Three straight Mountain West tournament titles. A program-record 28 wins. Both were still not enough for the Boise State Broncos women’s basketball team to avoid having a first-round NCAA tournament game on the opponent’s home court. On a positive note, at least the Broncos are not a 16th-seed this season.
The NCAA women’s tournament bracket was announced on Monday, with the Broncos earning a 13th-seed in the Albany region. Boise State will take on the no. 4 seed Oregon State Beavers (24-7) Saturday in Corvallis at 3:30 pm MT.
Much of the drama anticipated for the selection of teams was wiped away for many, as ESPN mistakenly showed the bracket early on ESPNU. Word leaked out, of course, and ESPN was forced to move the selection show up by two hours. By then, an apology was released and confirmation of selected teams and their opponents had been floating around the internet.
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) March 18, 2019
The 13th-seed isn’t horrible. But for a Boise State team going to the tournament for the fourth time in the past five seasons, with a RPI of 39, somewhere between a 10 and 12 seed was expected. (Seeds 13 to 16 play at the home court of the one thru four seeds in each region.)
Instead, the Broncos will travel to Corvallis, where the Beavers are 15-1 this season. Oregon State finished in third place in the Pac-12 before bowing out the Washington Huskies 68-67 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament. The Beavers had defeated Washington by 11 and 47 points during the regular season.
Boise State defeated the Huskies 73-69 back in December.
The Albany region also features Louisville, no. 2 seed Connecticut, third-seed Maryland, and no. 5 seed Gonzaga. See the entire bracket here.
Boise State Broncos
Outside of the Washington Huskies, the Broncos (28-4) and Beavers had two other common opponents. Boise State defeated Eastern Washington 67-55 while the Beavers won 93-45. The Broncos lost to the Washington State Cougars by 24. Oregon State went 2-0 against the Cougs, winning by an average of 12.
Fresh off of their third straight Mountain West tourney title, the Broncos are riding high. Junior guard Braydey Hodgins led the way in the tournament, earning tournament MVP. Hodgins scored 37 to open the tournament and finished by averaging 23.3 points in three games.
Hodgins leads the team in scoring at 13.4 ppg. Junior guard Riley Lupfer is up next, scoring 11 per contest and followed by senior Marta Hermida (10.3 ppg).
Hermida had quite the MW tournament herself, earning all-tournament honors and nearly picking up a triple-double in the semifinal victory over Fresno State. Hermida had 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists in that game.
She is tied for second on the team in rebounds with an average of 4.3, tied with A’Shanti Coleman. The leader in this department is senior Joyce Harrell, who pulls down 5.7 per contest.
Point guard Jayde Christopher dishes out 5.5 assists per game and has caught fire from 3-point range as of late. In her last five games, Christopher is 9-14 from deep.
Boise State averages 75.1 points against opponents’ 63. The Broncos shoot 44.4 percent from the field, 35.3 from 3-point range, and hold a +2.4 advantage on the boards per game.
Oregon State Beavers
Oregon State started off the season 18-3 but is only 6-4 in their last 10 games. They did, however, pick up a late-season win over Oregon, who won the Pac-12 regular season.
The Beavers average 75.9 points per game while holding opponents to an average of 60. Connecting on 47.7 percent of their shots, Oregon State also shoots 38.8 from deep. Not only do the Beavers shoot the ball well, but opponents struggle from the field. Oregon State holds opponents to 32.7 percent from the field and a chilly 29.5 percent from three-point range.
The Beavers also hold a +9.1 advantage on the boards.
Oregon State is led by redshirt sophomore and former Mountain View High School star Destiny Slocum. Slocum started her career in Maryland, playing one season before transferring to Oregon State.
After sitting out last season, Slocum has picked up right where she left off. She leads the team in scoring (16 ppg) and is second in three-pointers made, with 66. Slocum also dishes out 4.6 assists.
Junior Mikayla Pivec is second on the team in scoring (14.9 ppg) and leads the team in rebounding (9.1 rpg).
Another player to keep an eye on is sophomore Aleah Goodman, who leads the team in threes (69), shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc.
On paper, there is certainly similarities between the two teams. Oregon State might play in the tougher conference and have statistical advantages, but if Boise State plays like they did against Wyoming (and for 2.5 quarters against Louisville earlier this season), anything is possible.