COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — Walla Walla point guard Jade Skidmore has taken her game to a new level.
The gifted 5-foot-7 sophomore out of Terreten, Idaho, scored 22 points, picked off 12 rebounds and dished out 10 assists here Wednesday night.
Her big night helped the Warriors defeat North Idaho College, 101-89, to remain undefeated in the Northwest Athletic Conference’s East Region with their 15th consecutive women’s basketball victory.
It was Skidmore’s second triple-double in WWCC’s last three games.
Skidmore recorded the first triple-double of her WWCC career Saturday in a 91-62 victory at Big Bend.
That performance, sandwiched around double-double efforts at Wenatchee on Jan. 10 and against Yakima on Monday in the Dietrich Dome, resulted in her selection as NWAC Player of the Week.
“Jade is playing so well for us,” WWCC coach Bobbi Hazeltine said after watching her team improve to 17-1 on the season and 5-0 in the NWAC East.
“And she played all 40 minutes last night,” Hazeltine added. “North Idaho pressed us the entire game and we needed to have our point guard in there. We couldn’t pull her.”
North Idaho, which saw its record slip to 1-4 in East play and 10-7 overall, used what Hazeltine described as “an extended 2-3 trapping zone defense” the entire game.
“They have a defensive coach who put in what is called the buzz defense, which is something that has been successful at the NCAA level,” Hazeltine explained. “I had never coached against it before, and when you watch it on film it is scary.
“They lead the NWAC in forcing turnovers and we attacked it in kind of a risky way. You have either great possessions or turnovers, and we got a lot of open 3-pointers and layins and we lit them up in the first quarter.
“We had only one day to prepare for it,” Hazeltine added. “And I am so proud of the kids because they bought in to what we saw and how to attack it.”
The Warriors put up 30 points in the first quarter but only led the Cardinals by three points. They led 53-46 at the intermission and were clinging 71-68 advantage at the outset of the fourth quarter.
“It was a five-point game most of the second half,” Hazeltine said. “But we hit some huge shots in the fourth quarter and got some stops on defense. And at the end they fouled us and that’s how we stretched it out to the final score.”
Cierra Jo McKeown, who led the Warriors offensively with 31 points, and Skidmore knocked down a pair of 3-pointers each in WWCC’s 30-point fourth quarter. McKeown and Teresa Acock, who finished the night with 11 points, did most of the damage offensively early in the game.
“Cierra Jo and Teresa were hot in the first quarter,” Hazeltine said.
McKeown made 12-of-16 shots overall and was 7-for-9 from beyond the 3-point line. Acock connected on 3-of-8 3-pointers and Skidmore was 2-for-3 from downtown.
“Jade’s not normally one of our 3-point shooters,” her coach said. “But she got two great looks in the fourth quarter and knocked them down.”
Kortney Hutchison came off the bench to score 14 points for the Walla Wallans and starting post Adriana Peralza was a fifth Warrior in double figures with 10 points.
Ronnie Harris led the Cardinals with 22 points. Cierra Dvorak added 19 points and reserves Lana Berg and Zosha Krupa tallied 11 points each.
Walla Walla returns to the Dietrich Dome Saturday to entertain Blue Mountain in an NWAC East game slated for a 2 p.m. tip.
Warriors 101, Cardinals 89
WALLA WALLA (101) — McKeown 12-16 0-1 31, Acock 4-11 0-0 11, Skidmore 7-11 6-7 22, Turner 3-5 3-4 9, Peralza 5-10 0-0 10, Andrews 0-0 0-0 0, Hutchison 4-6 6-6 14, Dietrich-Denton 1-2 2-2 4. Totals 36-61 17-22 101.
NORTH IDAHO (89) — Dvorak 8-17 3-4 19, Harris 9-14 1-2 22, Meir 5-13 2-3 14, Auer 4-10 0-0 9, Hovde 1-5 1-1 3, Berg 5-8 1-3 11, Krupa 4-8 0-0 11. Totals 36-75 8-13 89.
3-point goals — WWCC 12-20 (McKeown 7-9, Acock 3-8, Skidmore 2-3), NI 9-25 (Dvorak 0-2, Harris 3-5, Meir 2-8, Auer 1-3, Krupa 3-7). Total fouls — NI 20, WWCC 12. Fouled out — NI (Meir). Technical fouls — none. Rebounds — WWCC 37 (Skidmore 12), NI 31 (Auer 8, Hovde 8). Turnovers — WWCC 20, NI 15. Assists — WWCC 19 (Skidmore 10), NI 13 (Dvorak 4).