Idaho women bounce back with road win

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The Idaho women's basketball team followed one of its worst offensive performances of the season with one of its best, as the Vandals got their third win on their four-game road trip with a 83-66 Western Athletic Conference victory over San Jose State Saturday afternoon.

Idaho freshman Christina Salvatore scored a career-high 22 points on 5-of-11 from 3-point range, and the Vandals came one 3-pointer shy of tying the single-game program record, going 14-for-37 from long range.

The Vandals shot 41 percent from the field in the game and their 83 points are the second most scored by the team this season. Idaho improves to 10-12 on the season and 7-4 in the WAC with the win, breaking a third-place conference tie with the Spartans, who fall to 9-13 and 6-5 in the WAC. Just two nights earlier, Idaho shot 20 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from 3-point range in a loss at Utah State.

"We have great shooters and great distributers, and tonight we did a great job of making the extra pass and shooting with confidence," Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. "We bounced back nicely in that area for sure and shot the ball well tonight."

Idaho senior Jessica Graham scored a season-high 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting and added six rebounds, while Alyssa Charlston and Stacey Barr each added 14 points for Idaho. Freshman Connie Ballestero had a career-high 11 assists with no turnovers in the game, and added five points and four rebounds. Sophomore Krissy Karr had four assists and four rebounds without a turnover.

"Both of them did a great job," Newlee said of Ballestero and Karr. "Krissy did a great job of keeping our offense going. Turnovers were a huge stat. San Jose thrives on taking turnovers on top and turning them into layups and we didn't let that happen tonight."

Idaho committed just 11 turnovers in the game, the second fewest for the team in a game this season. The Vandals were out-rebounded 46-45 overall and 15-11 on the offensive end, as San Jose State out-scored Idaho 14-7 in second-chance points.

While Idaho and San Jose State had similar shooting performances, Idaho going 29-for-71 and SJSU going 28-for-71, the Vandals made 10 more 3-pointers than the Spartans, holding SJSU to 4-for-14 from long range. Idaho also went 11-for-13 from the free throw line, who San Jose State hit just 6-of-14 free throws.

Idaho freshman Ali Forde dominated on the glass, with 13 rebounds in the game to go along with six points and two assists. Five of her 13 boards came on the offensive end.

"She really came to get on the glass in the second half," Newlee said of Forde. "When we really needed to start getting rebounds inside, she started clearing some space and getting in there and getting rebounds."

Idaho went 3-1 on its four-game road trip and is now 5-1 in WAC road games. The Vandals will return home to host New Mexico State on Feb. 7 and Denver on Feb. 9.