Tag Archives: Jon Newlee

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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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

Historic tournament run ends in a Bulldog mauling

12 Mar

RENO, Nev. — After five years of futility, an Idaho Vandals basketball team finally made it to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinals — just two wins away from a ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

Unfortunately for Idaho’s women, after a decisive quarterfinal win over New Mexico State on Wednesday, they ran headlong into the WAC’s hottest team, and the improbable dream was over.

The fourth-seeded Vandals fell to No. 1 seed Fresno State, 80-66, ending a season that saw Idaho’s women endure a two-win non-conference campaign before coming together for a historic trip deeper into the WAC Tournament than any Idaho team has ever gone. Idaho finished the season with an 11-20 record, 8-8 in conference play. The Bulldogs advanced to the tournament championship, where they’ll play Louisiana Tech tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Idaho coach Jon Newlee credited Fresno State with taking the fight right at the Vandals, but considers the season a success for the way his team responded to the adversity it faced early on. Last year’s leading scorer Derisa Taleni was lost to a season-ending injury in preseason practice, and her absence was a big reason the team suffered 11 non-conference losses, including a six-game losing streak.

“After a really bad start to the year, to fight back the way we did, to finish fourth in the WAC and get the first ever WAC Tournament win for this team, it’s tremendous for our program,” Newlee said. “Fresno State is an extremely talented basketball team that will go a couple rounds in the NCAA Tournament if they get the right draw.”

But Newlee had harsh words for the game’s referees, who he said were biased against his squad.

“Today was probably one of the most horrendous, one-sided jobs of officiating that I’ve been involved in, and I’ve been involved in a lot of postseason tournaments in my 22 years,” Newlee said. “It was absolutely horrible, and I’m embarrassed for our league, embarrassed for our kids that we had to go and be subjected to that. Fresno State doesn’t need any help, they’re good enough on their own. It was just bad officiating and I’m not happy about it.”

Shortly after the postgame press conference, Newlee was publicly reprimanded by WAC commissioner Karl Benson for violating the league’s sportsmanship code.

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History made as Vandals take down NMSU, head for WAC semis

10 Mar

RENO, Nev. — Since Idaho joined the Western Athletic Conference in 2005, neither the men nor the women had ever advanced past the quarterfinals in the conference basketball tournament. Excepting a pair of play-in game victories, the WAC Tournament represented an unbroken streak of futility for the Silver and Gold.

No more.

Led by a pair of double-doubles from stalwart starters Yinka Olorunnife and Shaena Kuehu, the Vandal women pulled away from New Mexico State late in the second half to secure a 75-63 victory over the Aggies in WAC Tournament quarterfinal action at the Lawlor Events Center. The fourth-seeded Vandals now advance to the semifinals, where they’ll face No. 1 Fresno State at noon Friday.

“This is a big win for our program and I’m proud of this whole team for gutting it out, hanging tough and getting the win,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. “I know this means a lot to everyone, but particularly for Charlotte (Otero), who can cap off her senior year with some success in the tournament.”

Idaho and New Mexico State traded the lead back and forth throughout the first half, though the Vandals had to crawl out of a 7-point deficit early. After that, neither team could gain more than a two-possession advantage, and it took Bianca Cheever’s baseline jumper with 3 seconds on the clock to give Idaho a two-point edge into the locker room.

In the second half, the Vandals twice made bids to control the game. Idaho opened on a 6-0 run to push the lead to 8, keyed by buckets from Kuehu and Olorunnife. But the Aggies responded with an 8-0 run of their own to tie the game, with Tabytha Wampler and Jasmine Lowe earning 3-point plays. With 12:17 to play, Crystal Boyd’s free throw gave NMSU a one-point lead — but it would be their last.

That’s because Olorunnife chose that moment to take over the game for Idaho. She drilled a jumper to put the Vandals back in the lead, dished up to Kuehu for a 3-pointer and then canned a trey of her own — Idaho by seven, 10:32 to play.

New Mexico State wasn’t done, though. For the next eight minutes, both teams turned the Lawlor hardwood into a 3-point shooting gallery. Lowe drilled a three — Otero responded likewise. Danisha Corbett knocked down back-to-back shots from long range, putting the Aggies within a point of tying the game. Right-back-atcha came Otero and Cheever to keep Idaho ahead, and time was running out for New Mexico State. A deep dagger from Otero and two free throws from Olorunnife with a minute left sealed the Aggies’ fate.

“Every time they made a run, one of these guys right here (Kuehu, Olorunnife and Otero) made a big shot to keep us in front, and I thought it was important that we keep the lead down the stretch,” Newlee  said. “It just seemed like big shot after big shot. They’d hit one and then we would.”

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Idaho 75, New Mexico State 63

10 Mar

RENO, Nev. — History has been made in the Lawlor Events Center this afternoon, as Yinka Olorunnife’s 23 points and 10 rebounds led Idaho to a 75-63 victory over New Mexico State in Western Athletic Conference Tournament quarterfinal action.

The Vandals become the first Idaho team ever to advance to a WAC Tournament semifinal game — the fourth-seeded Vandals (11-19, 8-8 WAC) will face No. 1 Fresno State (26-5, 16-0 WAC) on Friday at noon.

Shaena Kuehu scored a career-high 22 points and also pulled down 10 rebounds. Olorunnife canned three of four attempts from downtown, pacing the Vandals — who, as a team, shot a red-hot 10-for-23 from beyond the arc. Idaho also outrebounded the Aggies, 46-37. It’s the Vandals’ fifth straight win over New Mexico State, as Jon Newlee-coached teams have never lost to the WAC’s Red Aggies.

We’ll have a complete postgame story tonight — for now, here’s raw video from the postgame press conferences and game stats.

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Vandal Nation Live in Reno: (4) Idaho vs. (5) New Mexico State

10 Mar

RENO, Nev. — In the Vandals’ five years in the Western Athletic Conference, no Idaho basketball team has made it past the tournament quarterfinals.

That could be about to change.

This afternoon, the fourth-seeded Vandals square off against the fifth-seeded New Mexico State Aggies in a battle royale between a pair of squads that have no love lost between them. The winner goes on to the WAC Tournament semis.

Jon Newlee’s squad has made a miracle turnaround, after losing star guard Derisa Taleni to a preseason injury and winning just two non-conference games. Led by Shaena Kuehu, Rachele Kloke, Yinka Olorunnife and Charlotte Otero, the Vandals have taken down NMSU the last four times the teams have met. Can they make it five? We’ll find out.

Complete pregame coverage begins at 2 p.m., with tipoff 30 minutes later.

Click here for Vandal Nation Live commentary, analysis and chat!

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