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Sports >  Idaho basketball

College basketball 2021-22: Inside-out game of Beyonce Bea should help Idaho women find better balance

Idaho women’s basketball has a new look. It begins with the Vandals’ new digs, the Idaho Central Credit Union Arena, which coach Jon Newlee has called a “huge game-changer” in recruiting.

“Already, the future classes … that we’ve been talking to are all blown away by this,” said Newlee, in his 13th season. “And the ones we’ve brought on campus already, they walk in and their eyes get big.”

Expect a few changes on the court as well when the Vandals tip off the season Nov. 9 against Lewis & Clark State College.

The Vandals (17-7 overall and 13-4 in the Big Sky Conference last year) graduated Gabi Harrington, Gina Marxen and Natalie Klinker, who combined for 52 starts and almost half their points.

Long known for its outside shooting, Idaho appears to offer a more balanced inside-out threat led by all-conference first-team forward Beyonce Bea.

Sophomore guard Sydney Gandy is coming off an all-Big Sky tournament appearance after helping the Vandals reach the title game. She averaged 10.5 points and shot 29.9% from 3-point range.

Picked to finish third in both the media and coaches polls, the Vandals got some shooting help from grad transfer Louise Forsyth, who played four years at Gonzaga.

The inside game should get a boost from redshirt sophomore Tiana Johnson, a 6-foot-2 post who made 18 starts last year at Big Sky rival Sacramento State.

Idaho faces a challenging non-conference schedule that includes games against NCAA Tournament participants Washington State, Oregon State and Texas.

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