Weekend Wrap: Men's & Women's Hoops

As has become all-to-common this season, both the men's and women's basketball teams came up short on the hardwood. The men dropped two games this week, including a road loss at La Tech and a frustrating home loss to UC Riverside of the Big West Conference at home. The women put up a valiant fight on the road at traditional WAC power La Tech, but eventually fell by 7 to the Lady Techsters.

Women Hoops vs. La Tech –
In their only game of the week, the Vandal women made the long trip to Louisiana Tech Saturday night, and despite falling behind by 12 at the half and by 13 with 11:43 to play, the Vandals staged a furious comeback against the storied Lady Techsters, one of only three teams to compete in every NCAA women's championship tournament, on their home floor.

The Vandals sliced the lead to five ix points with just over a minute to play and then cut it to three when Charlotte Otero hit a jumper to make it 74-71 before the Techsters held on for a 78-71 win.

Lindsey Koppen, a junior who transferred to Idaho this season, led the Vandals with 19 points.

In a media release from the UI Sports Information Office, coach Mike Divilbiss said, "We are starting to gain some confidence. Confidence is demonstrating ability. Tonight is the first time we have approached an opponent in the top half of the league with an attitude of just go play. We took a big step tonight, I think. One thing that was really nice about our stat sheet was to have five players in double-figures," Divilbiss said. "That is great balance. A lot of nights 71 points will be good enough to win, but Tech is very good."

The balanced Vandal scoring was led by Lindsey Koppen's 19 points. Katie Madison had 14 points on the night, Sara Dennehy chipped in 12, and Liz Witte and Otero each had 10. Otero had 8 assists and 4 steals Witte and Dennehy tied for top rebounding honors with six each. The Vandals visit Nevada Thursday then close out the regular season with home games against Hawai'I March 1 and San Jose State (Senior Night) March 3.

Men's Hoops Drops Two
The highlights this week were statistical, despite two more difficult to swallow losses on the season. Overall, Idaho connected on six three-pointers this week, giving the 2006-07 Vandals the school single-season three-point record with 193 total. The new mark breaks the old record of 190 set by the 1998-99 squad.

Saturday night junior forward Darin Nagle (6-10, 220) blocked three shots to move into a tie for eighth place on the University of Idaho single-season blocked shot list with 36 in just 17 games this year. Nagle is tied with Riley Smith (89-90) and Raymond Brown (87-88).

As far as games, the end results were not as positive. Senior guard Keoni Watson led all scorers with 27 points Saturday against UC Riverside (Big West Conference) in a home game played at Memorial Gym. Despite his effort and Nagle's blocked shots, the Vandals lost to UC Riverside 81-76, dropping to 3-23 overall on the season, the worst start in UI history.

Earlier in the week, the Vandals lost 68-59 to Louisiana Tech Wednesday night in Ruston, LA. The team shot 17% from the field in the first 24:27 of the contest, going 0-10 from behind the arc, committing 11 turnovers, and giving up 39 rebounds.

They turned things around though as the game went on, and finished the night shooting 31% from the floor, but were unable to catch the Bulldogs.

After Saturday's loss to Riverside, coach George Pfeifer said the Vandals came out flat to start the game. "I thought early on we were flat. We didn't play with a lot of energy. I think when you play a game like this - you know, both teams aren't having good seasons...having bad seasons - this is an opportunity for you to come out and play with some energy and maybe put ‘em back on their heels. We didn't do that, certainly.

"I don't want to take anything away from Riverside," Pfeifer said. "That's not my point. But right now I'm talking about us. That was just unacceptable. Inside of it, I thought Keoni (Watson) gave us good energy and good play tonight. I thought David Jackson did some good things tonight."

The Vandals close out the home portion of the regular season Thursday (Feb. 22) against Nevada. Tipoff on senior night will be 7:05 p.m. in Memorial Gym.

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