Vandal Women Top Eastern Washington

Tuesday night the University of Idaho women's basketball team posted a dramatically improved performance, chewing up Eastern Washington University (1-2) to register an 80-70 win, giving the Vandals (1-3) their first victory of the season. Incidentally, the Vandals tonight scored the most points by an Idaho women's team in a non-overtime game since the 2006 season.

LINK: Official University of Idaho Game Story

Statistics of Note:

- With the Vandals repeatedly driving the ball to the hoop, the game was eventually decided at the free throw line. Idaho sank 22 of 34 free throws compared to 13 of 15 for the Eagles. Idaho drew 25 fouls by driving aggressively to the hoop, while committing only 13.

- The Vandals put five players in double figure: Derisa Taleni with 18, Yinka Olorunnife with 17, Shaena Kuehu with 15, Rachele Kloke with 13 and Charlotte Otero with 12. Alana Curtis finished with 4 and Liz Boyden 1. EWU had three players in double figures.

- Despite facing an opponent that started four players taller than 5-11 (including 3 over 6-0), the Vandals - whose tallest starter was Yinka Olorunnife (6-0) - held a 47-34 edge in total rebounds. Individually, Olorunnife led with 9, Kloke and Kuehu had 8 each, Otero and Taleni had 4 each, Alana Curtis had 3 and Liz Boyden 1. No EWU player had more than 6.

- In miscellaneous stats, the Vandals blocked eight shots (three each by Olorunnife and Taleni) compared to just one for EWU. Olorunnife led Idaho with four steals followed by Otero with three, Taleni with three and Kloke with one.

- After hitting just 7-of-14 free throws in the first half, the Vandals canned 15 of 20 in the second half.

- Team statistics of note: The Vandals hit 19 layups for 38 points in the paint compared to 18 for EWU.


First Year Idaho Head Coach

Overall Summary:

Jon Newlee: "We did a great job on the glass, and I think our overall athleticism really, really got it done tonight.Jon Newlee: We did a great job on the glass, and I think our overall athleticism really, really got it done tonight."

Q: Free throws – 34 free throws tonight making 15 of 20 in the second half and you making most of them at the end to hold them off.

JN: "It was huge. It was night and day from the Colorado game, but we told them they've got to attack the rim. We felt like we could attack the rim tonight, and when we attack the rim then we've got to either finish or we've got to make some free throws. In the second half Charlotte (Otero) particularly I think stepped up and made some big free throws for us (making 6 of 8). It was nice to see, but we've still got to do better than 64%. I know that."

Q: How about the aggressive mindset…the mentality of the team being aggressive the whole game.

JN: "I told them we can't just sit back and think we're going to shoot a bunch of 3's…We have athletic kids who do a good job off the bounce. I don't think we played to our strengths particularly in Colorado. We just weren't patient, but I think tonight really showed what we can do offensively when everybody's clicking."

Q: Shot selection…it seemed like they were taking good clear shots and they were making them.

JN: "It was huge. We told them they've been rushing 3's and really just kind of been jacking them up. We said, "Look. If they're there, great," but I talked to a couple of kids about not taking 3's and about getting to the rim and they really listened."

GAYLEN WOOD: Is your lineup now completely healthy? It looked like you were rotating a lot more people in there this time.

JN: "Everybody's healthy that was out here and is ready to play…They're all feeling good right now. I have a better idea of the rotation I want to use and and to keep them in their spots which was part of it the first couple of games I think; so people are settling into the roles and understand what they need to do."

GW: It looks they're being a lot more aggressive, everybody stepping up.

JN: "Yeah they did. That was a total team effort tonight, and that's what we were looking for. One person is not going to take us. Everyone has to do their job, and I think tonight saw that everybody that got in there did their job."


Q: As a team, from a week ago when you played Montana until now, a complete 180. How did that happen?

Derisa Taleni: "It has to do with practice. We came into practice focused. We knew we should have beaten Montana. We had our game plan out, but we just came up too short. We didn't know what went wrong until we actually sat down, really focused. It was like, "You know, we've got to get this done." We know better. We go through practice hard now and really focus."

Q: About Charlotte Otero, point guard:

DT: "She's our spark player. She doesn't know it, but she is. We feed off of her energy. She's the one who sets us up. She's the one that calls out everything. She gets us started. She did well today for us. She's been doing well for the past three games, and I think she doesn't get the recognition…but we appreciate her, all her energy and everything she does even throughout practice. She keeps us motivated, pushes us every day, and we're glad to have her on the team."

Q: What does the win do for the whole team's mindset:

DT: "It boosts our energy. Now we can go in and be like, "We can win now." We know what it takes to win. We know how hard we've got to play. This one is a sweet one for us, especially when there's nobody here. I mean, we're stuck here for Thanksgiving, but this is our boost before we go out to our tournament. Now we know what to do."

Q: Talk about the team's balance tonight. The last two games have been one or two people scoring a lot. Today you had five people in double digits, moving the ball around. How big was that?

DT: "I think we now know not to be selfish. At first we were like we didn't know we were being a little bit selfish. None of us knew that, but throughout practice our coach always hits us about making the extra pass, setting our teammates up, being a good teammate. When we move the ball around we know not to take early shots on the shot clock, and I think that just helped us today, to move the ball around, giving everybody touches."

Q: Coach had talked about using your athleticism to your advantage early in the year. Today you were able to drive right past (EWU) to get to the basket and create opportunities. Was it helping, the athleticism?

DT: "It was a major help. I think that we don't know that we have athletic ability sometime (chuckling), but it showed today. A lot of the girls really realized that they can take it to the basket hard, and if we go hard that's what the outcome will be, and getting to free throw line and getting the win and getting everybody hyped tonight. We're a very athletic team. They don't know it, but I think they realized that today."

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