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.