Archive | January, 2010

Inside game comes up big as Vandals snap losing streak

29 Jan

Seven seconds left in the first half, tie ballgame and Fresno State’s looking to add a seventh 3-pointer to their tally to take a lead into the locker room. Bulldog guard Steven Shepp aims a pass at forward Brandon Sperling and fires.

But the big man in white, Marvin Jefferson, was a half-step ahead. Idaho’s powerful center swiped the ball away and lumbered down the court as the clock ticked down. Jefferson’s 6-10 frame exploded into the air and slammed the ball home as the backboard flashed red. In your face, Fresno State.

From there on out, it was all Idaho.

Powered by a season-high 44 points in the paint, including 16 points from sophomore forward Luiz Toledo, the Idaho Vandals snapped a six-game losing streak by defeating Fresno State in the Cowan Spectrum, 74-59. Idaho improves to 9-10 overall, 2-6 in Western Athletic Conference play, while the Bulldogs fall to 11-11, 4-4 WAC.

We’ll have a complete postgame wrap in the morning, but for now here’s video interviews with Don Verlin, Luiz Toledo, Kashif Watson and Mac Hopson.

Photo Gallery: Idaho Vandals vs Fresno State Bulldogs

28 Jan

Vandal Nation Live: Idaho vs. Fresno State

28 Jan

Well, it’s do or die time for the Idaho Vandals. Is there anything left? A Paul George-less Bulldog squad comes to town tonight, and it’s the Vandals’ last chance at getting a win out of a three-game homestand that’s seen losses to Utah State and arch-rival Boise State.

We’ll have all the action for you with pregame at 6:45 p.m., tip at 7.

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

Photo Gallery: Idaho Vandals vs. Utah State Aggies

28 Jan

Charlotte Otero shows some slick moves with a no-look pass in transition against Utah State.

Bianca Cheever drives hard to the net past a Utah State defender.

Charlotte Otero flies through the air for a lay-up against Utah State

Shaena Kuehu powers past a Utah State defender for a lay-up.

Idaho’s Rachele Kloke releases a jump-shot against Utah State.

Rachele Kloke goes for a lay-up against Utah State

Charlotte Otero drives to the basket against Utah State.

Charlotte Otero slows down to call a new play to her team during Wednesday's game against Utah State

A young boy accompanies his father to clean the court during a media time-out.

Joe Vandal claps along to the music provided by Idaho's Marching Band during the halftime show.

The lovely ladies of Idaho's Cheer Squad perform a flip during media break.

Women fight back, tie game, but lose heartbreaker to Utah State

27 Jan

The Vandals came out of the time-out pumped and ready to defend. The clock read nine seconds, and the score was tied 55-55. Nine seconds — it was all that separated Idaho from an overtime period against Utah State.

“He (Idaho coach Jon Newlee) told us to stay with the players, don’t foul, and contend shots,” said junior post Yinka Olorunnife. “We were very confident that we were headed into overtime.”

Utah State worked their way down to the Vandals zone, trying to exploit an opening. There was none to be had. As the clock winded down, the ball found its way to the hands of Utah State’s TaHara Williams, who had not missed a shot all night.

She faked a shot, twirled around an Idaho defender and let loose a jump-shot as time expired. Fans held their breath as Williams’s shot sailed overhead towards the basket, arching perfectly in the air before falling through the hoop.

Then there was silence.

With that silence, Idaho dropped to 2-4 in the WAC, losing in heartbreaking fashion to Utah State by a final score of 57-55.

“It’s devastating,” Olorunnife said. ” One possession losses really get to you, but to lose at the buzzer, yeah… it’s the worst.”

The bitter loss comes after a valiant comeback from the Vandals, who dug themselves a hole early yet came back to tie at halftime and keep the second half competitive, in a game where there was very little to fault for the loss. The Vandals shot a respectable 45 percent from the floor, more than doubled Utah State on points off turnovers and tied for point in the paint.

“The very good teams make the plays at the end,” Newlee said. “You got to make your own luck — we didn’t get the loose balls and we didn’t make our own luck tonight.”

Newlee said he was proud of his squad for battling back from several deficits, and said he feels the team is a much-improved team over the squad at the start of the conference season.

The game was the first action for Debbie Pederson, who joined the team in late December and has been practicing ever since, but had yet to see game time. Pederson said she was working on adjusting to the pace of college basketball and learning the plays, but was happy to get out on to the court.

“I was trying not to get nervous and trying to stay calm and play,” Pederson said. “I just wanted to come in and help out the team as much as I could.”

Pederson played seven minutes and tallied her first two points of her college basketball career on free-throws, along with getting two defensive rebounds.

Newlee said he was impressed with the way Pederson played, despite acknowledging the fact that he has to limit the amount of plays they can do with her.

“I thought she did a great job, battled hard, and held her own against their (Utah State’s) big kids,” Newlee said. “I told her before the game to be mentally ready to play — I was very happy with the way she played tonight.”

At 6’3″, Pederson is the tallest player in Vandal uniform to see action this season along with fellow 6’3″ teammate Ally Sisel-Kumpfer. She adds some much-needed strength and height for the Vandals.

There is little time to grieve for the Vandals, who square off against Louisiana Tech on Saturday before coming home for a grudge-match against Nevada.

Vandal Nation Live: Idaho vs. Utah State

27 Jan

The Idaho women are back in action tonight against the Utah State Aggies, and Jon Newlee’s squad will be looking to build momentum off a road split last week.

We’ll have all the action from courtside in the Cowan Spectrum. Join us for pregame coverage at 6:30 p.m., tip at 7.

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

Boise State 77, Idaho 67

25 Jan

Somewhere in the locker room, there’s an Idaho basketball team that dropped 94 points on Utah and beat No. 25 Portland by 20 points. But those are now distant memories.

Idaho blew a 9-point lead over arch-rival Boise State, giving up an Anthony Thomas buzzer-beater to send the game into overtime — and from there the Broncos took over. Boise State avenged its sweep at the hands of the Vandals last season by defeating Idaho, 77-67.

The Vandals fall to 1-6 in the Western Athletic Conference, while the Broncos get their first win of the conference season and improve to 1-7.

We’ll have a complete postgame report later, but for now, here’s postgame interviews with coach Don Verlin and center Marvin Jefferson.