Vandals advance to semifinals

Vandals advance to semifinals

When it rains, it pours. Taylor Pierce ties career-high, and top-seeded Idaho defeats No. 8 Northern Arizona, 90-73, in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Championship presented by My Place in CenturyLink Arena Tuesday afternoon.

Pierce goes for 31 points, tying career-high in points, with seven rebounds and four assists. The league’s MVP, Mikayla Ferenz , tallied 24 points. Freshman Gina Marxen set a new season-high of 9 assists while Lizzy Klinker and Natalie Klinker pulled down 13 and ten boards, respectively. All 11 Vandals saw action the quarterfinal win.

The Vandals trailed in a tightly contested first quarter where both teams held no more than a five-point lead. It was a tied game, 20-20, after the Lumberjacks connected on a short jumper. With 45 seconds left in the first quarter, an Idaho foul put NAU on the free throw line where they broke the tie, 21-20, to end the quarter.

Mid-way through the second quarter, Idaho put together a 7-0 run capped by a triple by Pierce before the media timeout. The Vandals continued its run to 10-0 to push the lead to double-figures, 43-29. Pierce dropped 25-points, just under half of the Vandals 56 points to end the second quarter. Idaho outscored NAU 36-15 and ended up with a 20-point advantage before heading into the locker room, 56-36.

From then on, Idaho had complete control of the game never losing its lead and taking the game 90-73. While the Splash Sisters combined for 55 points, it was Pierce who was the X-factor as she sank six three-points from behind the arc. Idaho dominated in the paint scoring 42 points down low and outrebounded the Lumberjacks 48-37. Both teams took care of the ball with Idaho giving up six turnovers to NAU’s eight.
The Vandals advance to the semifinals Wednesday, March 13 at 4:30PT/5:30 MT against No. 4 Portland State.