Vandals clinch No. 1 seed despite senior day loss
MOSCOW, Idaho — Despite Idaho women’s basketball dropping regular-season finale to Idaho State 73-67 on Saturday, the Vandals left the court with sole possession of its first Big Sky Conference regular-season title and number one seeding since returning to the conference in 2014.
It was senior day in Moscow for the Vandals’ two seniors who have accomplished record-breaking season after record-breaking season in their four-year as a Vandal. The pair have been a pillar in the program since their freshman year. On Saturday, Mikayla Ferenz and Taylor Pierce were honored in front of the biggest crowd the team has had all season at home.
Ferenz and Pierce combined for 43 points on the night. Ferenz led all scorers with 23 points and went 5-for-5 from the three-point line. With her fifth three, she joined the 400-club with Pierce as she became the 6th division I women’s basketball player to reach 400 made career threes. Taylor added 20 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the field. Gina Marxen notched 10 points and three assists.
The Vandals lead once early in the first quarter, but a 12-0 run gave the Bengals a lead that they maintained throughout the evening. In the second frame at the 8:32 mark, Pierce hit a jumper to tie the ballgame, 18-18, but ISU stayed aggressive answering with a layup on the other end. Idaho headed into the locker room down six points, 36-30.
Idaho State continued to dominate in the third quarter leading by as many as 14 points. Idaho managed to cut the deficit to seven, 48-55, before leaving the third quarter.
In the final quarter, Pierce jolted the offense after sinking back-to-back three-pointers to put the Vandals within five points of Idaho State. Then three minutes later after ISU pushed the lead back up to seven points, Gina Marxen connects on a triple to make it a two-point game. Never wavering, the Bengals maintained it’s lead until a pair of free-throws from Pierce cut ISU’s lead to one-point with 1:46 left in regulation. About 90 seconds elapsed on the clock before either team scored. ISU used trips to the free-throw to ice out the Vandals, keeping them from completing their comeback.
Idaho is the No. 1 seed in the Big Sky Conference Tournament with its opening game on Tuesday, March 12 at 11 a.m. pacific in Boise, Idaho. The Vandals will face the winner of game one between #8 Northern Arizona vs. #9 Sacramento State on Monday.