ISU men’s basketball: ISU hopes to get back on track at N. Colorado

Idaho State

By Madison Guernsey mguernsey@journalnet.com

The Bengals got to North Dakota red hot, winners of four in row and scoring points with efficiency.

They left the freezer that is Grand Forks trying to forget the loss as soon as possible.

Idaho State suffered its worst-shooting performance of the season, misfired on a season-high 23 3-pointers, hit a season-low-tying 19 shots and trailed for all but five minutes.

It was a rude end to ISU’s four-game winning streak and a harsh beginning to a two-game road swing. The Bengals play Saturday at Northern Colorado.

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ISU basketball: International Impact — ISU’s foreign players are making a lot of noise on the basketball court

International Impact

By Jeff Papworth jpapworth@journalnet.com

Playing Division I college basketball offers international players a chance to oftentimes receive a free education, meet new people and learn new things in a different environment. Plus, they are able to play the sport they love against high-level competition.

No Big Sky Conference school is giving more foreign athletes those opportunities in the 2015-16 season than Idaho State, which has a league-high seven international players on its men’s and women’s basketball teams combined.

For giving coveted opportunities to foreign athletes, the Bengals have gotten major contributions from them in return.

“This is a great community and a great university, but for a lot of people that are growing up in California and New York and places like this, Idaho’s not a destination to be,” said Idaho State men’s basketball coach Bill Evans. “A lot of the foreign kids aren’t as familiar with America and consequently when you say, ‘This is Coach Evans, Idaho State’s a Division I program in the Big Sky’ — that is enough for them.”

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ISU softball: Burnett named to preseason top 50 watch list

By Journal Staff

Idaho State junior outfielder Kacie Burnett was named to the 2016 USA Softball Top 50 Watch List as announced Wednesday by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball. Former catcher Vicky Galasso was selected in 2014.

Burnett was pegged as a first-team all-conference player last season after hitting .459 in 172 at-bats. She recorded 79 hits, two home runs, nine doubles, five triples and 21 RBIs in addition to 37 stolen bases in 38 attempts. The Napa, California, native was named the NFCA National Player of the Week on March 10, and Big Sky Player of the Week on two separate occasions.

“That was really exciting to see,” Burnett said of being named to the watch list. “I’m just looking forward to going out there and having fun this season. That’s my main goal.”

This year’s preseason watch list includes 25 seniors, 15 juniors and 10 sophomores. Freshmen are ineligible for consideration. Athletes named to the watch list represent 35 NCAA Division I universities and 15 athletic conferences. Burnett is the only athlete from the Big Sky Conference represented on the list.

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ISU men’s bball: Bengals cool down in 76-60 loss to UND

By Journal Staff

Idaho State’s four-game win streak was snapped Thursday at North Dakota. The Bengals shot 30.6 percent from the field and were outscored in each half of their 76-60 loss.

ISU was held to 24 points on 6-of-28 shooting in the first half.

“They did a really good job defensively against us,” said Idaho State head coach Bill Evans. “For the most part, our shots were decent. But you have to give a lot of credit to UND. We have to watch film, learn from this and move on to prepare for Northern Colorado.”

North Dakota began the second half on an 11-3 run to increase its 10-point halftime lead to 45-27. The Fighting Hawks led by as many as 25 points and shot 12 of 27 (44.4 percent) from 3-point range. ISU was 7 of 30 (23.3 percent) from deep.

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ISU WBB: Late-game miscues doom Idaho State in 60-57 loss

By Jeff Papworth jpapworth@journalnet.com

POCATELLO – Idaho State disintegrated a seven-point deficit in a minute and a half to tie it 57-57 with two minutes left in its game against North Dakota on Thursday at Reed Gym.

All the momentum swayed to Idaho State, which was set up to capture a signature victory it greatly needed.

But then the final 90 seconds happened. The Bengals, which lost 60-57, allowed North Dakota to collect three offensive rebounds in the span when scoring opportunities were dwindling for each team.

“North Dakota was tougher than us,” said Idaho State coach Seton Sobolewski. “We got them to miss shots and we didn’t secure rebounds. But I think that was just a reflection of a lot of long stretches of the game where we didn’t apply the right effort on defense and we weren’t tough enough.”

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ISU football: 2016 signing class announced; 29 new Bengals ink with ISU

Kramer signing day

By Madison Guernsey mguernsey@journalnet.com

POCATELLO — Idaho State head football coach Mike Kramer announced the largest recruiting class in his five-plus years in Pocatello on Wednesday, the first day of the year high school football recruits are eligible to sign a National Letter of Intent.

The class included 29 players and had an emphasis on bolstering depth at wide receiver and the secondary, which each added six signees. The Bengals acquired at least one player in every position other than punter after adding 14 defensive players and four on offense with last year’s recruiting class.

“Our numbers worked out in an interesting way,” Kramer said, adding that three players have left the program. “We had 19 seniors (graduate) and we had three full-scholarship vacancies during the season. … So automatically there’s some space that gets created.”

Of the 29 new Bengals, 11 hail from the state of Idaho, and six attend high school in either District 5 or 6. Snake River offensive lineman Porter Thomas and Blackfoot wide receiver Taylor Pearson were among the southeast Idaho natives introduced Wednesday. Four of the six southeast Idaho signees plan on taking a religious mission before playing for ISU.

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ISU men’s basketball: Bengals face big test at North Dakota

Idaho State MBB vs NAU 12.jpg

By Madison Guernsey mguernsey@journalnet.com

Idaho State doesn’t have good memories about its first meeting of the season with North Dakota.

The Fighting Hawks shot 59.6 percent overall, 50 percent from the arc, nabbed 10 steals and beat the Bengals 84-76 in Pocatello. It was one of ISU’s worst defensive performances of the season.

“They beat us,” said Bengals guard Geno Luzcando. “I really don’t like it.”

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ISU women’s basketball: 3 Idaho State women’s basketball observations

ISU women's basketball

By Jeff Papworth jpapworth@journalnet.com

Idaho State moves past the midway point of the conference schedule after home games against North Dakota and Northern Colorado on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Below are three detailed observations regarding the Bengals’ play in the first half of the Big Sky Conference slate and the entire nonconference season.

Idaho State isn’t done yet

Idaho State has a 3-5 league record and is ninth in the Big Sky Conference standings — not exactly prime positioning for the last half of the season.

But there is reason for hope. A lot of hope. The area where a lot of it lies is how Idaho State has played on the road where weaknesses show for mediocre teams. In 10 away games, the Bengals have tallied four wins this season, which is more than six Big Sky teams have tallied combined.

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