Gonzaga Women Blast Idaho 91-42 in Moscow

When the 2011-12 Vandal women's basketball schedule was posted earlier this year, the November 17 home game against Gonzaga, an Elite Eight team in the NCAA Tourney last year, loomed as perhaps the toughest non-conference game JON NEWLEE's young Vandals would play. With two of Idaho' top points guards on the bench in street clothes and only eight players suited up, Idaho was overwhelmed.

The result: The Bulldogs blasted the Vandals 91-42 Thursday night in Memorial Gym. All 12 Zags in uniform scored. All 12 had at least one rebound. All but two had either an assist, a steal, or a blocked shot.

Jon Newlee was asked by the media what his team took away from the game. "Well," the coach commented, "I think our players can take away they see what a top 20 team is like out on the floor. I think physically they really took us out of what we wanted to do. They did a great job defensively of just taking us out of our spots, and I told our players they need to respond physically better than we did tonight, because teams are going to try to manhandle us I think, and that's what happened tonight, all of this in the context of the game."

The team statistics underlined how dominant the Zags were: a 49-33 edge in rebounds leading to a 26-11 edge in second chance points, a 40-16 advantage on points in the paint, and as far as the transition game in which the Bulldogs specialize, the edge was even more pronounced: 34 points off turnovers to 1 for Idaho and a 15-0 edge in fast break points.

"If you relax against a team like the Zags that's what happens," said Newlee. "It turns so fast. That's what we told our players. Transition is their game. They're lightening fast at every spot, and if we make a turnover in the open floor we're gonna pay for it. That's what I was disappointed in, our execution as far as taking care of the basketball. I think we could have done a better job of that tonight."

Missing with injuries were freshman Krissy Karr and senior Ganeaya Rogers who between then as starters averaged 21.5 points and the bulk of the team's assists. Was it a big factor? "It was a killer. There's our starting point guard (Karr), there's really our third point guard; so Adrie Shiels is playing point guard if I have to take Keri (Arendse) out…It's tough without those two. I think Krissy has brought a lot to us. Ganeaya is having a really good senior year so far. We missed them tonight, but like I told our eight that played, 'Well, this is what we've got and this is what we're going with; so you've got to suck it up and let's go. If you get tired let me know and we'll keep rotating people in…You're gonna play different spots, play different spots….I appreciate the effort.

"I thought Stacey (Barr) (18 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal) did a good job of taking it to 'em and playing hard," Newlee said. I thought Jess (Graham) (4 rebounds and 6 points) when she was in there was battling. Keri battled (5 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals). I think they battled. It's just it was a big mountain tonight, and the Zags are very talented. I mean, they're a top 20 team, and we're not right now."

The Vandals will be on the road for their next three games traveling to Missoula to face Montana Sunday before heading to Albuquerque for the University of New Mexico Tournament November 25 and 26.


POST-GAME MEDIA COMMENTS, JON NEWLEE:

COACH, WHAT DO YOU TAKE AWAY FROM A GAME LIKE THAT? "Well, I think our players can take away they see what a top 20 team is like out on the floor. I think physically they really took us out of what we wanted to do. They did a great job defensively of just taking us out of our spots, and I told our players they need to respond physically better than we did tonight, because teams are going to try to manhandle us I think, and that's what happened tonight, all of this in the context of the game. Gonzaga obviously is an extremely talented basketball team. I don't see a weakness on that team. They lost (Courtney) Vandersloot, but they bring the K-State kid in, and she's not Vandersloot but she's pretty good. They've all gotten a year older and a year better and they're freshmen are good. That's a team that's gonna make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. I said, 'We've got to learn from what we did out here tonight. We're trying to win the WAC, and this is a step toward that, of learning what it's gonna take to beat the elite teams in the WAC, like La. Tech and Fresno State. They're good teams as well."

HOW MUCH DID IT HURT WITHOUT KRISSY KARR AND GANEAYA (ROGERS)? "It was a killer. There's our starting point guard, there's really our third point guard; so Adrie Shiels is playing point guard if I have to take Keri (Arendse) out, and the problem is Keri can't play all those minutes; so we had that whole problem going. It's tough without those two. I think Krissy has brought a lot to us. Ganeaya is having a really good senior year so far. We missed them tonight, but like I told our eight that played, 'Well, this is what we've got and this is what we're going with; so you've got to suck it up and let's go. If you get tired let me know and we'll keep rotating people in…You're gonna play different spots, play different spots….I appreciate the effort."

HOW DO YOU THINK THEY HELD UP WITH AS MUCH AS GONZAGA RUNS AND AS SHORT HANDED AS YOU WERE? "Well, I think in spurts we were doing okay, but if you relax against a team like the Zags that's what happens. It turns so fast. That's what we told our players. Transition is their game. They're lightening fast at every spot, and if we make a turnover in the open floor we're gonna pay for it. That's what I was disappointed in, our execution as far as taking care of the basketball. I think we could have done a better job of that tonight."

TWO TOUGH GAMES LIKE THIS IN A ROW NOW. ARE YOU WORRIED AT ALL ABOUT THE TEAM'S MORALE GOING FORWARD? "Nah. It's so early. I mean, what is the third game? Third game, no. It's not even a factor. They understand what's going on. They understand we're short handed. Everybody rallies around, and like we just talked about…it's a long, long season. We're barely into it; so nope, we're doing fine mentally."

WHAT'S THE STATUS ON KRISSY AND GANEAYA? "I don't know. We'll see Sunday. I don't know if one of them can play, one of 'em can't. Literally I think it'll be game time before we know whether either of 'em can play."

ANYBODY STAND OUT TO YOU TONIGHT ON YOUR TEAM? "I thought Stacey (Barr) did a good job of taking it to 'em and playing hard. I thought Jess (Graham) when she was in there was battling. Keri battled. I think they battled. It's just it was a big mountain tonight, and the Zags are very talented. I mean, they're a top 20 team, and we're not right now."
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON GOING INTO MONTANA ON SUNDAY? "We're gonna kinda work on the same stuff. I think we've got to rebound better and we've got to take better care of the basketball. I thought we were careless at times, and we didn't meet passes and get open and do the things we need to do to execute offensively. We can't have 26 turnovers. We're not gonna win any games with 26 turnovers and 5 assists. That ratio sucks. We've got to work at it."




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