MOSCOW, Idaho – The Idaho women's basketball team dominated from start to finish in a 93-62 win over Eastern Oregon in its only exhibition game of the season on Friday night.
Several Vandal players turned in stellar performances, but none topped that of preseason first-team All-WAC junior Alyssa Charlston, who didn't miss a shot from the field, going 8-for-8 and finishing with game-highs of 21 points and seven rebounds, while adding an assist and a steal in 21 minutes of action.
But Charlston wasn't the only one doing damage for Idaho. Sophomore Stacey Barr and freshman Connie Ballestero each scored 12 points. Barr came off the bench and scored 10 of those points in the first half, going 4-for-6 from the field before the break. Ballestero did most of her damage in the second, scoring 10 of her 12 after the break, going 4-for-6 in the frame after a 1-for-7 performance in the first. Barr added five rebounds, four assists and a block for Idaho, while Ballestero also finished with two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Sophomore point guard Krissy Karr had eight points, eight assists and two steals for Idaho, and made both of her 3-point attempts in 22 minutes of play. Freshmen Christina Salvatore and Ali Forde, and junior Ashley Walters each added eight points as well. Walters added seven rebounds and four blocks, and Forde had a game-high five blocks, and added six rebounds, three assists and three steals.
The Vandals jumped out to a 10-point lead early in the game as a three-point play from Barr put Idaho ahead 15-5 with just under 15 minutes to go in the half. The lead hovered around 10 points for the next six minutes until a 13-2 Idaho run put the Vandals ahead 39-19 with three minutes to go in the half, before the Vandals took a 46-26 lead into the break.
"I liked our start, I liked our first half," fifth-year coach Jon Newlee said. "We came out with a lot of energy and we were pushing the ball well."
The Wolves cut Idaho's lead to 12 early in the second half, opening the period on a 10-2 run that lasted just more than two minutes. But the Vandals responded with a 12-3 run to pull ahead 60-39, and would lead by more than 20 points the rest of the way. Idaho's largest lead was 33 points, coming with 13 seconds to go when redshirt-freshman Natalie Lainhart's 3-pointer put the Vandals ahead 93-60.
"The second half started a little raggedy, but once it got rolling I was happy with the effort," Newlee said. "The intensity was up. It's the first exhibition game, so your execution is not going to be anywhere near where you want it, but overall I like the fact that everybody came in and contributed in one way or another."
Lainhart finished with seven points, all in the second half, on 3-of-3 shooting. She also added two blocks in the game.
"You can see we have the depth to rotate people in when they get tired, and we're going to try to keep things going as much as we can," Newlee said.
The Vandals shot 52.1 percent from the field, going 38-of-73 in the game, including a 10-for-21 (47.6 percent) performance from 3-point range. Idaho held a 44-36 advantage in rebounds and had 13 blocked shots. The Vandals also finished with 27 assists on 38 made baskets.
Idaho held EOU to a 34.3 field goal percentage, and forced 17 turnovers, which the Vandals converted into 18 points.
The Vandals get the regular season underway in exactly one week, as they visit Wyoming on Nov. 9 before playing at Colorado on Nov. 11. Idaho's home opener is Nov. 16 against Portland in Memorial Gym.
MOSCOW, Idaho – Central Washington scrapped and kept hanging around, but a late surge gave Idaho men's basketball the separation it needed in a 92-75 exhibition victory on Friday in front of 1,133 fans at Memorial Gym.
Four Vandals scored in double figures on the night, led by sophomore Connor Hill's 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Senior center Kyle Barone started the game, hit seven of his 11 shots and scored 16 points, while junior Stephen Madison added 16 and senior Wendell Faines scored 15.
After the game, Idaho head coach Don Verlin said Barone's suspension for a team rules violation is over and that Barone will be a full participant moving forward this season.
"He's done everything he's had to do," Verlin said of Barone. "He's gone through the legal system and now he's back on the team full-time and we're glad to have him back."
Idaho had a clear size advantage entering the game, and that edge became more apparent as the game wore on. The Vandals outscored the Wildcats by 20 in the paint, 48-28, and held a 44-31 rebounding margin. Idaho's four primary post players, Barone, Faines, junior Marcus Bell and freshman Ty Egbert, combined for 40 points on 16-of-23 (.696) shooting.
"I thought Ty Egbert came off the bench and showed some athleticism," Verlin said. "Marcus Bell rebounded the ball very well, and then we had four guys get in double figures, so I thought we did pretty well."
Bell finished with a game-high 12 rebounds, while Barone added eight and Faines had six.
At the guard spot, senior Mike McChristian scored eight points and dished up five assists with just two turnovers. Junior Stephen Madison had four assists in addition to his 15 points, while junior Denzel Douglas added two points and two assists.
The Vandal men shot 56.9 percent from the floor, including an 18-of-29 (.621) clip in the second half. Idaho also connected on five of its eight second-half 3-pointers and finished the game shooting 53.8 percent from long range.
Junior Mark McLaughlin led CWU with a game-high 28 points on 9-of-23 shooting, while Jordan Coby added 14 points on a 5-of-10 shooting day. Only two other Wildcat players scored more than six points in the game.
As a team, CWU shot 39.1 percent from the floor and 39.3 percent from 3-point range. The Wildcats stayed within striking distance by virtue of their 11 made 3-pointers and 22 points off Idaho's 16 turnovers in the game.
Using a smaller, quicker lineup, CWU put on a lot of pressure and earned several transition buckets, especially before halftime. Verlin said he was happy with the way the team adapted, but that those issues need to be closed down.
"They were hard to match up with in transition, Verlin said. "We did a lot better job in the second half of getting those transition spots stopped and then we didn't turn it over as much. In the second half, we adjusted to their smaller lineup and did better."
Idaho held two seven-point leads early in the game, but saw them dissipate quickly after CWU transition buckets. It wasn't until the 14:38 mark of the second half that Idaho started to pull away for good. A 13-0 run that started with a Hill 3-pointer and ended at 12:38 with a McChristian trey gave Idaho a 67-53 lead that dipped into single figures just three more times in the final 10 minutes.
"I got a group in there that quit making mistakes," Verlin said of the run. "We play along pretty good, then make three or four mistakes in a row – turn the ball over, wouldn't get in the right spot, missed a screen or missed a defensive assignment. What happened was we got a group for about six- or seven-minute span that played really solid."
With the exhibition season gone, the real games begin, starting in one week when the team hosts Wright State on Friday, Nov. 9, in its home opener at Memorial Gym and 7:05 p.m. (PT).
- Verlin said juniors Joe Kammerer and Robert Harris are nursing minor injuries and were held out of the game as a precautionary measure.
- Verlin said junior guard Antwan Scott returned home on Thursday because of an illness in his family. A timetable for his return is not yet known.