ISU softball: Bengals picked to finish 4th in preseason poll

ISU-UNC weather games

After finishing second in the Big Sky Conference tournament last year, the Idaho State softball team has been picked to finish fourth of the conference in 2017. The Big Sky Conference released its preseason poll voted on by the coaches Thursday.

Defending regular-season and tournament champion Weber State was picked atop the league with four first-place votes. The coaches picked Sacramento State second, Montana third, the Bengals fourth, Southern Utah fifth, Portland State sixth, North Dakota seventh, and Northern Colorado eighth.

Idaho State returns three-time first-team all-conference outfielder Kacie Burnett. Last season, Burnett led the league with a .454 batting average and tallied 79 hits and 27 stolen bases. ISU also returns starters Alex Portesi, Ashlyn Ames and Sarah Hayes.

Portesi finished second on the team last year with a .382 batting average and she was named the 2016 Big Sky Conference Newcomer of the Year. Ames was named 2016 second-team all-conference and returns as the Bengals’ top pitcher with the team’s best earned run average from last season.

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ISU football: Phenicie promoted to offensive coordinator

Rob Phenicie mug

By Journal Staff and ISU Sports Information

Idaho State football coach Mike Kramer has announced that Rob Phenicie has been promoted to offensive coordinator and David Fiefia to assistant head coach for offense.

Phenicie has been in Pocatello for two seasons coaching the wide receivers. He was the offensive coordinator for two years at UNLV and served as the offensive coordinator at Montana from 2003-09.

During his time in Missoula, Phenicie guided the Montana offense to three appearances in the FCS national championship game (2004, 2008 and 2009), and the team made the playoffs each year he was at Montana. In 2006, he was awarded the Mike Campbell Award for the top assistant coach in FCS football. Montana appeared in 18 playoff games during his time as the offensive coordinator.

Phenicie also served as the co-offensive coordinator at Wyoming for one season. While at Cal State Northridge in 1997, Phenicie was the offensive coordinator for a unit that led the nation in total offense. He is Idaho State’s fourth offensive coordinator in as many seasons.

Fiefia joined the Bengal coaching staff in March 2015 and has coached the running backs and tight ends.

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ISU WBB: Bengals mauled by Bears 77-62


By Jeff Papworth

POCATELLO – Idaho State’s 10-game home winning streak was snapped, as was its fortified defense, by Northern Colorado in a 77-62 loss Thursday at Reed Gym.

The Bears came into the game outscoring Big Sky Conference opponents by a league-high 16 points per game and against the Bengals it was much of the same. Northern Colorado got on a tear from beyond the arc, making 14 of 23 3-pointers.

“It’s a dagger to the heart. That’s never good, even if you pride yourself on defense or not,” said ISU guard Saylair Grandon, whose team was first in points allowed and field goal percentage defense in conference play. “They shot phenomenal from 3 and from 2, so that’s just something we need to change and work on.”

Guard Savannah Smith scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Bears, going 10 of 17 from the field and 6 of 10 from the 3-point line.

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ISU MBB: Bengals rally from 16 down to beat UNC

Idaho State rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit to beat Northern Colorado 73-69 Thursday on the road. The Bengals shot 52.4 percent from the floor and 9 of 18 from the 3-point line while holding the Bears to 36 percent shooting with two 3-pointers in the second half.

UNC drained 11 3s and was 56 percent from the field in the opening half.

“I think the second half is one of the best second halves we’ve played all year,” ISU head coach Bill Evans said.

Idaho State (3-14, 1-4 Big Sky Conference) connected on consecutive 3-pointers to open the game and led 6-0 before Northern Colorado (7-11, 3-4) marched on a 17-0 run that included five treys. The Bengals committed eight turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game and trailed by double digits from the 15:03 mark of the first half until the 5:30 mark. ISU eventually cut the deficit to seven points before entering halftime down 43-32.

“I challenged them a little bit at halftime,” Evans said. “I just said, ‘We’ve got to get after it here. We haven’t got a loose ball yet. We haven’t contested a shot yet. They’ve made 11 3s, and you guys are only down 11 points.’”

