Vandals Drop Home Opener

MOSCOW, Idaho–Juniors Taylor Pierce and Mikayla Ferenz led the Vandal offensive push but the Washington Huskies spoiled the Vandals’ home-opener on Friday. The Huskies took down the Vandals 81-69, on a night that saw Pierce move into fourth on Idaho’s all-time 3-point list.

Ferenz led all players with 26 points in the loss. Pierce hit four 3’s on the night to finish with 16 points.

How it Happened
Ferenz hit Idaho’s first field goal of the night, a triple from behind the arc. Washington scored the next eight points to gain the five-point advantage. Ferenz, again made good from 3 to tie the score at 8 midway through the quarter. She provided nine of Idaho’s 11 points in the quarter. Outside of Ferenz, the Vandals were cold. Idaho shot just 4-for-13 in the quarter. The Huskies got seven of their 16 points from Jenna Moser, helping UW hit 6-for-18 in the period.

The two teams took turns with the lead, leading up to halftime. Idaho erased the UW lead in the first three minutes of the second quarter, taking a 17-16 lead off another Ferenz 3-ball. Idaho would get the lead up to four, 24-20, with 3:56 to go on the clock. The Huskies used a 7-0 run over the final 1:38 to go up 31-27 at the break.

Washington (3-3) put the game out of reach in the third quarter. The Huskies came out in the third with a 10-5 run to gain a 43-32 advantage. Idaho kept within single-digits through the middle of the quarter. Isabelle Hadden put in a layup with just over two to play in the quarter, cutting the UW lead down to 52-43. Mai-Loni Henson closed out the quarter with a bucket, putting Washington back up by 12, 59-47.

Idaho (2-4) got back to within nine off a Ferenz 3 in the first possession of the fourth. Washington never flinched, using an 11-4 run to gain its largest lead of the night, 71-54.

Pierce hit two 3’s in the final quarter to move her past Susan Woolf for fourth on Idaho’s all-time 3-point list. She now has 206 career 3’s. Idaho Hall of Famer Kelli Johnson is next up on the list with 207.

UW had four players hit double-figures. Jenna Moser closed with a career-high 21 points.

Idaho turned the ball over 20 times on Friday. Washington took notice and scored 28 points off the Vandals’ mishaps.

Washington also used its size advantage in the second half. UW made some adjustments down low and scored 28 of its 42 points in the paint in the second half.

Both teams improved their shooting performances in the final two quarters. Washington was 61.3 percent (19-31) from the field in the second half, while the Vandals shot 55.6 percent (15-27). The issue for the Vandals was a 0-for-6 cold streak in the third quarter.

Head Coach Jon Newlee

On Idaho’s defense
“Our defense was great, except we let number 24 [Jenna Moser] get loose. That was our main goal–to not let her go off from 3. I loved the defense on everybody but her. She is a good shooter when left alone like she was tonight. I thought we did a great job on the other guys for a majority of the game.”

On difference from the first half to the second
“They started pounding it down our throats. Our inside guys could not handle them inside. We starting turning it over and it led to their layups. They shoot 60 percent in the second half. When you are shooting two-feet from the basket it is easy to shoot 60 percent.”

Junior Taylor Pierce
On moving up the 3-point list
“I don’t look to set records. When they happen they happen. There are a lot of great names in front of us and we [Ferenz] are just happy that we can be here and put our names on that same list. We can’t do it by ourselves. Our teammates set tons of screens and they don’t really get a lot of credit for it. We get great passes and it’s on us to make the shots.”

Hadden started for the first time this season…Hadden led Idaho with a career-high four blocks…Idaho totaled a season-high with six blocks…Ferenz has scored 20+ points in four of the first six games…Idaho has now hit a 3FG in 300 consecutive games…Idaho has hit 10+ 3’s in four of its six games…Washington’s 13 steals marked a season-high for opponents.

The Vandals remain home for the next two games. Idaho will open the week with Cal State Fullerton on Monday. They will close the week with Wyoming on Dec. 9. Both contests will be in Memorial Gym .