Denver’s three-game winning streak came to an end Thursday night as the Pioneers lost to the Idaho Vandals 68-60 at Magness Arena. The Vandals, who came into the game as the top three-point shooting team in the WAC (8.64 per game), made six three-pointers in the second half to break open a roller-coaster game in which both teams held double-digit leads. The loss drops Denver’s record to 8-8 overall, 3-2 in the WAC, with both conference losses coming at home. Idaho improves to 5-10 overall, 2-2 in the WAC.
Idaho got off to a hot start, hitting a pair of early three-pointers to take a 12-2 lead less than four minutes into the game. After a Denver time out at the 16:02 mark of the first half, Denver’s defense tightened up, giving up only 10 more points the rest of the half and allowing Denver to take a 28-22 halftime lead.
Things looked good for Denver early in the second half, when a jumper by sophomore guard Jordan Johnston at 19:21 made the score 32-22, giving Denver its biggest lead of the game. However, Denver’s shooting went cold from that point forward. The Pioneers would miss their next nine field goal attempts — six of them layups — on their way to shooting 27.5 percent (11-of-40) for the second half. Meanwhile, Idaho shot 44.4 percent (12-of-27) in the second half, including 50 percent (6-of-12) from the three-point arc.
The score was tied three times midway through the second half, but Idaho finally took the lead at 5:46 on a three-pointer by junior guard Addie Schivo that made the score 50-47. The Vandals never trailed after that.
Sophomore guard Theresa Wirth led the Pioneers in scoring with 17 points, including the first two three-pointers of her college career. Wirth shot 6-of-8 (75 percent) from the field, making her one of only two Pioneers to shoot more than 50 percent for the game (junior forward Desiree Hunter went 2-for-2 in only seven minutes of action). Junior forward Alison Janecek led Denver in rebounding with eight.
The Vandals were led in scoring by junior forward Alyssa Charlston and sophomore guard Stacey Barr with 17 points apiece. Barr made four of Idaho’s eight three-pointers for the night. Schivo scored 11 of her 16 points from the free-throw line, and all of her free throws came in the second half to help ice the game for the Vandals. Charlston also led the Vandals in rebounding with 14 boards, while freshman forward Ali Forde grabbed 10 rebounds of her own for Idaho.
Denver finishes its two-game homestand Sunday with a game against the Seattle Redhawks at Magness Arena. Game time is 1 p.m.