Second-half surge keyed by Goles and Konate helps ISU women extend winning streak

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POCATELLO — As the players took the court to begin the second half, Idaho State point guard Diaba Konate hung back next to the Bengals’ bench.

The other nine players from ISU and Portland State were arrayed around the court, the ref was getting ready to hand the ball to Callie Bourne, ISU’s inbounder, and there was Konate next to Bengals head coach Seton Sobolewski, turned inward and nodding as the coach dispensed some last-second advice.

“What I told her was that, look, starting the third quarter, you have to stay aggressive,” Sobolewski said. “But let it come to you. If you force it, it’ll be turnover city. She’s better that way, when she’s not thinking too much. »

It seems like unusual advice to give after a first half like Konate and the Bengals had just played.


Be aggressive. Don’t think too much.

After all, Konate had just scored zero points with three turnovers in the first 20 minutes of the game. Late in the half, she had let PSU’s tiny point guard, Kylie Jimenez, sneak up behind her and steal a rebound as she nonchalantly tried to one-hand the ball.

In fact, the message could have gone out to Sobolewski’s entire team, which was losing 31-30 and looking lost against the Vikings’ zone defense.

But the low-key words turned out to be exactly what Konate and the Bengals needed to hear. Dora Goles scored 19 of her 22 points and Konate all 14 of hers after halftime as ISU eviscerated Portland State over the final 20 minutes for an 80-55 win Thursday at Reed Gym.


The win moved Idaho State to 11-1 overall, continuing the best start in program history, and 9-0 in Big Sky Conference play. The Bengals have won 10 in a row.

“We’re happy, but we just don’t want to be overconfident,” Goles said. “We’re trying to balance it out. We’re happy about it, but we’re just trying to play hard and focus on that.”

For as good an in-game coach as Sobolewski is, he doesn’t typically have to make many adjustments at halftime or say much in the locker room. His Bengals this year are a confident and experienced team. They’ve been here before, as the cliche goes.

If they’re struggling, they know not to panic. If they’re doing something wrong, they likely know what to do to fix it before Sobolewski says anything.

“As coaches, we spend more time venting in the hall than we do actually talking to the team,” Sobolewski said. “You don’t have to say a whole lot now. Sometimes it’s not even about X’s and O’s, it’s about positivity, effort, being focused. They’re a lot more lower-maintenance than a younger team would be.”

And so, after a first half in which Portland State’s aggressive 2-3 zone defense flummoxed ISU and the Bengals looked to be in danger of losing their perfect conference start, he kept things simple at the break, and his team came out with a blistering second half that left the Vikings no chance to respond.

Konate opened the third quarter with a layup, getting on the board 17 seconds into the second half after her nightmare first 20 minutes. Goles followed with a 3-pointer, the first of three long-distance makes for the Croatian sniper in just under four minutes of game time.

“I have the mentality of, if I’m hot, I’m going to shoot it — or if I’m not hot, shoot until I’m hot,” said Goles, who shot just 1 of 6 in the first half. “I’m just going to keep shooting and hope that coach Sobo doesn’t sub me out. … I was just trying to win the basketball game.”

Goles and Konate combined to score the first 16 points of the second half for Idaho State. By the end of their run, the Bengals were up 46-38 with 4:44 left in the third quarter, and although Portland State had one more run left, closing to within two points late in the quarter, the Vikings were as good as dead.

Goles and Konate went on one more run, combining to score ISU’s first nine points of the fourth quarter, to stretch a seven-point lead to 14 and put the final nail in the coffin.

“We were too stagnant (in the first half), not enough people were involved and we weren’t moving the ball quick enough,” Sobolewski said. “Finally, some outside shooting opened things up for us and took some pressure off the defensive end and we able to play more free.”

Estefania Ors added 11 points for Idaho State, and Montana Oltrogge had nine. Goles, the shortest player on the floor for ISU, added six rebounds, second on the team behind Callie Bourne’s seven. Idaho State forced 28 turnovers, with all eight Bengals who played at least seven minutes recording at least one steal, led by Goles’ three.

The two teams meet again on Saturday at Reed Gym, with tip-off scheduled for noon.


Portland State 16 15 17 7 — 55

Idaho State 14 16 25 25 — 80

Portland State — Kilty 11, Boston 11, Hansen 10, Baird 10, Jimenez 7, Lewis 4, Streun 2.

Idaho State — Goles 22, Konate 14, Ors 11, Oltrogge 9, Smith 8, Bourne 6, Moore 6, Whitman 2, Sweeney 2.


Idaho State Journal

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