A pair of Ethan Telfair free throws early in the second half brought ISU within 45-42, but UNC scored the next seven points to go up 13.

Down 55-43, ISU went on a 10-0 run to cut Northern Colorado’s lead to 55-53 with 9:11 to play. Idaho State tied the score at 57-57 on a Brandon Boyd layup and took its first lead since early in the first half on a 3 from Robert Jones III at the 4:16 mark. The squads traded leads until the Bengals took it for good, 70-69, with 59 seconds left in the game.

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ISU Africa Night set for Jan. 28 at Stephens Performing Arts Center

Africa night

By Idaho State University

POCATELLO — The Idaho State University Africa Student Association will present its annual Africa Night on Jan. 28 at the Stephens Performing Arts Center.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner starts at 6 p.m.

The night will include traditional African foods, dance presentations, a skit, a fashion show, a flag show, and singing.

Africa Night is one of the largest annual cultural events in Pocatello, often attracting more than 600 attendees.

To purchase tickets, visit the Pond Student Union or the Rendezvous Building between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Ticket prices purchased in advance are $7 for students, $8 for faculty and staff, and $9 for the public. All tickets purchased at the door are $9. Admission for children 5 and under is free.

For more information, contact Chimdinma Ogbonna at or 208-760-7563.

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ISU WBB: Bengals bring good synergy into home stretch

ISU WBB Lindsay Brown Utah Valley

By Jeff Papworth

Injuries keep piling up for Idaho State, but disbelief and angst have not been the effects.

While the Bengals expressed they are not letting the adversity bother them, they confirmed their mindset on the court Saturday by winning at Idaho for the first time since 1983.

It was their first game this season without starting forward Grace Kenyon, who was out with a knee injury. A lineup that could have featured five players with starting experience, included two, because of injuries.

“We dug deep,” Idaho State coach Seton Sobolewski said. “You can feel bad for yourself, you can feel like things are getting more difficult, instead of getting easier and you can get discouraged. And we didn’t do that. We decided to take the path of, ‘Let’s work harder. Everybody do a little bit more. This is a test to show us what we’re really made of and how we handle adversity.’”

Sophomore guard Saylair Grandon returned to form in the pivotal matchup, scoring a career-high 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting after failing to reach double digits in her first two conference road games of the year. As noteworthy was the performance by forward Lindsay Brown, who scored a season-high 15 points.

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ISU MBB: Mocsan’s international experience bodes well for future at ISU

ISU MBB Balint Mocsan
By Madison Guernsey

Balint Mocsan had never been to the United States before his 18-hour flight from Hungary brought him to Pocatello last August.

The 19-year-old Budapest native had always wanted to play basketball in America, and he had his shot — in the cozy mountain town in southeast Idaho — across the Atlantic Ocean and eight time zones from home.

“I was so concerned about this whole thing before I got here, because I didn’t know what I should expect,” Mocsan said.

“Everybody’s so kind, so nice, so it made it easier to get used to everything.”

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ISU WBB: Bengals pick up 1st win at Idaho since 1983

By Journal staff

Idaho State did something it had only done once before – win at Idaho where the Bengals were 1-17 all-time.

Idaho State defeated the Vandals 67-60 Saturday for its first victory at its in-state rival since 1983. Bengals guard Saylair Grandon led the way, scoring 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting.

Idaho State used a familiar route to victory, deploying a stifling defense. The Vandals had the fourth-best field goal percentage in the Big Sky Conference and were held to 33 percent shooting, eight below its average. Idaho scored two points in the final six minutes of the game.

The Bengals had the lead for 3:53 of the matchup and were down by as much as 11 points. ISU forward Lindsay Brown accounted for the last lead change of the game, hitting a 3-pointer to put her team up 62-60 with 2:29 left in the game. Brown also kicked off the final period with a trey, cutting ISU’s nine-point deficit to 56-50.

Idaho State (9-7, 3-2 Big Sky Conference) hosts Northern Colorado on Thursday.

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