Moscow, Idaho - With the game tied at 61-61 and 3:58 to play, the San Jose State women's basketball team (11-17, 6-7 WAC) was outscored 9-to-4 down the stretch and lost to the Idaho Vandals 70-65 in a Western Athletic Conference game on Thursday night.
"Give credit to them," head coach Tim La Kose said. "They hit the big shots when they needed them and got some clutch rebounds which were the difference tonight."
Despite the loss, the San Jose State has locked up a four or five seed in next week's WAC Basketball Tournament. They will play Wednesday, March 7 at 8:30 p.m. against either Hawai'i or Idaho pending games on Saturday.
The Spartans, who shot 36.7 percent (22-of-60), missed all seven of their field goal attempts in the final four minutes. The four points San Jose State did get were from a pairs of free throws from Myesha Broaden and Brittany Johnson. Johnson would go 7-of-8 from the line and move into a tie with Cricket Williams for the programs single-season record for free throws at 152. In addition, her eight attempts give her 216 on the year, good for second place on the San Jose State single-season list.
In the final four minutes, the Vandals (10-19, 5-8 WAC) went just 3-of-12 from the free throw line, but scored three buckets on three successive possessions to put the game away.
Johnson, the WAC's leading scorer, hit a game high 26 points. It is the 28th consecutive game that she has reached double digit scoring, the most in a season in San Jose State history. Johnson also moved into second place on the program's single-season scoring list, with 557 points. She is 14 shy of tying Cricket Williams' 571 points, set in the 2002-03 season.
Myesha Broaden picked up her seventh double double with 12 points and 11 rebounds and hit all eight of her free throws. Sara Plavljanin was also in double figures for the Spartans with 10 points. She went 2-of-7 from behind the arc, has hit a total of 57 this season and moved into a tie with Danada Smith for fourth place on the Spartans single season 3-point list.
Idaho built their largest lead of the game in the first half. With 5:38 to go, they had an 11-point advantage 30-19. However San Jose State made a 13-to-7 run to close the half, led by four points each from Broaden and Johnson, and the clubs went to the locker rooms with Idaho leading 37-32.
The Vandals hit two quick buckets to open the second half and push its advantage back to nine, 41-32. San Jose State responded with a 15-to-6 run fueled by seven points from Johnson. With 13:05 to play the score was tied 47-47.
Over the next nine minutes the lead would change hand three times with neither team able to carve out more than a five-point lead. Johnson hit a jumper with 3:58 to play to tie the game for the final time at 61-61.
Idaho had four players in double figures led by 14 points each from Keri Arendse and Tayler Weiks.
San Jose State outrebounded the Vandals 46-to-37, but lost the turnover battle 14-to-8 which Idaho used in a 16-to-10 advantage in points off turnovers. On the free throw line, San Jose State enjoyed its best night of the year making 15-of-18 for 83.3 percent.
The Spartans wrap up regular season play on Saturday when they will be in Logan, Utah to take on the Utah State Aggies. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. MT.