Idaho Punches Ticket to Big Dance - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Idaho Punches Ticket to Big Dance

Updated:
The Vandals will make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1985. The Vandals will make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1985.
 
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The third-seeded Idaho women's basketball team knocked off a higher seeded team for the second day in a row and clinched its first Western Athletic Conference championship and first NCAA tournament berth since 1985 with a 67-64 win over top-seeded Seattle U on Saturday afternoon.

"Survive and advance has certainly been our motto in this tournament and we did it all the way till the end, and it's a great feeling," Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. "I'm so happy for my players and I'm so happy for my staff. I feel that I have the greatest staff in America and our players have just worked their tails off to get to this moment and it's fantastic, it's a great feeling."

Idaho sophomore Stacey Barr, who had 16 points and 11 rebounds Saturday, was the tournament MVP, while junior Alyssa Charlston, who had 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, also earned a spot on the all-tournament team.

All three Idaho (17-15) victories during the tournament came by just one possession. The Redhawks (20-10) got two chances at potential game-tying 3-pointers in the final seven seconds, but neither attempt threatened to go in and the Vandal bench stormed the court to celebrate its first conference tournament championship since winning the Big Sky in 1985.

"It was a pretty difficult start to the season, but to our credit we picked it up towards the end of the season and started playing as a team and getting those wins," Barr said, referring to Idaho's 3-9 start to the season. "To go to the tournament is huge and to win this one is unbelievable. There are no words for it."

Idaho trailed by as many as five points in the second half but battled back to build an eight-point lead on two occasions in the final 90 seconds. Seattle U kept the pressure on, however, and forced Idaho into three turnovers in the final 1:06 before the Vandals eventually escaped with the victory.

"What has impressed me about this team all year is its resiliency," Newlee said. "When things start to go a little bad they are digging down. That's something they've learned over the course of the year. Basketball is going to be up and down and it's not going to be perfect. I always tell them that as long as you play as hard as you can all the time, good things are going to happen to you. I'm sure they're going to remember that."

Freshman Ali Forde finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, six blocks, two steals and two assists for the Vandals and fellow freshman Connie Ballestero had 10 points and three assists. Those two, along with freshman Christina Salvatore, have started a combined 78 games this season for Idaho.

"I'm going to tell you, our freshmen, our younger players are very even-keeled on the basketball floor," Newlee said. "I've never seen a younger group that was like that. They don't panic. Very rarely have I seen panic on the faces of our young players."

Seattle U out-rebounded Idaho 52-38 and 25-6 on the offensive end, leading to a 25-8 advantage in second-chance points. The Redhawks also forced Idaho in 18 turnovers, eight more than they gave up, leading to a 19-9 advantage in points off turnovers. The Vandals, however, held Seattle U to 33.8 percent shooting from the field and the Redhawks went just 11-of-24 from the free throw line. Idaho shot 44.2 percent from the field and out-scored Seattle in the paint 34-30.

"When things went a little south there, I told them if you want to win this game then you've got to push back and you've got to rebound," Newlee said. "Every single one of them sat there buying in and said that's what we're going to do. You can see a lot of the numbers aren't in our favor, but ultimately that final number is."

Idaho will learn its NCAA tournament fate during the NCAA women's basketball tournament selection show which begins at 4 p.m. (PT) on March 18. Tickets will be available through the University of Idaho ticket office beginning at 5 p.m. on March 18. Individual tickets will be fulfilled by the Vandal Points priority system. Phone orders will be taken from 5-8 p.m. on March 18, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the rest of the week.

  • College

    • Husky softball heading to Women's College World Series

      UW Athletics SEATTLE— Sixth seeded Washington punched its ticket to the Women's College World Series with a 2-1 victory over 11th seeded Utah on Sunday at Husky Softball Stadium.

      BYU bats blitz Bulldogs in WCC Championship

      Gonzaga Athletics STOCKTON, Calif.—The Gonzaga baseball team lost two games to BYU Saturday, falling in the West Coast Conference Championships at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton. Game One: No. 3 BYU 10, No. 1 Gonzaga 3 The Cougars forced the winner-take-all nightcap by jumping out to an early lead in game one. They scored four in the bottom half of the first inning on four hits. The first two batters reached via a pair of tough infield singles, and then Tanner Chauncey br...
    • Cougars drop season-finale to No. 8 Stanford on Senior Day

      by WSU Athletics PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State dropped a 15-1 decision to No. 8 Stanford in the season-finale in front of a season-high 1,776 fans at Bailey-Brayton Field Saturday afternoon. Prior to the game, WSU recognized senior lefthanded pitcher Trenton Dupre, the only senior on the roster. The Cougars finished the season 24-29 overall and 10-20 in Pac-12 play, recording more overall wins from a year ago including four Pac-12 series wins and a . WSU finished the yea...
    • WSU’s 9th inning rally held off by No. 8 Stanford

      PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State put runners on first and second in ninth inning but No. 8 Stanford turned away the rally to post a 5-3 victory at Bailey-Brayton Field Friday afternoon.   The Cougars (24-28, 10-19 Pac-12) put runners on with one out in the ninth but the Cardinal (39-14, 20-9 Pac) ended the game with a strikeout and groundout.

