Vandal Women look to recover against Pacific

The Vandals lost a heatbreaker 55-54 to Long Beach State Sunday in the Spectrum, and had a chance to win on the last shot. Idaho (2-5) will look to rebound from the loss as they face University of the Pacific at 7 p.m Thursday night in Memorial Gym. The Tigers are 3-3 on the year, including 0-3 on the road. Then on Sunday Idaho hosts Washington State at 2 p.m. for the NCAA "Pack The House" game.

GAME SUMMARY, LONG BEACH STATE 55 IDAHO 54

- Sophomore Yinka Olorunnife posted her fourth career double-double with 20 points and 16 rebounds. It was her second consecutive game with 20 points ore more (she had 23 against Cal State Bakersfield last weekend). She also added two blocked shots and a steal. Her rebounds were equally divided between the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.

- Sophomore Rachele Kloke was the only other Vandal in double figures with 10. She had five rebounds including with 0.3 seconds left in the game. Her put-back went in but was a split second after the horn sounded to end the game. Junior point guard Charlotte Otero finished with nine points, two assists and five steals. Denise Taleni checked out with seven points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block. Shaena Kuehu added six points, five rebounds and two steals and Alan Curtis finished with two points, two steals and a rebound.

- Free throws were a problem for both teams. The Vandals made 12 of 22 for 54.5% on the game while the 49ers made only two of 10 for 20%. In the second half the two teams combined for six consecutive misses before Kloke made the second of two free throws with 10:33 left in the ball game. Long Beach was 0 for 7 from the line in the second half. Idaho was charged with eight fouls and Long Beach 16.

- Team shooting percentages favored Long Beach (24 of 60 for 40% compared to 19 of 70, 27.1% for Idaho). Longs Beach also held an edge from three-point range, 28.5% (5 of 13) to 22.2% (4 of 18) for the Vandals.

- Inside stuff – Idaho had a 21-19 edge in offensive rebounds and a 24-15 advantage in points in the paint, but both teams had 16 second chance points.

- Missed opportunities – The Vandals forced the 49ers into 28 turnovers (including 14 Idaho steals) but did not produce a fast break point. The Vandals turned the ball over 13 times (Long Beach had just four steals) but the 49ers picked up seven fast break points. Idaho did hold a 22-15 edge in points off turnovers.

- Wholesale substitutions: The 49ers substituted five players at a time several times during the game and, not surprisingly, held a 15-2 edge in points off the bench.

- Sunday basketball: This was the second of nine games the Vandals will play on Sunday afternoon this season. The 12 noon tipoff was to allow Long Beach to make travel connections to return to Southern California. All four remaining Sunday home games will start at 2 p.m.

- Thursday the Vandals will return to Memorial Gym for the final time this year to face University of the Pacific at 7 p.m. On Sunday Idaho hosts Washington State at 2 p.m. for the NCAA "Pack The House" game.

COACH NEWLEE POST-GAME QUOTES

Q: The Vandals were not as much of a physical presence in the first half as in the second.
JN: "Yeah. We talked about that at halftime, that we were getting shoved around. They went on the run in the first half and it was put backs. We weren't blocking out. Transition defense hurt us in the first half when they made the run; so we knew we had to battle in the second half."

Q: Were you for the most part pleased with the difference in the two halves and how you battled?
JN: "Oh yeah. There was a big difference between the two halves. I told them. "It's a 40-minute game. It's not a 20-minute game. I know Long Beach would come out with a lot of intensity. They're a very physical team. They're well coached. They're trying to get wins too. We didn't match their intensity in the first half. In the second half we did and it was a different story."

Q: It almost looked like your team grew up a little bit that second half, learning how to push around. We haven't seen them do that yet.
JN: "I told them right now, some of these guys have got to get tougher. If they're going to be playing all the time they've got to get tougher. The strong survive, especially in the WAC. I'm glad it's not time for the WAC yet."

Q: Overall, what were a couple of things that really stood out to you, either good or bad today?
JN: "Our lack of blocking out really hurt us. The second chance points I thought killed us. I'm disappointed in the way we shot free throws. We've been a better free throw shooting team than that. It's something we work on, and we didn't knock those down and those cost us. In a one-point game if you miss 10 free throws… I like the way we stayed in the game when they made their run and we made a good comeback, started taking the ball harder to the hole. I thought we executed down the stretch really well. We ran what we wanted to run; so I'm happy with that. It's our first really close game. These guys haven't been under that pressure; so that was good to get under our belts before WAC starts."

