The quest for a fourth-straight Mountain West Conference tournament title launches on Monday evening for the Boise State Broncos women’s basketball team. It’s a journey that’s been uneven at times in 2019-20, but the Broncos are playing their best basketball of the year right now.
By the time Boise State (21-9) takes the court, a week will have passed since the Broncos saw game action. The rest and prep time are positive things to have this time of year. When a team is hitting its stride and rhythm, like a fantastic jazz solo, any sort of interruption could be detrimental.
The Broncos have been feeling the flow in their last three games. Their average margin of victory is 22 points, scoring more than 80 points in all three, and are being led by a trio of seniors down the stretch.
Riley Lupfer is the team’s leading scorer at 12.9 ppg but has cranked up that number over the past seven games. Lupfer is putting up 18.3 points during this stretch, knocking down 33 threes. This is one-third of her season total of 99.
A’Shanti Coleman is the team’s third-leading scorer with 11.5 ppg. Coleman is also shooting 53.2 percent from the field and has found a different level the last three games. There’s the nine rebounds per game in this span to go along with a cool 20.7 ppg.
Jayde Christopher has 240 assists this season, an average of eight per game. Over the last five games, Christopher has upped that number to 10.4 per game.
Two other starters in Braydey Hodgins (10.6) and Mallory McGwire (11.8) are scoring in double digits this season. McGwire leads the team in rebounds at 8.1, with eight double-doubles to her credit.
Action in the Mountain West tournament begins on Sunday. The Broncos will face the winner of Air Force/Colorado State on Monday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 pm (MT).
Boise State Broncos vs Air Force
If the Broncos face the Air Force Falcons (9-20, 7-11), they will be facing a team they defeated twice this season. Boise State won the first game 70-61 and later followed that up with a 74-69 victory.
Boise State had huge quarters to build a lead in both games before holding off an Air Force comeback in the fourth.
Lupfer averaged 18.5 ppg in the two contests, knocking down 10 three-pointers. McGwire and Christopher also had nice games against the Falcons. McGwire had double-doubles in both games, while Christopher totaled 16 points and 25 assists.
Air Force is led by Kaelin Immel and Riley Snyder. Both can shoot, both torched Boise State this season, and they represent the top-two scorers on the Falcons.
Immel, who leads Air Force with 15.3 ppg, collected 28 points in the first meeting. Immel had 18 in the second meeting, but Snyder (14.2 ppg) led the way with 25 in that contest.
Emily Conroe is at the top of the rebound column for Air Force with 7.6.
Overall, Air Force averages 62.2 points per game while allowing 65.1. The Falcons shoot 37.3 percent from the field, average 37.4 rebounds and turn the ball over 16.2 times per game (while forcing 18.3).
In their one meeting of the 2019-20 season, back in December, the Broncos defeated the Colorado State Rams (12-17, 6-12) by a score of 72-69.
Coleman had 20 points and 8 rebounds to lead Boise State in this game, while Christopher had one of her better scoring games with 14 points.
The Rams, who have lost three straight entering the tournament, were led in that game by Andrea Brady and Megan Jacobs. Brady scored 23 and Jacobs had 18.
They are two of six players on Colorado State who average between 7.5 points and 10.8 points per game. Brady leads the team with 10.8 and Jacobs is scoring 8.1.
Brady also leads the team in rebounding with 8.3 as the Rams average 33.8 per contest.
Colorado State shoots 38.4 percent from the field and loves the three-pointer as much as the Broncos do. The Rams have made 221 treys this season — seven more than the Broncos — though they only shoot 31 percent from deep.
The Rams average 61 points per game while allowing 59.7. They commit only 10.8 turnovers per game.