and play on Friday.



Vandal Women v San Jose State – Post Game

1 Mar

Idaho falls to first place Fresno State

17 Feb

Kevin Bingaman


A season-high 55 percent shooting performance was not enough to upset first place Fresno State when the Vandals fell 76-68 Thursday night on the road.

Idaho coach Jon Newlee said coming into the game his team would have to take care of the ball, but that didn’t happen. The Vandals (8-18, 3-7 WAC) turned the ball over 27 times, leading to 17 second change points for the Bulldogs (21-4, 9-0 WAC). The game gives Idaho its second straight loss.

Idaho had a less than stellar start in the first half, falling behind early. But the Vandals found a way to come back, as they have done all season, and went on a 13-3 run to go into the locker room down by just six with the score 38-32.

The second half remained close. Half way through the period the Vandals went on a run that ended with sophomore Jessica Graham hitting a layup that gave the Vandals a one point lead with score 57-56, but it was quickly erased.

The Bulldogs countered with a 13-1 run of their own to retake the lead, which they never relinquished. The Vandals got close on several occasions, but Fresno State was able to hit their three-throws down the stretch and take the victory.

Senior Ganeaya Rogers led the Vandals with 15 points while sophomore Alyssa Charlston pitched in with 14. Freshman Stacey Barr rounded off Idaho’s top scorers with 12.

The Vandals are in need of a few more conference wins to get a better seeding for the WAC tournament, which starts in less than a month. Idaho still has a shot at fourth place.

The win kept things rolling for Fresno State and keeps the win streak intact. The Bulldogs are all alone atop the conference standings with a perfect 9-0 record. Nevada is the only team in striking distance of Fresno State.

The Vandals will continue the road trip when they travel to last place Nevada on Saturday. The Vandals will be looking for revenge after Nevada beat them earlier in the year. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Vandals women v New Mexico State – Post Game

10 Feb

Newlee News Conference – 1.31.12

31 Jan

In this week’s news conference, Idaho women’s basketball coach Jon Newlee talks about the team’s eight game losing streak, the success of Alyssa Charlston, and the talented youth core of his team.

Vandals v Fresno State – Womens Basketball – Jan. 21, 2012

22 Jan

Women “intimidated” in La. Tech loss

13 Jan

Kevin Bingaman



The Vandal women’s basketball team couldn’t quite get it done on the road at Louisiana Tech, falling to the Techsters 66-54 in the WAC opener.

The loss extends Idaho’s (5-12, 0-1 WAC) losing streak to five games as the Vandals dropped another tough game and still have never beaten the Techsters  (8-8, 1-0 WAC).  in program history. The losing streak has come on a number of close games. The Vandals have been able to hang with teams, but just can’t get over the hump for a victory. Idaho will get the chance on Saturday to snap the streak when they stay on the road a New Mexico State.

The Vandals come out sluggish and found themselves with a 13 point deficit at the half. The Vandals then gave up a 9-2 run to start the second half to dig themselves into a hole. Idaho coach Jon Newlee said he wasn’t happy with his team’s demeanor out of the locker room.

“We came out intimidated,” Newlee said. “They really came out intimidated and that disappoints me. We talked at halftime about not being scared and just playing ball, and you see what happens when we did that at the start of the second half.”

To Idaho’s credit, the Vandals didn’t go down easily. Idaho started to put it together and cut the lead to six at one point, but the Techsters went on a run late in the half to put the Vandals away.

Turnovers continued to be an issue for the Vandals as they turned it over 23 times in the game. Louisiana Tech also helped their cause with 15 blocks in the game, just shy of a Techster record. La Tech’s bench was also a big factor in the game, scoring 37 points for the Techsters.

Sophomore Alyssa Charleston and Freshman Stacy Barr were the only two Vandals in double figures on the night. Barr had 11 points while Charleston claimed her fourth double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Despite the unimpressive record, the Vandals are a young team that has been looking better as the season has progressed. Louisiana Tech has been the WAC powerhouse in Women’s basketball and the fact that this game was as close as it was should be encouraging for Vandal fans. Newlee said he was happy with the way his defense played.

“I thought our defense was outstanding to go out there and play 40 minutes man-to-man against Louisiana Tech,” Newlee said. “We knew we had some good looks that just weren’t going down early on, but our free throw shooting has got to get better. It was just a lack of knocking down some shots, one person getting hot and it’s a different ballgame.”

The Vandals will play their first home conference game next Thursday against Nevada.

LIVE BLOG: Idaho women’s basketball versus Washington

30 Nov

Idaho women’s basketball versus Washington

Idaho vs Gonzaga postgame

17 Nov

Zags beat up on Idaho

17 Nov


Photo courtesy of Zach Edwards/Argonaut

Story by Kevin Bingaman/Argonaut


Victory was never in question for Gonzaga as the Bulldogs rolled the Vandal women’s basketball team 91-42 Thursday night in Memorial Gym.