Q: Even though that put back was three quarters of a second late, it was good to see your kids grab that and try to execute and get that back.
JN: "Yeah. They kept going all the way to the end. I thought we were going to get up in time. I thought we might get to the line there at the end. It was. When I saw the monitor it like point three after."

Q: It looked like your shooting percentage was pretty down today. Sometimes that just happens. Did you feel like the kids were getting good shots and just missing them?
JN: "Yeah. We were missing point blank layups. I do. Sometimes the percentage is true, you take a bad shot. I don't think we took bad shots. I mean, we got layups. I told these guys you've got to make lay ups, you've got to make free throws. Those are little things. We didn't shoot it well from three. I thought some of the threes were rushed, but it wasn't that. It was the layups. If you look at our shot chart off that thing it's all in the paint. Put backs, misses. I mean, we did a good job on the (offensive) boards ourselves. We had 21 (offensive) boards. That's got to convert into points, and second chance points you only get 16 out of 21 boards, that's bad."

Q: Turnovers. I think you forced 28 turnovers and then only turned it into (22) points.
JN: "No. We didn't take advantage. Really, what we were getting out of them, I thought our zone did a great job on them and really caused some problems, but we did not take advantage. This was a game we needed to take advantage of them, and we really did not. It was like both teams were trying to give it to each other, and we ended up giving it at the end."

GAYLEN WOOD: How much of a chance did you guys have to work on this floor? Could that have been a factor? Have you been in here very often?
JN: "We've been in here two days, something like that I think, maybe three, maybe two. Not much. It's our first game. We haven't practiced very much here at all, two or three days. Did that contribute to the shooting? I would say, I don't know. Not when you're shooting layups I think. The three-point shooting maybe, not when you're shooting layups. Maybe the free-throw thing? I don't know. Now we've got to go back to Memorial on Thursday and then come back in here on Sunday, but then it'll be over. We're not going to make excuses for where we play. I don't care. If we played this game outside on the playground we should have won it."


YINKA OLORUNNIFE POST-GAME COMMENTS:

Q: First of all you had a pretty outstanding rebounding game today.
YO: "Thank you."

Q: Did you know that this is a career high for you? Have you seen that yet?
YO: "No."

Q: It looked like you guys were getting pushed around pretty hard in there. Is that true?
YO: "No, not really. I don't know. We were getting pushed around, but we could be tougher, too. It was us being weak at the same time; so it was not like they were really very much stronger than we were. It's just that we needed to toughen up, really."

Q: Were you surprised that you weren't – not "you" individually but you as a team – that you weren't a little bit tougher going into this?
YO: "Yeah, because this (Long Beach) is a team you go into (the game) thinking it's a very winnable game. As you saw, it was very winnable. If it's winnable, then go at it hard. Don't slack off at all. If you want to win it you've got to get after it. It's a little disappointing, those "on-and-off" moments. We've got to play the whole 40 minutes, and we didn't play 40 minutes of basketball ourselves."

Q: Any ideas why? Sometimes you know why and sometimes you don't. Was it just "one of those games" or can you see things in it?
YO: "I don't even know. For example, the first half we were up something like eight. I think that people's mentality was, "Well, we're up. We can slow down a little now." Us taking a step back they're going to take two steps forward. That really cost us. They went on a huge run and we couldn't catch back. It's stuff like that. Another time we'd get upset at ourselves. We miss one shot and we're all really upset and trying to get back at it; so it's a lot of factors."

GAYLEN WOOD: It looked like you and Derisa (Taleni) really got much more aggressive in the second half inside in the paint. Can you talk about that?
YO: "We were just trying to draw the fouls. You're not really going to draw a foul from shooting a three outside; so either drive to the basket or get it into the post. We wanted the game. At halftime we talked this being a game we could win. We have to go much harder than we did in the first half. We tried to go harder second half."

Q: It looked like you did. Do you agree with that?
YO: "Oh, yeah. We played much harder in the second half, but as I said it's 40 minutes of basketball."

Q: You've had a couple pretty big games point-wise in the last two in a row. Is that something you were trying to work on or all of a sudden you just find yourself around the basket more?
YO: "No, that's something I've been working on. For example I think last year I only averaged nine points a game, and I know personally I can score way more than nine points a game. I just want to be consistent; so I've really tried working on that a lot. It looks like it's working." (laughing)

Q: It looks like you guys are starting to play a little bit more as a team now; you're kinda getting used to each other maybe on offense. Is that accurate?
YO: "Yeah. We're definitely playing more as a team. We're still getting new players in and stuff like that, but we're playing much better and by the end of the season you guys are going to see a huge difference from when we first started. We're growing every day."




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