Vandal women fall 78-68 to North Dakota

IDAHO WAS COMING OFF A WIN OVER NORTH DAKOTA JUST FIVE DAYS AGO, but this evening fell behind by 20 in the second half and couldn't make up the difference. Senior KERI ARENDSE topped the Vandals with 16 points, freshmen guard Stacey Barr had 15, and sophomore Alyssa Charlson had 13.

MOSCOW – After splitting two games in which there were no lead changes and each team had won once, the Vandal women faced North Dakota in the Cowan Spectrum Tuesday evening for the second time in five days. The game this time broke the mold with two ties and two lead changes, but in a mirror opposite result from last week's tournament matchup on a neutral court, the Fighting Sioux pulled out to 20-point leads twice in the second half and held off a late Vandal charge and cashed in at the free throw line to defeat the Vandals 78-68.

Vandal coach Jon Newlee was pleased with his team's comeback but was not happy with the reasons the Vandals trailed 60-40 with 9:41 left in the game.

"Yeah, it was a good comeback," Newlee said. "We finally decided to start playing hard, but unfortunately it took being down 20 to start playing hard, and that -- along with missing I don't know how many layups again and giving up how many O boards again -- cost us the game basically."

In the first meeting in November the Sioux won by 30 points against the young Vandals who were minus some key players. "A couple of our kids were hurt. We were very new. It was one of the first games of the year. They were a veteran team coming back; so I think it shows how much we've improved since that first game with them," he said. "This was very much like the second game in the fact that we got out to the big lead. We were up 20 on them in the second half and they came back like did this half. It was just kind of a reversal of what happened up in Montana."

The taller, physical Fighting Sioux out rebounded the Vandals 49-38 including 15 offensive boards and sank 17 of 22 free throws (77%) while the Vandals made 13 of 21 (62%) and missed two costly free throw attempts late in the game.

Idaho had outscored North Dakota 24-8 over a seven minute span to cut a 60-40 down to four points with 2:11 remaining in the game. The Vandals then missed three of their next six free throws to allow the Sioux to regain momentum and secure the win.

Newlee said his team played better in the second half. "Yeah. We were playing harder. You can calI it aggressive; you can say what you want, but we were making better decisions with the ball and we were attacking and playing harder at both ends," he said. "Offensively we're got to make layups. We can't get any closer. Our free throw shooting has got to improve. We've been working, working, working. They need to shoot better free throws as a group, as a team. That'll cost you games. It cost us tonight, not being able to convert at the line."

Senior Keri Arendse topped the Vandals with 16 points, freshmen guard Stacey Barr had 15, and sophomore Alyssa Charlson had 13.

Barr, who also had 6 rebounds and 4 assists, had one of her best games of the season especially in the second half. "The first half wasn't too good as coach said. I was doing too much with the ball. I need to kick it around and just cut through like he said, run our offense, and in the second half I thought I did a little bit better," Barr said.

The native of Werribee, Australia was asked about her hustling style of play which includes diving to the floor after loose balls. "I like to get after the ball and get the ball down the court for our team and get it back in defense," said. Still adjusting to a faster pace at the Division I level, Barr said there are similarities to her experiences in Australia. "It's a little bit different (in America). It's a little bit quicker. The physicality is around the same because I was playing in an older league, but yeah. It's definitely a lot quicker and a lot more intense. (We) get up and down the court a lot more (here)."

Newlee is still hoping the Vandals can pick up their intensity on the practice court and in game as they close out the non-conference season. "It's a young team that needs to learn how to play hard every night," he said. "They need to learn how to practice hard every day and they've got to get more physical. We've been man-handled by teams and I feel like we've back down against teams, and it's gonna be worse in the WAC. It's a rough league. It's a physical league, and these kids have got to get tougher physically."

Idaho will close out non-conference action at home Thursday with a 5:30 matchup against Seattle University then will initiate the WAC season January 12 at Louisiana Tech.


POST-GAME COMMENTS

JON NEWLEE:

GENERAL COMMENTS: You were down 20 twice, the last time with 9-1/2 minutes left.

