Senior Marta Hermida delivered a grand performance in the second-half for the Boise State Broncos on Saturday afternoon.
Hermida scored all 21 of her points after halftime as Boise State (14-2, 5-0) built a big lead, ultimately holding on for a 72-60 victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs (11-5, 4-1).
The senior, after only taking one shot in the first-half, delivered big time in the second-half. She knocked down five 3-pointers and added three other field goals, scoring 21 of the Broncos 29 points in the half.
Senior Joyce Harrell added 12 points and led the team with 11 rebounds. Junior Riley Lupfer chipped in 11 points.
The two teams entered the game tied for first-place in the Mountain West and each played like it in the first quarter. Using their height advantage, the Broncos took an early 10-3 lead.
The Bulldogs battled back, even bringing it to within one point on multiple occasions and the Broncos had a 22-18 lead after the first quarter.
Lupfer got going in the second quarter, knocking down a couple of threes, and the Boise State defense was locked in. The Broncos held Fresno State to eight points in the quarter and led at halftime 43-26.
Lupfer had nine points in the first half and the Broncos had 16 bench points. Harrell added eight as Boise State had 22 points in the paints before halftime.
Hermida hit a three to get things going right off the bat in the second half. High-energy on defense — plus Harrell and A’Shanti Coleman causing trouble for the Bulldogs — kept Fresno State off the scoreboard for the first 3:20 of the third quarter.
The lead for Boise State kept growing, with Jayde Christopher finding Coleman for a bucket to put the Broncos up by 25 with 5:02 left. A couple of minutes later, Hermida hit another three to put Boise State up 56-29.
A Harrell free throw gave the Broncos a 59-31 lead and it looked like the Broncos would win with ease.
Fresno State, however, had different ideas. They closed the quarter on a 8-0 run, trailing 59-39 after three.
The Bulldogs closed the gap to 59-42 as the teams played even over the next five minutes. The Broncos got the lead back up to 68-50 with 4:19 remaining.
Lupfer later joined the 1,000 career-points club at Boise State when she knocked down this bucket:
— Boise State WBB (@BroncoSportsWBB) January 19, 2019
Despite cold-shooting and turnovers plaguing the Broncos in the fourth quarter, they were never really threatened as the held on for a 12-point victory.
Christopher added eight points, five points, and five assists for the Broncos. Coleman had four rebounds and five blocked shots.
Candice White led the Bulldogs with 22 points and Maddi Utti had 16 points and nine rebounds.
Boise State’s victory gave them sole possession of first-place in the Mountain West. The Broncos return home to face Air Force on Wednesday for Military Appreciation Night. Tip-off is set for 7 pm (MT).