Idaho, Klinker sisters heading to WNIT to face Loyola-Marymount

Posted at 2:10 PM, Mar 19, 2019
Fairfield natives Lizzy (second from left) and Natalie Klinker (right) listen to Idaho coach Jon Newlee during a timeout in the Vandals’ win over Northern Arizona in the quarterfinal round of the Big Sky Conference women’s basketball tournament at Century Link Arena. (MTN Sports photo)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Former Montana high school basketball standouts Lizzy and Natalie Klinker will continue their 2018-19 basketball season after the University of Idaho earned a Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT) bid this week. The Vandals face Loyola-Marymount in the opening round on Thursday in Los Angeles, Calif.

The game is scheduled to tip at 8 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time.

“We couldn’t be more excited to play in such a prestigious tournament as the WNIT,” Idaho head coach Jon Newlee said in a Vandals’ release. “I know Charity [Elliott] does a great job with her program, and we are looking forward to playing such a talented and well-coached team.”

The Klinker sisters played a key role in helping Idaho (20-11) to the No. 1 seed in the Big Sky Conference tournament, but the Vandals were upset by Portland State, 75-59, in the tournament semifinals. The Vikings won the league championship and will represent the conference in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 15 seed, facing Oregon in the opening round.

Lizzy Klinker, a junior who transferred from Utah State last year, is averaging 8.9 points and 7.2 rebounds in 23 games played, while Natalie, a sophomore, has averages of 5.4 points and 8.1 rebounds in her 31 starts this season. The Fairfield natives combine for 39.8 percent of the Vandals’ rebounding.

The Vandals are competing in their third WNIT, having won the 1986 WNIT championship. Idaho competed in the WNIT last season, falling in the opening round against UC Davis.