"Yeah, it was a good comeback. We finally decided to start playing hard, but unfortunately it took to be down 20 to start playing hard, and that along with missing I don't know how many layups again and giving up how many O boards again cost us the game basically."


Compared to the other two games against these guys how did this one go?

"Well, I think you throw out the first game because it was a couple of our kids hurt. We were very new. It was one of the first games of the year. They were a veteran team coming back; so I think it shows how much we've improved since that first game with them. It was very much like the second game in the fact that we got out to the big lead. We were up 20 on them in the second half and they came back like did this half. It was just kind of a reversal of what happened up in Montana."


Besides playing hard and the keys to the comeback, you seemed to be playing much more aggressively and handling the ball better.

"Yeah. We were playing harder. You can calI it aggressive; you can say what you want, but we were making better decisions with the ball and we were attacking and playing harder at both ends."


You've got one more non-conference game then you're going into the WAC play. Overall what's your general sense of the non-conference season?

"General assessment is it's a young team that needs to learn how to play hard every night. They need to learn how to practice hard every day and they've got to get more physical. We've been man-handled by teams and I feel like we've back down against teams, and it's gonna be worse in the WAC. It's a rough league. It's a physical league, and these kids have got to get tougher physically."


Offensively, defensively what's got to change?

"Offensively we're got to make layups. We can't get any closer. Our free throw shooting has got to improve. We've been working, working, working. They need to shoot better free throws as a group, as a team. That'll cost you games. It cost us tonight, not being able to convert at the line. I'm not sure what we were from the line, but I know it wasn't good. Defensively it's blocking out, it's rebounding, giving a team one shot. They got a bunch of rebounds, and that's one thing against these guys. They're physical and they really pounded us on the boards both games before this. They had 23 O boards at their place, 24 O boards in Montana, but we beat 'em in Montana even with that."


Anyone stand out for you tonight? It looked like in the second half (Keri) Arendse and (Stacey) Barr kinda took control of the game.

"I think Stacey did a good job in the second half of not just bouncing the ball around and attacked and did a much better job with that. I liked Keri's play in the second half. I thought Ashley Walters actually played well tonight."


Ashley's looking good.

"Yeah. She's really come along and done a much better job the last month, really, but up in Montana she played well both games. The game before she played well. I like Ashley's improvement. Stacey had a good second half. I thought Keri had a good second half. The foul trouble Alyssa (Charlston) gets in, but she got in foul trouble quick against them the last time as well."


Do you get a lot of benefit from bringing Stacey off the bench?

"Yeah. It's nice that Stacey can come in and take good shots and make good decisions, rebound. I thought she did a good job on the glass tonight. I thought she played better defense tonight. I think the first half she was holding the ball too much and we talked about that at halftime. You've got to pass and move. She's gonna get her shot. She can score. Like I said she needs to get her feet set, she needs to take good looks, but I thought she always bring a great aggressiveness to us, an attacking mentality that we need."


STACEY BARR:

Pretty decent ball game. It looks like your knee are a little bit scraped up and banged up. You were all over the floor. Is that your basic style…you like to dive around?

"I like to get after the ball and get the ball down the court for our team and get it back in defense, which end ever."


How would you rate your effort tonight in the second half? You seemed to be really leading the charge for a while there."

"Yeah. The first half wasn't too good as coach said. I was doing too much with the ball. I need to kick it around and just cut through like he said, run our offense, and in the second half I thought I did a little bit better."


Talk a little bit about your role coming in off the bench. Would you rather be a starter or do you enjoy being able to come in like that when the game's in the process and kinda turn things around?

"I'm definitely the sixth player, like we've got Ganeaya and Kerri who are seniors and Krissy (Karr) who does a great job at the point; so I don't think I'd be taking over their role anytime soon. I'm happy coming off the bench and doing my part."


How are you adjusting to playing at this level? How does this level compare to what you were playing in Australia?

"It's a little bit different. It's a little bit quicker. The physicality is around the same because I was playing in an older league, but yeah. It's definitely a lot quicker and a lot more intense, get up and down the court a lot more."


Do you enjoy playing here?

"Definitely."




ALL Vandals Top Stories