CALDWELL, Idaho — The 14th-ranked Southern Oregon women’s basketball team gave itself plenty of cushion to survive a late drought, blitzing College of Idaho early for its first Cascade Conference win, 67-57 on Saturday night at the J.A. Albertson Center.
Freshman guard Kalei Iwami scored a team-high 15 points off the bench, knocking down four 3-pointers, and the Raiders (5-3 overall, 1-1 CCC) led by as many as 26 points in the second quarter and 34 in the third a night after a tight loss at Eastern Oregon.
The Yotes (1-6, 0-2) were in a 61-27 hole with 2:51 left in the third before holding SOU without a field goal for the next nine minutes.
Iwami ended any thoughts of a comeback, however, when she stepped into her final 3-pointer to push the lead to 65-49 with just under four minutes left.
SOU forward Ariel Augustine had 12 points and made all three of her tries from the field in a 22-10 first quarter. Destinee Jones helped with five points and five steals of the Raiders’ 11 steals as they forced 16 turnovers before halftime.
The Raiders won 13 in a row overall against the Yotes, including their last five games in Caldwell. They still haven’t lost back-to-back conference games since the 2013-14 season.
Freshman reserve Dominique Harding came in to add eight points and three rebounds, and Syd Fryer had seven points with a game-high 10 boards.
The Yotes — who shot just 30 percent, including marks of 7 of 32 from the field and 0-of-10 from 3 in the first half — were led by Mackenzie Rocye’s 16 points. Their leading scorer, all-star guard Alyssa Case, was held to 1 of 12 shooting.
COLLEGE OF IDAHO 72, SOU 69: At Caldwell, Idaho, second-ranked College of Idaho hit five consecutive free throws in the final seconds to stave off No. 13 Southern Oregon.
The Raiders (9-3 overall, 0-2 Cascade Conference) converted four more field goals than the Yotes (13-1, 2-0) and kept them at 38-percent accuracy, but the difference was at the line, where C of I went 21 of 25 and SOU was 10 of 12. The Yotes poured in 15 of those in the second half.
SOU junior Jordan Hunt shot 9 of 11 with 21 points and seven rebounds, and he gave the Raiders their last lead at 60-59 on a scoop at the rim with 4:07 to go. Matt Meyers took the lead back with a pair of free throws on the other end, and with 2:33 left Keun Palu-Thompson delivered the key play of the game. After stepping into the passing lane, he took a steal from coast to coast and finished a three-point play to make it 64-60.
Senior guard Tristen Holmes tallied seven of his 21 points in the final 80 seconds to keep the Raiders close. They had two chances to close the gap entirely: down two with 1:50 left, when Tate Hoffman missed the potential go-ahead 3, and down two with 44 seconds left, when Holmes was called for a charge in the paint.
Conor Carroll chipped in seven for the Raiders, netting three straight jumpers in the first half.