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ISU Women's Basketball

Game Recap: Women's Basketball | 11/26/2023 9:01:00 PM | Jonathan Match, ISU Media Relations
Game Recap: Women's Basketball | 11/26/2023 9:01:00 PM | Jonathan Match, ISU Media Relations

Second Half Surge Propels Bengals Past Air Force 55-52

POCATELLO, Idaho – After finishing the first half with a nine-point deficit, the Idaho State Bengals Roared back in the second half to defeat Air Force 55-52 in the final game of the Rainbow Wahine Showdown hosted by the University of Hawaii.

The Bengals stifled the Falcon offense in the 2nd half, holding Air Force to just 20 percent shooting from the field en route to the victory at the SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.

Coach Sobolewski's Thoughts

"The third game in a three-game back-to-back tournament can be tough. I'm proud of our young team's effort. We've had a chance these last 4 games to work through some things and get better from it."

How it Happened

The first half of the Bengals' previous two games was strangely similar. Just as in the game against Hawaii, the Bengals had a strong first quarter followed by a second period where they were outscored 18-8.

Headed into the locker room, the Bengals once again were looking at a deficit that they would have to climb.

Unlike their previous game, the Bengals Roared out of the locker room. Kacey Spink started the comeback with a jumper followed by a pair of made free throws. Sophia Covello then took the ball on the perimeter and drained a three and with 7:14 left in the third, the Bengals found a spark and cut the lead to 29-27.

The two teams continued to trade baskets in the third, with the charity strip also helping out the falcons as they went to the line six times.

Down six with five to play in the period, the Bengals never gave up with Tasia Jordan and Nika Lokica both hitting shots, keeping the Bengals in it.

With 42 seconds left in the period, Lokica stripped the ball from the Falcons and Tasia Jordan took the ball to the basket. The next possession, Maria Dias hit a free throw and the Bengals and Falcons were tied 39-39 with 10 minutes to decide the game.

The Bengals needed a hot start to the quarter and coming out the gates was Covello. The Bengal guard hit a pullup jump shot 13 seconds into the period and followed it up with a layup to put the Bengals up 43-39.

The game was far from over, After an Air Force three-pointer cut the lead to one, Kacey Spink hit a free throw and once again Covello stepped up hitting a huge three-pointer with five minutes to play putting the Bengals up 47-42.

With 1:30 on the clock, Laura Bello grabbed a strong rebound and Lokica followed it up with a layup and a free throw putting the Bengals up 50-44.

To their credit, the Falcons never quit in the game and with 21 seconds on the clock, cut the Bengal lead to 53-51. It was time for the Bengals to make a final win-or-lose stand in Honolulu.

Dias and Spink both hit one-of-two free throws and the Bengal Defense held strong as the Falcons missed a last-second three-point attempt. The Bengals corralled the ball and walked out of the stadium with the 53-52 win over the Mountain West Air Force Falcons.


· Sophia Covello led the Bengals offensively with 12 points on five-of-nine shooting from the floor going two-of-three from three-point range.

· Laura Bello tied her career high in rebounds with 15 boards in the game (6 off. 9 def.) 15 is the most from a Bengal this season.

· The Bengals finished +19 T the glass tonight against the Falcons. The team's 47 total boards is the most this season since the win over Park University on 11/8

· The Bengals stifled Air Force in the paint, outscoring the Falcons 30 to 14.

· The Bengals held Air Force to .320 shooting for the game, a season-low for a Bengal opponent.

· In a tale of two halves, the Bengals shot 26 percent from the field and 14 percent from three in the first half of the contest and turned it around with 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range in the 2nd half.

Tournament Notes

The Bengals leave the Rainbow Wahine Showdown going 1-2 with a win over Air Force and losses to Washington and Hawaii.

· Maria Dias led the Bengals offensively, shooting .400 from the floor with 31 points on 12 made field goals.

· Laura Bello led the team with 21 rebounds in the three games. As a team the Bengals grabbed 112 rebounds, +21 more than the Bengals combined opponents.

· Kacey Spink had five steals during the tournament. The Bengals as a team had 16 and forced 39 turnovers out of opponents.

Up Next

It's Holiday Sweater Night in Reed Gym for the third consecutive year. Don your festive apparel and come out for an evening of Bengal Basketball. The Idaho State Bengals take on the Utah Valley Wolverines, December 6 with Tip-off at 7:00 PM