    • Gonzaga one win away from a NCAA Tournament berth

      STOCKTON, Calif.--A host of scouts came out to Friday's WCC Championships game between top-seeded Gonzaga and second-seed Loyola Marymount to see LMU starter Cory Abbott Friday afternoon, but it was Gonzaga starter Justin Vernia who stole the show as he powered the Zags to a 3-1 win and a berth in the tournament title game.

    • Bennie Seltzer returns to WSU as assistant basketball coach

      PULLMAN, Wash. – A former Cougar standout on the basketball court and 20-year coaching veteran, Bennie Seltzer returns to Pullman to join Ernie Kent's staff as an assistant men's basketball coach, Kent announced Friday.

    • Cougars Drop Series-Opener to No. 8 Stanford

      PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State dropped the series-opener with No. 8 Stanford 13-2 at Bailey-Brayton Field Thursday evening. The Cougars (24-27, 10-18 Pac-12) collected 10 hits led by junior Shane Matheny’s 3-for-4 performance, recording his third 3-hit game of the season. WSU also received two-hit games from sophomore shortstop Andres Alvarez, junior Cory Meyer and junior left fielder Blake Clanton. Meyer and Clanton each drove in a run in the ninth. S...

    • Offensive Surge Pushes Zags into Winner’s Bracket at WCC Tournament

      STOCKTON, Calif.—It took a few innings, but the Bulldog offense hit top gear Thursday afternoon, propelling the top-seeded Gonzaga baseball team past fourth-seed Saint Mary’s 11-3 and into the winners’ bracket of the West Coast Conference Championships at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif. Saint Mary’s scored the game’s first runs, scoring twice in the top of the third off atypical wildness from GU starter Eli Morgan. Afte...

    • 7-foot graduate transfer Benas Griciunas to play for Eagles

      Seven-foot center Benas Griciunas from UNC Charlotte will spend his senior season as a graduate transfer at Eastern Washington University and play for Shantay Legans, the new EWU head men's basketball coach announced Thursday (May 25).

    • Former Gonzaga player Vivian Frieson named NAU assistant coach

      FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona women's basketball head coach Loree Payne completed her staff on Wednesday with former Gonzaga standout Vivian Frieson announced as assistant coach. "We're very excited to add Vivian to our coaching staff," Payne said. "The culture that she has been around playing at Gonzaga

    More
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • IdahoIdahoMore>>

  • Idaho's Victor Sanders returns for senior season

    Idaho's Victor Sanders returns for senior season

    Courtesy: Idaho AthleticsCourtesy: Idaho Athletics

    MOSCOW, Idaho – After working out with a handful of NBA teams, junior guard Victor Sanders has elected to return to Idaho for his senior season in 2017-18.   He led the Vandals with 20.9 points per game a season ago, helping Idaho to a Big Sky Tournament Semifinal appearance and a first round win in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

    More >>

    MOSCOW, Idaho – After working out with a handful of NBA teams, junior guard Victor Sanders has elected to return to Idaho for his senior season in 2017-18.   He led the Vandals with 20.9 points per game a season ago, helping Idaho to a Big Sky Tournament Semifinal appearance and a first round win in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

    More >>
  • Lewis-Clark State College earns No. 5 seed in Avista NAIA World Series

    Lewis-Clark State College earns No. 5 seed in Avista NAIA World Series

    Courtesy: LCSC AthleticsCourtesy: LCSC Athletics

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The LCSC baseball now knows its path to a third-consecutive title and 19th overall National Championship.   The Warriors were named the No. 5 Seed in the 10-team 2017 Avista NAIA Baseball World Series. They will play No. 4 Keiser at 7 p.m. on Friday May 26.   LCSC finished the regular season with an overall record of 35-13.

    More >>

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The LCSC baseball now knows its path to a third-consecutive title and 19th overall National Championship.   The Warriors were named the No. 5 Seed in the 10-team 2017 Avista NAIA Baseball World Series. They will play No. 4 Keiser at 7 p.m. on Friday May 26.   LCSC finished the regular season with an overall record of 35-13.

    More >>
  • NAIA World Series bracket revealed; all games Live on SWX

    NAIA World Series bracket revealed; all games Live on SWX

    The defending champion Lewis-Clark State Warriors will look to win their 19th NAIA World SeriesThe defending champion Lewis-Clark State Warriors will look to win their 19th NAIA World Series

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Bracket – PDF | Schedule) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced the seeds and bracket for the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, hosted by Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).

    More >>

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – (Bracket – PDF | Schedule) The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced the seeds and bracket for the 2017 Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series, hosted by Lewis-Clark State (Idaho).

    More >>