Top seeded Vandals advance

NO.1 SEED IDAHO (23-8) JUMPED OUT TO A 54-POINT first half lead and cruised to a final 84-43 victory over No.8 seed Chicago State in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference tournament. Sophomore Christina Salvatore led Idaho with a game-high 18 points, backed up by sophomore ALI FORDE'S fifth double-double of the season (15 pts, 13 rebounds). Idaho next faces NMSU Friday at noon.

The following is an official press release from the University of Idaho Athletics Media Relations Department.

LAS VEGAS, Nev.—The Idaho women's basketball team scored a season-high 54 first-half points and that proved to be all they needed, defeating No. 8 Chicago State 84-43 in quarterfinal play of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament at the Orleans Arena on Wednesday.

Idaho (23-8, 15-1 WAC) opened play scoring the game's first five points. The Cougars recorded the next four, cutting the Vandals' lead to one. Sophomore Ali Forde's layup at the 16:36 mark triggered a 20-4 Idaho run over the next 5:56, boosting Idaho to a 25-8 lead. The Vandals would increase their lead to 54-16 by the final buzzer of the opening period.

The Vandals shot a stellar 58.6 percent in the first half. Sophomore Christina Salvatore drilled four first-half three pointers to lead the way for Idaho with 12 points at the break. Stacey Barr, the WAC Player of the Year, finished the first half with 11 points. Agueda Trujillo Fernandez Alyssa Charlston finished with 11 and 9, respectively.

"I thought the first half was certainly one of our better halves of the year," head coach Jon Newlee stated. "It may be the best offensively just in terms of moving and sharing the basketball, just making really good decisions out on the floor. I liked our defensive intensity as well in that first half. I thought we really brought it. I thought we were really ready to play."

Idaho drilled 11 first-half three-point baskets, marking a new season-high. Salvatore and Trujillo Fernandez combined for seven long range field goals, shooting 7-of-9. As a team Idaho shot 11-of-21 (52.4 percent) from downtown and 21-of-37 (56.8 percent) from the field. Idaho finished the day with 14 three-pointers, one shy of the school and WAC Tournament record.

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