Vandals win WAC, prep for NCAA Tourney

THE UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM completed its best season in decades (25-8, 15-1 WAC) after claiming the regular season conference title and then winning their second straight Western Athletic Conference Tournament Championship, led by tournament MVP Stacey Barr with 28 points and all-tournament selection Alyssa Charlston with 17 in the 75-67 victory over 3rd seed Seattle U.

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

LAS VEGAS—The University of Idaho women's basketball team is headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year, after defeating No. 3 Seattle U, 75-67. Junior Stacey Barr was named the Western Athletic Conference Tournament's Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row. Barr finished with a game-high 28 points.

Idaho (25-8) completed its WAC title defense shooting 44.1 percent (23-of-49) from the field. Senior Alyssa Charlston posted 11 second-half points and 17 for the game on her way to All-Tournament team. It was her third straight All-Tournament honor.

"What a feeling and what a game," head coach Jon Newlee said following the win. "We got out to that quick early lead and were really rolling. I thought the foul trouble then hurt us. I knew they [Seattle U] were not going away. They are a tough team and Joan [Bonvicini] does a great job with them. I knew we were going to be in for a battle today."

The Silver and Gold jumped out to an 8-0 start right out of the gate on Saturday. Sophomore Connie Ballestero hit an open three to get Idaho going. Ali Forde and Christina Salvatore tacked on five more points before Seattle U would get on the board.

Idaho's biggest loead of 14 came at the 11:44 mark in the first half. With the shot clock expiring Barr threw up a shot from the Vegas Strip to put Idaho ahead 18-4. Seattle U began to chip away from there. The Redhawks would outscore Idaho 10-4 in the next four minutes and 23-11 the remainder of the half. Idaho held a slim 29-27 lead at the break.

"We felt like those last 20 minutes were going to be ours," Newlee added. "We talked about refusing to lose at halftime. We just kept battling. [Stacey and Alyssa] put us on their back and finished the deal."

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