Updated: Mar 14
Idaho State Women's Basketball: 2021 Conference Champions
The Idaho State Bengals defeated the University of Idaho to claim the 2021 Big Sky Conference Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament 84-49.
The Bengals wrapped up a season filled with adversity and uncertainty Friday afternoon with a Big Sky title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Heading into the game, the Bengal team mentioned over and over that their teamwork and positive relationship is what got them to that point and it's what they would rely on against the Vandals.
The Bengals, having split the series with Idaho this year, knew that the championship game would give them all the challenge that it could.
On the first possession of the game, Idaho won the tip and immediately drained a three-pointer. After this shot, Graduate and Team Leader Estefania Ors stepped up and immediately responded. Instead of letting the Vandals shock the team, the Bengals knew this was their moment to rise above and take control.
The Bengals did just that in the first period, shooting 75 percent from the floor on 12-of-16 shots. Ors responded with that first three by draining her next consecutive four shots to finish the quarter with 13 points and 100 percent field goal shooting.
Diaba Konate, not to let Ors have all the glory, hit four of five from the field and finished the period with eight points.
After an intensely strong offensive quarter by the Bengals, they headed into the second up 27-17.
The Bengals let their defense shine in the second, holding Idaho to only eight points in the entire quarter.
The Bengals headed into the locker room up 44-25 on the No. 1 scoring offense in the league.
Knowing that the Vandals would still have a run in them if allowed, the Bengals put their feet on the gas in the third, outscoring Idaho 22-10 led by ISU post player Delaney Moore.
Coming into the third period, Moore had been held scoreless while still producing on the glass with five boards. After that half, the Vandals had no answer for her with Moore scoring 10 points on five-of-six shooting from the field. Moore and the Bengals were able to move around the Vandal screen and over and over make layups underneath the basket.
The final period was just icing on the cake, more of the Bengal Bench players were able to see playing time while Moore continued to cut up the Vandal defense scoring six more points.
When the final buzzer sounded, after a premature confetti shower with five seconds to play, the Bengals had beaten their rival Idaho 84-49 and won a conference championship doing it.
The 35-point margin of victory is the largest in team history against the Vandals.
Three Bengals scored in double digits. Ors led the team with 21 followed closely behind by Konate. Moore came in third with 16 points.
The Bengals won the battle on the glass 38-33. ISU's 38 boards were a team effort with 8 Bengals grabbing more than two boards.
The battle in the paint made the difference today. The Bengals outscored the Vandals 48-10 in the paint. A margin of 38 points.
The Bengals will learn who they face in the first round of the NCAA tournament Monday evening during the selection show.