Vandal women fall 60-56 to BSU

The Vandal women outscored Boise State 32-28 in the second half in the Cowan Spectrum today, but could not overcome an 8-point deficit at the half to the defending WAC champions. Freshman SHAENA KUEHU led the Vandals with 14, while sophomore Yinka Olorunnife added 13 for Idaho (3-9, 0-1 WAC). The Vandal women host USU Monday night (7 PM) at the Spectrum before a road trip to SJSU and Fresno.

COMMENTARY: Both teams seemed evenly matched, but the Vandals got off to a rocky start turning the ball over 13 times in the first half and shooting poorly from the free-throw line, allowing defending WAC champion Boise State to pull out to an early lead which the Broncos never relinquished. BSU led by as many as 14 points early in the second half but the Vandals continued to fight at both ends of the floor slicing the margin to four points on three occasions (with 4:54, 3:43, and 1:33 remaining in the game) but each time they got within striking distance the Vandals were not able to sustain momentum due to turnovers or missed scoring chances particularly at the free throw line. The Vandals also had trouble getting their transition game untracked, scoring only 2 fast break points on the game compared to 6 from BSU.


• Freshman Shaena Kuehu led the Vandals in scoring coming off the bench for 14 points. Sophomore Yinka Olorunnife finished with 13, Rachele Kloke had 9, Derisa Taleni 8, Alana Curtis 7, and Charlotte Otero 5. Olorunnife ran into foul trouble picking up her third with 1.6 seconds to go in the first half and her fourth at the 12:34 mark of the second half and was forced to the bench. About 2-1/2 minutes later Kloke also picked up her fourth foul. Heather Pilcher led BSU with 16 followed by Jamia Malone with 13 and Janie Bos with 10.

• Shooting statistics:
o Field goals: Idaho 9 of 21 in first half, 12 of 28 in second half, total 21 of 57 for 36.8%; BSU 11 of 27 in first half, 9 of 27 in second half, total 20 of 54 for 37.0%.

o Three-point field goals: Idaho 5 of 14 in first half, 3 of 12 in second half, total 8 of 26 for 30.8%; BSU 4 of 7 in first half, 1 of 7 in second half, total 5 of 14 for 35.7%.

o Free throws: Idaho 1 of 4 in first half, 5 of 10 in second half, total 6 of 14 for 42.9%; BSU 6 of 9 in first half, 9 of 12 in second half, total 18 of 21 for 71.4%.
• In rebounding, BSU held a 41-36 edge. Olorunnife led both teams with 9, Kuehu had 8, Taleni had 5, Kloke 3 and Curtis 2.

• The Vandals had 10 assists including 5 byTaleni, 2 by Otero, and 1 each by Olorunnife, Curtis and Kloke. BSU as a team had 12.

• Idaho had an 8-7 edge in steals (4 coming from Taleni and one each from Otero, Olorunnife, Curtis and Kloke) and blocked 3 shots (2 by Kloke and 1 by Taleni).

• Miscellaneous team statistics:
o Points in the paint: BSU 20, Idaho 16
o Turnovers: BSU 23, Idaho 21.
o Points off turnovers: Idaho 20, BSU 17
o Second chance points: BSU 10, Idaho 4
o Fast break points: BSU 6, Idaho 2
o Bench points: BSU 15, Idaho 14.
The Vandals will host Utah State Monday evening (January 5) at 7 p.m. in the Cowan Spectrum,. It will be the Vandal's last home appearance until they host Louisiana Tech January 23.

Idaho Head Coach John Newlee, post-game quotes

Q: Two days ago…I believe you said that you wish you were a better free throw shooting team.
JN: "There you go. Yeah. I mean, they're free throws, and we're not making them and they're costing us ball games. That's the bottom line."

Q: It looked like (the Vandals) were a little flat coming out the first half and then kinda picked things up. Any idea why that was?
JN: "No. I thought rivalry game; we've been talking about it. Opening of conference. You'd think you come fired up, and that's the first thing we talked about at halftime. It's one of the few times this year that I've really been pretty vocal in there at halftime, just about desire and effort, because the team's done a great job of bringing that this year. I agree with you. I think at the start of the game there were a couple of people who ‘weren't here,' and it really cost us."

Q: Coming out in the second half it looked like the kids were starting to kinda put things together…but then that last 10 minutes I thought you guys were starting to play pretty well.
JN: "Yeah, I thought we did. We had a stretch where we did start playing well, started moving the ball, making some shots, but we didn't take very good care of the ball tonight, and that really hurt. I don't think it was really Boise's pressure as much as bad decisions that we made. We talk about the little things – passing and catching – and there it is again. The same thing that we've gone over and over in practice. Just like we shot 100 free throws…a million free throws in practice, and we're still not making them."

Q: Do you try anything different right now free-throw wise at practice?
JN: "No. My teams have always been great free throw shooting teams, and we're doing the same things, and they're just gonna have to get in. I'm a firm believer that the more free throws you shoot the better you're gonna be, and people have to take it upon themselves to want to get better. To me that's an individual thing especially now that school's out. This gym's open all day long. They should be in here shooting free throws if they want to get better. I can't want it for them. As much as I'd like to, but I can't; so they're going to have to find that and come out and make themselves better."

Q: That last five minutes it seemed all of a sudden the passion was back, they were working hard. How do you kinda let this loss be a teaching spot to move onto Monday and not dwell too much but learn from it?
JN: "We don't have time to dwell on it. Utah State's coming in. We need to defend our home floor. It's what we talked about. It's so crucial in conference that you win your home games, and we can't worry about what happened out here. It's over and done with as far as I'm concerned. We'll take the good things out of here, show them what they're capable of doing, and project that into the Utah State game. Utah State is big inside. They're huge inside. They got the transfer from Utah, the 6-4 kid who's been playing well, and we're gonna have to block out…a lot better than we did tonight."

Yinka Olorunnife, post-game quotes

Q: The Vandals looked a little flat that first half. Do you agree with that?
YO: I don't even know what happened. No one turnover, because the mistakes we know we should be doing, like we talk about it before a game. We talk about it every single game, like turnovers, blocking out and just making free throws. Once we start doing what we don't want to do, we…just starting losing focus and then we get down on ourselves. I think that's what really happened the first half. We had like 13 turnovers, and that really got us down.

\ Q: Then it was a nice recovery in the second half. There were glimpses of you guys pushing the ball hard and making some moves, but you still weren't as aggressive as we've seen you play.
YO: We came back and played way better than we did in the first half, but it wasn't enough. We definitely played stronger…I don't know. Just keep getting on it.

GAYLEN WOOD: Any idea why?
YO: Why? I don't know. It's just repetitive. We know what we have to do. We know what we've got to do to win. We get way too down on ourselves. I think that's what keeps happening.

Q: How frustrating it is it, a game like this looking like you guys should have won it. You seemed like the better team out there and you couldn't put it together.
YO. It is SO frustrating, especially this season. A lot of our games are like one or two possession games that we could have won. That's the most frustrating thing. Our record would be so different if we made free throws, if we did something. Just four points - it's very frustrating.

Q: What positives do you take from this?
YO: Just having the heart, considering the first half we could have come out and felt like, "Well, the game's over" and continued to play like that, but the heart and passion we have in the game, that's really good. We play harder and we limited our turnovers, we limited everything we did bad in the first half; so just learning from your mistakes is one thing good.

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