Turnovers Prove Costly for Vandals

Idaho had four players score in double-figures, but Vandal turnovers proved costly on Saturday. Sen ior Geraldine McCorkell scored a team-high 20 points, but it was Northern Colorado who got the upper hand, 78-72.

Northern Colorado (10-3, 2-0) got 24 points from Savannah Smith to lead a group of Bears in double figures. Savannah Scott and Kianna Williams each added 14 points. Tiarna Clarke put in 12 off the bench.

How It Happened
Mikayla Ferenz got Idaho’s going right off the opening tip. Both teams shot well at the start. UNC gained a 12-8 lead at the five minutes mark, shooting 4-of-6 from the field. Idaho shot 75 percent (3-4), with McCorkell totaling six of Idaho’s first eight points. Northern Colorado closed the quarter on a 7-2 run to gain a 21-12 advantage.

Idaho (5-8, 1-1) picked up its scoring in the second, totaling 20 points in the quarter. The Vandals hit all three of their first-half 3’s in the period. Taylor Pierce , Ferenz and McCorkell each totaled a triple. McCorkell’s 3 got Idaho to within two, 34-32, with 1:30 to go in the half. UNC was able to get lead back up to four, 36-32 at the break.

The Vandals erased UNC’s lead in the first five minutes of the second half. Idaho opened the third quarter on a 9-2 run to gain a 41-40 lead, its first since the opening basket. UNC regained the lead twice in the quarter, but each time Idaho answered back. McCorkell and Pierce strung together the final two baskets of the quarter to lead 51-48 after the third.

The Vandals built up a six-point lead, 54-48, with 8:41 left to play in the fourth. The Bears surged back with three 3’s in the midst of a 16-2 that put UNC back on top 64-56. The Bears’ lead grew to nine, 72-63, with 1:20 remaining. Sarah Bersang hit an open 3 with 1:00 to go to cut the lead to five, 72-67, but that was as close as Idaho would get.

McCorkell closed 9-of-10 from the free-throw line and added five rebounds to her totals. Ferenz put in 19 and snagged eight boards. Pierce and Hadden totaled 11 and 10, respectively.

The Vandals committed a season-high 23 turnovers in the Saturday’s loss. The turnover bug hit early for Idaho, handing the ball over 10 times in the first quarter. UNC took full advantage of Idaho’s early mishaps, totaling 15 points off of first quarter turnovers.

The Vandals got a control on the ball in the second and third quarter, allowing the team to outscore UNC, 39-27 combined in the second and third quarters.

The Vandals committed just four turnovers in the fourth, but they were costly. Northern Colorado turned the Vandal mistakes into nine crucial points.

Head Coach Jon Newlee
On Idaho’s turnovers
“We were horrible tonight in taking care of the basketball. That is just the way it was. It was something we talked about. They [UNC] are a good defensive team. We knew they would be out looking for steals. We were talking about meeting passes and taking good care of the basketball and that certainly didn’t happen tonight and it cost us the game.”

On ability to come back
“It was great. It was great to battle back and take the lead the way the game was going. We got up six or something later in the game and it was going well. Them we had some defensive breakdowns and went turnover, turnover, turnover. They go down and make layups. To their credit, they hit big shots. When they had wide open looks they got their shots down. They are a good team. There is no question about it.”

On moving forward
“Just like I told these guys. That is the preseason No. 1 pick. You just saw them. You see what you have to do to compete with the team that is picked to win it all. It certainly is a long road ahead until we get to Reno. Turnovers are something we are going to have cleanup if we want to be on top of the podium in Reno.”

Idaho has now hit a 3-pointer in 308 consecutive games…Idaho made a season-high 18 free throws…Idaho had a season-high eight shots blocked by UNC…Idaho attempted a season-low 15 3’s…Ferenz fouled out for the second time this season…She now has 1,251 career points, good for 13th in program history…McCorkell recorded her fifth 20 point game of the season.

Idaho hits the road for its first conference trip of the season next week. The Vandals will take on Sacramento State on Thursday (Jan. 4) and then head north to Portland State (Jan. 6).