Another win, another record

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MOSCOW — Just like the Splash Sisters’ 3-point shots, the records just keep falling for the Idaho women’s basketball team.

One game after senior Mikayla Ferenz broke Idaho’s all-time scoring record, the Vandals topped the program’s single-game 3-point record with 19 triples in a 90-65 win over Montana State on Saturday at Cowan Spectrum.

Diehard Vandals fans know this team as arguably the best shooting team Idaho has ever had, so it should come as no surprise the Vandals grabbed the record during Ferenz and Taylor Pierce’s senior campaign.

The senior guards combined for 56 points and 14 3s.

The Splash Sisters, the duo’s nickname since their sophomore season, had helped tie the UI record of 18 3s three times before breaking it Saturday.

“That record has been there since I’ve been here,” Ferenz said. “We’ve never passed 18 and it’s kind of a monkey on Taylor and I’s back, (so) we’re glad we could do it today.”

Pierce went 8-of-18 from long range for 24 points and Ferenz shot 6-of-11 from 3 and tallied 32 points. Freshman point guard Gina Marxen contributed 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and sophomore guard Allison Kirby nailed her only triple in her second game back from a stress fracture.

The Vandals shot 50 percent from 3 as a team.

“You’re not going to get more efficient than that from the 3-point line, that’s for sure,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. “Obviously we’ll take that any time. I thought we were moving the ball really well today against their zone.”

The Vandals opened a double-digit lead on a 17-2 run that spanned most of the first quarter and put UI up 27-12 early in the second. Pierce started the run with three straight 3s to get Idaho rolling.

The Vandals led 43-24 at halftime, but Montana State used a 10-0 run in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 10 points at 51-41.

Then it was Ferenz’s turn.

The senior drilled two consecutives 3-pointers, freshman guard Janie King added another and Idaho stretched its lead to 60-46.

“I think what was happening in that little stretch is we were kind of beating ourselves, giving them easy stuff,” Ferenz said. “That’s stuff we can control so we kind of get back together, regroup. That was kind of when they went to their zone and I was wide open, which was nice.”

Idaho has at times struggled to put teams away late in the fourth quarter when the reserves come in. That wasn’t the case Saturday. Idaho outscored Montana State 27-17 in the final frame and 10 of the 11 Vandals who played scored.

“Much better play from that crew,” Newlee said of his reserves. “That crew has come in and not been particularly great as a group, but I thought as a group today they really buckled down (and) played some really good defense.

“They’re not in there just to jack shots, they’re in there playing our game … and I was really proud of their effort.”

Sisters Natalie and Lizzy Klinker supplied a combined 22 rebounds to help Idaho to a 44-31 advantage on the boards.

Montana State (12-11, 7-6 Big Sky) was paced by Tori Martell, Oliana Squires and Madeline Smith, who each scored 13 points.

With the win, Idaho (13-9, 10-2 Big Sky) improved its winning streak to six games and moved into sole possession of first place in the conference standings.

After beating the two Montana schools, the Vandals next play Friday on the road at Northern Colorado (14-7, 9-3).

“It’s a cliche I know, but it is one game at a time in this league,” Newlee said. “You just never know. We have to maintain our focus and energy in practice and keep working on things we need to work on to get better so we can be playing our best basketball (at the conference tournament) in Boise.”

MONTANA STATE (12-11, 7-6)

Martell 5-15 1-7 13, Squires 6-13 1-5 13, Smith 5-8 3-3 13, Braxton 4-7 2-2 10, Kuderer 2-6 0-0 6, Mochi 1-4 0-2 3, Van Sickle 1-3 1-2 3, Wright 0-5 2-2 2, Fitzgerald 1-2 0-0 2, Hilborn 0-2 0-0 0, Shaide 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-65, 10-12, 65.

IDAHO (13-9, 10-2)

Ferenz 12-20 2-4 32, Pierce 8-18 0-0 24, Marxen 3-6 0-0 9, L. Klinker 2-4 2-2 6, Christopher 2-3 1-2 5, N. Klinker 2-3 0-0 4, King 1-5 0-0 3, Kirby 1-1 0-0 3, Hadden 1-3 0-0 2, Milne 1-2 0-0 2, Carlson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-65 5-8 90.

Montana State 10 14 24 17—65

Idaho 23 20 20 27—90

Three-point goals — MSU 5-23 (Kuderer 2-3, Martell 1-7, Squires 1-5, Van Sickle 1-2, Wright 0-2, Mocchi 0-2, Hilborn 0-1, Fitzgerald 0-1), UI 19-38 (Pierce 8-17, Ferenz 6-11, Marxen 3-4, Kirby 1-1, King -14, Milne 0-1). Rebounds — MSU 31 (Smith 5), UI 44 (L. Klinker 13). Assists — MSU 12 (Squires 4), UI (Pierce 5, Marxen 5). Total fouls — MSU 14, UI 15. Fouled out — none. A — 500.

Wiebe can be contacted at swiebe@dnews.com, by phone at (208) 883-4629 and on Twitter @stephansports.

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