Week In Review

The Vandal indoor track team continues to carry the torch for Idaho, led at the Husky Invite by throwers Russ Winger (leads nation in shot), Matt Wautters (leads WAC in weight throw), and pole vaulter Melinda Owen who seemingly sets a new UI record every week. Both basketball teams continued their rebuilding struggles, while Idaho tennis hosted its first home match in three years...and won!

Paced by Melinda Owen's new school record in the women's pole vault and a total of 24 personal bests for the men's and women's teams, the Vandal indoor track and field teams continued to roll through invitiational meet competition this weekend at the Husky Invitational in Seattle. Owen raised the UI indoor standard to 15-5-3/4 inches and was one of 10 personal bests set by the Vandal women Friday. Saturday thrower Russ Winger continued to dominate competition in the Pacific Northwest winning the shot with a mark of 65-2 tying his personal best and winning the event by 6 feet 4 inches over the second place finisher. Winger also placed fourth in the weight throw with a personal best just behind teammate Matt Wauters who currently leads the WAC.

The Vandals will host the Vandal Indoor Friday evening and the McDonald's Open Saturday morning in the Kibbie Dome.

Here are links to stories and stats on both teams' performances this weekend:

OFFICIAL Idaho Men's Track Story

OFFICIAL Women's Track Story

In their first home match in the Kibbie Dome in three years, the Vandal women's tennis team took a 4-3 win over Montana State Friday afternoon. The Vandals started off hot sweeping their first doubles and singles matches then pulled out wins in two of the final three matches of the day to post the team win.

Here's a link to the UI report on the match:
OFFICIAL Idaho Tennis Site

After a one-sided loss at BSU Wednesday night, the Vandals returned home Saturday to the Cowan Spectrum and ran into a first-half Utah State buzzsaw as the Aggies sank their first six shots from the field, 12 of their first 15, and wound up with a 43-23 halftime lead after leading by as many as 23 points.

The Vandals spent almost the entire halftime in the locker room, returning to the floor about 60 seconds before the second half tip-off. The coaching staff preceded the team to the arena. The Vandals then proceeded to outscore the Aggies 43-32 in the final 20 minutes slicing the lead to 10 points with 3:05 remaining but they were never able to completely close the gap. Keoni Watson had 24 points to lead the Vandals who also got a season-high 18 from Miles Webb. Jaycee Carroll had 28 points and 8 rebounds for the Aggies.

Webb was asked about the halftime changes the Vandals made. "He [first-year head coach George Pfeifer] just let us know that we weren't playing that well. We really got on ourselves. We came out and said we have to play better. We have to have confidence in ourselves, and we have to do the right things. A combination of coach Pfeifer and our other coaches telling us what we needed to do, and really us telling ourselves what we needed to do, which was the most important part. We had to tell ourselves that we can't play like this, that we're better than that. That's why I think we came out better in the second half."

Pfeifer said, "Obviously in the second half I thought we played with more fire and more spirit. It's different guys different times. We're constantly in search mode for that, and I don't understand. I understand the record has a tendency to drain you. But we do practice well, and that's why we do get better; so you would think when we came into the game we would take what we were practicing and try to put it into application with some emotion and some vigor. We [instead] make some silly plays.

"We got beat by 29 rebounds in our last game and we got beat by 16 in this game. We gave up nine offensive boards which is over 50% of their missed shots. That's not good. I mean, Jaycee Carroll has three of them, a guard. He just jumped up and grabbed rebounds tonight. We tried to get the ball inside. We've been making that an emphasis. We can't have nights where we're 4-for-20," the coach continued. "That's what we were with our interior guys. To shoot percentage you have to get it inside. We made baskets tonight from the perimeter. We did not make baskets inside. We got the ball I think pretty close to the basket. We had scoring opportunities and we didn't convert them. It wasn't one person again. It was a while kaleidoscope of people, and we work on that. We're not going to go away from it, but goodness gracious. You've got to make some of the shots that you see next to the rim."

The Vandals will be at Louisiana Tech Wednesday then host UC Riverside Saturday in a Bracket Buster game.

Freshman Katie Madison posted another double-double with 28 points and 10 rebounds, but it was not enough to offset the scoring balance of the Utah State Aggies who cashed in two timely three-point field goals and a couple of Idaho misses at the free-throw line for a 57-53 win at the Cowan Spectrum Saturday.

The game was disappointing to the Vandals who absorbed a 70-40 loss to BSU Wednesday while playing shorthanded.

"We had more shots than they did. We took better care of the ball than they did. We did a better job on the offensive boards than they did, we just couldn't make a basket when we needed one," coach Mike Divilbiss said after the game Saturday.

"I don't want the program built around one kid, but Katie plays very consistently for a freshman," Divilbiss said. "You almost start to expect a double-double from her every night and she is a freshman. Let's be realistic. Our two freshmen are our point guard and our post. I have always believed that is where you build a program. We have a post that is a legitimate threat in the box and can rebound. The things she needs to improve are mostly within the system, and also knowing where the double is coming from, but she is already pretty good at that. Charlotte [Otero] needs to be more of a threat offensively, but she is leading the league in assists."

The Vandal women will be off most of the week before hitting the road for a Saturday game at Louisiana Tech. They will be at Nevada Feb. 22 and close out the regular season at home hosting Hawaii March 1 and San Jose State March 3.

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