Bea, Kirby help Idaho women beat Northern Colorado

Idaho’s Beyonce Bea, with ball, had 23 points and 10 rebounds Thursday as the Vandals beat Northern Colorado 64-59 in a Big Sky Conference game at Bank of Colorado Arena.

GREELEY, Colo. — Hot starts to the first and second halves buoyed the Idaho women’s basketball team Thursday.

And for the third consecutive game, Big Sky Conference preseason MVP Beyonce Bea showed exactly why she is one of the premier players in the conference.

Bea, a junior, finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds as four Vandals scored in double figures in a 64-59 victory against Northern Colorado at Bank of Colorado Arena.

“Bea was outstanding tonight, absolutely outstanding,” UI coach Jon Newlee said. “I can’t say enough good things about what she did tonight and has been doing this last stretch of games. Our team feeds off her energy when she gets going.”

Senior guard Louise Forsyth added 17 points for Idaho (4-12, 3-4), which has won three of its past five games after starting the season 1-10. Senior guard Allison Kirby had 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Senior guard Tiana Johnson chipped in 10 points and four assists for the Vandals, who were 16-for-33 (48.5 percent) from the field in the first and third quarters.

Allie Downing had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Bears (4-8, 0-4). Callie Boyles chipped in 10 points.

But it wasn’t easy for Idaho. It committed 14 turnovers to Northern Colorado’s seven, were outrebounded 46-35, were outscored 24-17 in bench points and 11-7 on second-chance points.

It was a tight game throughout, with the Vandals holding the largest lead of the game at 20-11 with 1:29 to go in the first quarter. The Bears scored the final four points and trailed by five going to the second. Bea had 10 of her points in the period.

Idaho knocked its advantage up to seven midway through the second before Northern Colorado took a 27-26 lead with 2:18 remaining before halftime on a Boyles jumper. However, Forsyth scored Idaho’s final five points, and all 11 in the quarter, as it took a 31-30 advantage into halftime.

The teams went back and forth in the third, with the Vandals using a 6-0 run in a 1:14 stretch midway through the quarter to assume a 42-37 advantage. The Bears hit right back with five points of their own in a 1:03 stretch to tie it at 42 with 3:25 remaining. Then Idaho outscored Northern Colorado 11-5 the rest of the way in holding a 53-47 edge going to the fourth.

The Bears scored the first nine points of the final period to take a 56-53 advantage with 5:28 left. But Bea gave the Vandals the lead for good with 3:10 to go on a layup, then she took advantage of a Northern Colorado turnover with another layup for a 59-56 edge with 2:08 remaining. Kirby then closed it out by making 5-of-6 at the free-throw line in the final 29 seconds.

“The way we executed the last three minutes was awesome,” Newlee said. “Getting the big stops, the big boards, and running our late game stuff I thought was fantastic. Allison (Kirby) was just ice at the free-throw line which was great.”

Idaho next plays at 1 p.m. Saturday at Sacramento State.

IDAHO (4-12, 3-4)

Bea 10-16 3-3 23, Gandy 1-8 0-0 2, Kirby 1-6 8-9 10, Johnson 3-7 2-2 10, Milne 1-4 0-0 2, Atchley 0-3 0-0 0, Forsyth 7-16 0-0 17, Allred 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 23-63 13-14 64.

NORTHERN COLORADO (4-8, 0-4)

Downing 5-8 2-2 15, Harden 4-10 0-1 8, Galloway 1-2 0-0 3, Simental 2-10 1-2 6, Isenbart 1-7 0-0 3, Boyles 5-10 0-0 10, Chapman 1-6 2-2 4, Lipe 2-5 0-0 6, Gorzeman 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 23-63 5-7 59.

Idaho 20 11 22 11— 64

Northern Colorado 15 15 17 12—59

3-point goals — Idaho 5-23 (Forsyth 3-5, Johnson 2-5, Allred 0-2, Kirby 0-3, Milne 0-3, Gandy 0-5), Northern Colorado 8-28 (Downing 3-5, Lipe 2-4, Galloway 1-2, Simental 1-5, Isenbart 1-6, Boyles 0-2, Chapman 0-2, Gorzeman 0-2). Rebounds — Idaho 35 (Bea 10), Northern Colorado 46 (Downing 12). Assists — Idaho 19 (Kirby, Johnson, Milne 4), Northern Colorado 12 (Chapman 3). Total fouls — Idaho 11, Northern Colorado 17. A — 392.

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