Very few games have been a cakewalk for the Boise State Broncos women’s basketball team in the 2019/20 season.
Saturday afternoon in San Diego was no different.
Senior A’Shanti Coleman hit a driving layup with 3.1 seconds left in overtime and the Boise State Broncos held on for a 69-67 overtime victory over the San Diego State Aztecs.
The victory clinched a first-round bye in the Mountain West tournament for Boise State (18-9, 10-5). Their victory, coupled with a San Jose State loss, moved the Broncos into second-place. Boise State won for the fourth time in their last five games.
On a day in which the offense struggled, missing on their first 16 three-point attempts, it was the play of sophomore Jade Loville that kept the Broncos in the game.
Loville, who scored 21 points against the Aztecs (12-15, 7-8) earlier this season, again had an outstanding game. Loville scored 20, mostly on mid-range jumpers, and added a team-high 11 rebounds.
Coleman, who only played 11 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, responded with a huge second half. She scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half and overtime. Coleman also had eight rebounds, seven after halftime.
Riley Lupfer and Mallory McGwire also scored in double figures, each scoring 11.
Sophia Ramos led the Aztecs with 25 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists. Taylor Kalmer added 19.
The Broncos were aided by a huge rebounding differential, 55-39, including a rock-solid 18 boards on the offensive glass. Five of these came from Ellie Woerner, many in the second half that led to second-chance points.
Both teams hit only 37 percent from the field and the Broncos finished 3-21 from deep. Missed free throws aided the Broncos as well, with San Diego State only converting 15-26.
Boise State hosts the Spartans on Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 pm (MT) at ExtraMile Arena.
Slow start for both teams
Strong defense led to shooting struggles for both teams, with the Broncos missing their first six shots. Coleman had a nice steal that led to a layup with the Broncos first points at the 7:29 mark.
The Aztecs, now leading 3-2, used a 7-0 run capped by a Kalmer three to go up 10-2 early.
Boise State finally got going after falling behind 12-4. The Broncos used a 9-0 run that stretched in the second quarter with a Loville jumper giving Boise State their first lead at 13-12.
It was a game of lead changes for the rest of the half, with the teams exchanging buckets in between what was a messy game to this point. Jayde Christopher ended the half with a nice drive and spin move to give the Broncos a 25-24 at the break.
Loville had 10 points in the half. Kalmer led San Diego State with 12 as only three Aztecs found the scoring column in the first half.
Boise State Broncos prevail
Out of the break, Boise State seemed to shake off the cold-shooting. The Broncos hit three of their first four shots as they were able to maintain a lead.
Then, a bevy of missed shots could have doomed the Broncos.
Easy shots inside, badly missed shots from distance, and a couple of missed free throws allowed the Aztecs to retake the lead on a Ramos three. The Broncos missed nine straight shots from the field and went nearly six minutes without a field goal. During this time, the Aztecs built a lead as large as six and led 44-40 entering the fourth quarter.
Worry crept in as Lupfer picked up her fourth foul with 8:41 left in the game. Head coach Gordy Presnell, however, decided to leave the senior in and she responded in kind.
But not before the Aztecs took a 51-44 lead with 7:13 left.
Christopher, who finished with 10 assists, found Loville and Woerner on back-to-back possessions. Defensive stops weren’t happening, though, and the lead was still seven at the 4:05 mark.
Then Lupfer finally hit Boise State’s first three of the game, followed by another less than a minute later. The Broncos retook the lead when Lupfer found Coleman for a score, putting the Broncos up 56-55.
Two free throws by Loville gave Boise State a 59-57 lead with 31.7 second remaining. Ramos tied the game with two free throws of her own and Boise State couldn’t get a final shot off in regulation.
Coleman had six points in overtime, while McGwire it a three. Lupfer had the other point, but also missed two free throws.
Ramos had tied the game at 67 with a three. Kalmer’s final shot, after Coleman’s bucket, missed badly, giving the Broncos a nice road win as they head into the final stretch of the regular season.