San Jose, Calif.----San Jose State (1-16, 1-3 WAC) drops third-place Idaho (9-7, 2-2 WAC), 63-61, in a Western Athletic Conference clash at The Event Center Thursday night. Marnesha Hall and Sara Plavljanin both tallied 13 points, as four Spartans scored in double-figures.
"I am very proud of these kids, all of them, it was a great team win," said head coach Pam DeCosta. "All nine players that were in uniform stepped-up and contributed in their own way. It was a good win for the team."
San Jose State shot 39.6 percent (19-for-48) as a team in the contest, while holding Idaho to 37.3 percent (19-for-51) from the field. The Spartans also held an edge in assists (12-11) and steals (9-7).
The Spartans' 83.3 percent (20-for-24) from the line was a season-high and proved to be the difference-maker late in the game.
San Jose State led by five, 61-56, with only 18 seconds remaining, when Idaho's Bianca Cheever heaved her second 3-pointer of the night with 12 seconds left to pull within two. The Spartans answered when AJ Newton made two clutch free throws, to put the Spartans up 63-59 with 10 seconds remaining. Yinka Olorunnife and the Vandals didn't give up and hit a long two-pointer to pull Idaho within two, one more time.
San Jose State committed a quick turnover on an inbounds play, giving the Vandals the ball and one more chance with three seconds left, trailing by just two. Derisa Taleni fumbled the ball near the basket and couldn't regain possession and time expired before the Vandals could get a second try.
The Spartans led virtually the entire game. They came out hungry and built a 10-point lead, 13-3, with 12:44 remaining in the first, but the Vandals defensive pressure caused San Jose State to cool down and commit key turnovers throughout the game, allowing the Vandals to creep back into the contest. San Jose State went into the locker room clinging to a 25-24 lead.
Yinka Olorunnife went off for a career high 34 points and added 13 boards for the Vandals.
Hall and Plavljanin's 13 points paced the Spartans. Sayja Sumler joined them in double-figures with 12 points and Newton chipped in 10. Brittany Johnson grabbed a Spartan-high nine rebounds.
"They (SJSU) needed this because we are constantly preaching everyday on what we need to do to get better," stated DeCosta. "This was a game they came out and they executed for 40 minutes, and not only executed, but played for 40 minutes. They handled the pressure down the stretch in a close game and I thought they did a great job of knocking down free throws late."
Hall (4-for-4), Myesha Broaden (3-for-3), Johnson (2-for-2) and Plavljanin (2-for-2) all went perfect from the line, accumulating 11 points.
"I'm so proud of them," added DeCosta. "They have been through a lot all year long and are still staying together and playing the game."
The Spartans look to ride their momentum into Saturday's contest against Hawai'i on January 22. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at The Event Center.
SAN JOSE STATE 63, IDAHO 61
IDAHO (9-7, 2-2)
Olorunnife, Yinka 10-16 13-18 34; Taleni, Derisa 4-7 1-2 10; Cheever, Bianca
2-6 0-0 6; Kloke, Rachele 2-9 2-2 6; Arendse, Keri 0-6 2-3 2; Graham,
Jessica 1-2 0-0 2; Rogers, Ganeaya 0-3 1-2 1; Charlston, Alyssa 0-2 0-1 0.
Totals 19-51 19-28 61.
SAN JOSE STATE (1-16, 1-3)
Plavljanin, Sara 4-10 2-2 13; Hall, Marnesha 4-7 4-4 13; Sumler, Sayja 4-8
4-7 12; Newton, AJ 2-5 5-6 10; Johnson, Brittany 3-11 2-2 8; Broaden, Myesha
2-6 3-3 7; Woods, Nanea 0-0 0-0 0; Williams, Marisa 0-0 0-0 0; Johnson, Liz
0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-48 20-24 63.
Idaho......................... 24 37 - 61
San Jose State................ 25 38 - 63
3-point goals--Idaho 4-18 (Cheever, Bianca 2-5; Taleni, Derisa 1-2;
Olorunnife, Yinka 1-3; Rogers, Ganeaya 0-2; Charlston, Alyssa 0-1; Arendse,
Keri 0-2; Kloke, Rachele 0-3), San Jose State 5-11 (Plavljanin, Sara 3-5;
Hall, Marnesha 1-2; Newton, AJ 1-3; Johnson, Brittany 0-1). Fouled
out--Idaho-None, San Jose State-Hall, Marnesha. Rebounds--Idaho 34
(Olorunnife, Yinka 13), San Jose State 33 (Johnson, Brittany 9).
Assists--Idaho 11 (Taleni, Derisa 3; Rogers, Ganeaya 3; Kloke, Rachele 3),
San Jose State 12 (Plavljanin, Sara 4). Total fouls--Idaho 16, San Jose
State 24. Technical fouls--Idaho-None, San Jose State-None. A-216