Struggles in the fourth quarter once again doomed the Boise State Broncos women’s basketball team Saturday in Boise.
This time, it also meant the end of an 18-game home winning streak in Mountain West play.
The Broncos saw a 10-point fourth quarter lead disappear thanks to the hot hand of Haley Cavinder and the Bulldogs held on late for a 85-80 victory.
Cavinder finished with 25 points, scoring 20 in the second-half, as the Bulldogs (16-4, 9-0) won for the first time in Boise since 2014.
Mallory McGwire led the Broncos (14-7, 6-3) with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
For three quarters, Boise State was playing some of their best basketball of the season. The Broncos were solid on both ends of the floor and, after building a lead as large as 17, weren’t letting the Bulldogs get any closer than six.
But a 1-8 start to the fourth quarter did the Broncos no favors. Coupled with Fresno State shooting 10-15 in the quarter — with no turnovers for the entire half — Boise State saw their lead disappear.
All three of Boise State’s conference losses have been by five points or less. These losses have also seen the Broncos give away double digit leads at some point in the game.
Four other Broncos posted points in double figures. Braydey Hodgins had 13, followed by Riley Lupfer with 12, Ellie Woerner off the bench with 11 and A’Shanti Coleman with 10.
Boise State will be back in action on Wednesday in San Jose against the San Jose State Spartans. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 pm (MT).
An ideal first-half
Fresno State’s Maddi Utti scored the first bucket of the game, but Boise State immediately followed that up with a 13-0 run.
McGwire and Lupfer hit back-to-back threes, followed by a Hodgins layup. McGwire hit another three and Coleman is a jumper, giving the Broncos a 13-2 lead.
The Bulldogs began the game shooting 3-16 and, despite six Bronco turnovers, Boise State took a 19-12 lead into the second quarter.
Both Coleman and Woerner picked up their second fouls in the first quarter, but Boise State continued to extend their lead. A Lupfer three, on a nice pass from redshirt freshman Maggie Freeman, gave the Broncos a 31-15 lead with 5:07 left in the half.
After a Fresno State basket, McGwire connected on her third three-pointer of the half, giving Boise State their largest lead of the game at 34-17.
Make it 3️⃣-for-3️⃣ from deep for @mallorymcgwire today!
— Boise State WBB (@BroncoSportsWBB) January 25, 2020
The Bulldogs would find a little momentum and were down at the half, 40-30.
Boise State forced nine Bulldog turnovers in the first half, only two below Fresno State’s average. The Broncos were breaking the press with ease and finding transition buckets to help build their lead.
Second-half struggles for Boise State Broncos
Coleman, after sitting the majority of the first-half, came out firing. She scored Boise State’s first six points, helping keep the Bronco lead at 10.
The Broncos struggled from deep in the third, with Woerner finally hitting one after Boise State’s 0-4 start. Utti hit a three of her own for Fresno State and the Bulldogs were within six, at 52-46.
Neither team committed a turnover in the frame and Boise State continued to just enough to keep the lead at ten entering the fourth, at 60-50.
Slowly, Fresno State continued to chip away. Boise State’s lead was down to two, 66-64, at the 5:08 mark.
Lupfer’s first shot attempt of the second half was good as gold as she connected from deep to give the Broncos a 71-67 lead. But just as soon as momentum seemed to swing the Broncos way, Cavinder answered with a three of her own. She followed that up second later with two free throws, giving the Bulldogs the lead at the 2:54 mark.
She followed that up with another three, but a Freeman basket and two Hodgins free throws tied the score at 75 with 1:15 left.
A three by Fresno State freshman Kendyll Kinzer gave the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish. They hit just enough free throws to seal the game.
Freeman finished 8 points and 3 assists off the bench for the Boise State Broncos.
Utti totaled 21 points and 6 rebounds for Fresno State.