The Vandals came into the game fresh off of a 30-point loss to North Dakota on Monday and things didn’t improve as it was another blowout. Idaho coach Jon Newlee said he hopes playing a tough team like Gonzaga was a learning experience for his players.

“Our players can take away seeing what a top-20 team is like,” Newlee said. “Physically they really took us out of what we wanted to do. They did a great job defensively just taking us out of our spots.”

Even before the game started things were not going Idaho’s way. Starters Krissy Karr and Ganeaya Rogers were both injured at North Dakota on Monday and were unable to play against the Zags. Newlee said their absence was a “killer” as his Vandals had to quickly adjust their roster, putting players in positions they don’t usually play. Senior Adrie Shields said it was a difficult transition.

“I went from a forward to a guard in the space of a week. It was a lot different than I thought it would be,” Shields said. “…I forgot how hard it was to play that many minutes.”

The Gonzaga defense was in Idaho’s face all night and the Vandals struggled to get any sort of offence going. The Zags started the game on a 13-4 run and took a commanding 48-22 lead into halftime. The Vandals did everything they could to hang with Gonzaga in the second half, but the Bulldogs proved to be too powerful and soared to the blowout victory.

Freshman Stacey Barr was the lone offensive bright spot for Idaho as she led the team with 18 points and continues to be impressive. The Vandals shot only 28.6 percent for the game and turned the ball over a dismal 26 times. Shiels said it’s been a rough couple games but said the team’s learned some valuable lessons.

“We’ve learned a lot in those two games and we’ve had a lot of leaps to take,” Shiels said. “…We’ll get there.”

On the Gonzaga side, it was a special night for coach Kelly Graves as he notched his 300th career victory. Graves said it was a special moment, but he gave all the credit to the talented players he’s coached over the years. While it was a one-sided win, Graves said he was impressed with what the Vandal players showed on the court.

“I want to give coach Newlee’s team a lot of credit, “Graves said. “They were obviously shorthanded. He’s one of my favorite coaches and he gets more out of his players than anybody.”

The Vandals will look to snap their current two game losing streak when they travel to the University of Montana to take on the Grizzlies on Sunday. The Griz own a 35-7 overall series record on Idaho, but the Vandals won their lone meeting last season.


Idaho vs. Gonazaga- LIVEBLOG

17 Nov

Click on this link to follow our live blog of tonight’s action between Gonzaga and Idaho. 

Idaho vs. Gonzaga

Early trouble

14 Nov

Kevin Bingaman/Argonaut

Three points was all that separated Idaho and Corban University in Saturday’s home opener as the Vandals took a hard fought 77-74 victory that raises some concerns about the rest of the season.

The Vandals could never build a lead as the Warriors came back time and time again. Idaho turned the ball over 17 times against the NAIA foe. Idaho coach Jon Newlee said he was not happy with the team’s performance.

“Pretty ugly game from our standpoint, but I’ve got to give Corban a lot of credit,” Newlee said. “They came in tonight and wanted to win. We didn’t come in focused and ready to play tonight.”

Idaho hit only 36 percent of their shots in the game and only 27.5 percent in the first half. Free-throw shooting was also mediocre for the Vandals. They hit just 15 of 23 from the line. Newlee said he didn’t see the focus in his team.

“That’s something we work on every day,” Newlee said. “Free-throw shooting takes focus and we didn’t have it tonight.”

On the bright side of things for Idaho, freshman Krissy Karr and Stacey Barr continued to impress. Barr lead the team with 20 points while Karr had 23. Karr made one of the key plays in the game late in the fourth quarter. Idaho was up by only one with 39 seconds to go. She intercepted a Corban inbound pass that resulted in a Jessica Graham layup to put Idaho up by three late, which held up in the end. Karr said she feels she needs to be aggressive to prove she belongs as a starter.

“I feel, honestly, that I need to prove myself to a lot of people right now,” Karr said. “Coach has definitely given me the confidence to know that I just need to play my game. It definitely helps knowing that he’s got my back.”

The Vandals will have to catch their focus real quick as they have powerhouse Gonzaga coming to Memorial Gym next Thursday.

Newlee said he wasn’t happy with his team’s performance, but hopes his players learn a lesson about focus.

“You’ve got to play everybody that comes in to the gym and you’ve got to respect your opponent,” Newlee said. “I don’t feel like my team respected those guys tonight and we almost got it handed to us and it was almost a very harsh lesson to learn.  As it is, I think we can learn from it in a positive way and figure out what we need to do every night and play hard and play more focused.”



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