Vandal Women Finish No.2 in Big West

The Vandal Women completed a remarkable run through the 2003-2004 season, and now will play the waiting game in anticipation of a bid to the NIT. Among all their accomplishments this year, they ended the regular season ranked No. 2 in the Big West, then played in the Big West Tournament championship before falling to UC Santa Barbara 68-51.<br> <br> Congratulations to the team, and the coaching staff, on a superb regular season and tournament this year. Is the NIT next?

The University of Idaho women's basketball (22-7, 13-5 BWC) team ended the year with school's first 20-win season for a women's team since 1989-90. It was a remarkable run for Idaho this year...a run that saw Idaho getting AP votes at various times throughout the regular season. They split the regular season matchup with Conference champion UC Santa Barbara (25-6, 17-1 BWC), giving the Gauchos their only Conference loss of the season. Despite being significantly smaller than most of the teams they faced this year, the Vandals battled with tenacious perimeter shooting and a meticulous passing game. And defense.

Offensively Idaho boasted the Nation's #1 scorer in sophomore phenom Emily Faurholt, who averaged a stunning 26.1 points per game. Freshman sensation Leilani Mitchell was 18th in the nation in assists (156 total, 6.0 per game), 23rd in the nation in free-throw shooting percentage (85.0%), and 25th in the nation in steals (a total of 80 for 3.1 per-game average). Both set several UI single-season marks, plus senior Taylor Benson became 5th in career 3-pointers while junior Heather Thoelke is 7th in career 3-pointers. Its a young, talented team that head coach Mike Divilbiss has assembled, and basically the entire team is coming back next fall (only 2 seniors will be lost to graduation).

The players expected back for Idaho next year are the following:


Emily Halliday, 5-7, Sophomore
Started 1 game, played in 28, averaged 14.7 minutes and 3.0 points per game and 82% from the free-throw line.

Leilani Mitchell, 5-5, Sophomore
Started 27 games, averaged 15.9 points per game (#2 on team), recorded 161 assists, 87 steals, and 85.5% from the free-throw line.

Chelsea Pahl, 5-7, Sophomore
Played in 7 games this season in a deep guard rotation.

AnnMarie Summerhays, 5-3, Sophomore
Played in 6 games this year in a deep guard rotation, and was perfect at the free-throw line going 6-6.

Ticey Westbrooks, 5-8, Sophomore
Played in 1 game this season.


Karly Felton, 5-11, Sophomore
Started 27 games and played in 28. Shot 61% from the free-throw line, averaged 2.5 rebounds and 4.1 points per game, and recorded 19 steals.

Heather Thoelke, 6-0, Senior
Started 28 games, averaged 37.7 minutes per game, 10.4 PPG (#3 on team), 5.9 RPG, plus recorded 83 assists, 13 blocked shots and 57 steals.


Emily Dukes, 6-0, Senior
Played in 7 games, shot 67% from the free-throw line, and pulled down 4 rebounds..

Emily Faurholt, 5-11, Junior
Started 28 games this season, averaged 37.5 minutes per game, shot 49% from the field (41% from the 3-point arc), 80% from the free throw line, and averaged a team and national best 25.8 points per game. Also averaged a team best 6.9 rebounds per game, plus added 48 assists, 23 blocked shots, and 44 steals.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves looking at next year though, there still might be more action for the Vandal women this spring. We'll keep our eyes open for an NIT invite, but regardless of a bid, all of us at would like to congratulate the seniors, coaching staff, and the entire team on an impressive season and superb effort during the Big West Tournament!

LINK: Official Site Women's Basketball page with summaries/stats


Below are a series of images from last week's WOMEN'S Big West Tournament played at The Anaheim Convention Center.

Freshman guard Leilani Mitchell battles for the ball against the University of the Pacific in Idaho's semifinal victory. (Chris Carlson / AP)

Sophomore forward Emily Faurholt led the nation in scoring this entire season, and was a key focus of attention for opposing teams in the tournament. (Chris Carlson / AP)

Idaho celebrates it semifinal victory as Pacific leaves the court. (Chris Carlson / AP)

Vandal wing, junior Heather Thoelke, passes past UC Santa Barbara during the Championship game Saturday afternoon. (Chris Carlson / AP)

Vandal post Emily Faurholt battles for a loose ball in the paint against UC Santa Barbara. (Chris Carlson / AP)

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