Winners of three of the last four Mountain West Conference tournaments, the Boise State Broncos women’s basketball team is hoping for a big season in 2018-19.
It might not get any bigger for them than on Monday night in Taco Bell Arena. At least as far as non-conference games are concerned.
The Broncos (3-0) play host to the top-five ranked Louisville Cardinals (2-0).
The two teams met up earlier this year in the first round of the 2018 NCAAW tourney. Louisville won this game 74-42 as the Cardinals ultimately made it to the Final Four.
In that game, the Broncos shot 4-30 from 3-point range and generally struggled to get much going on offense.
With the breadth of experience returning for Boise State, Monday night might be a very different story.
Two more days, Bronco Nation!
Get your tickets now, and show up in ⚫ Monday at 7 pm as we Blackout Taco Bell Arena for our big game against #5/4 Louisville!
— Boise State WBB (@BroncoSportsWBB) November 17, 2018
Appearances in the NCAA tournament have become common the last four years under head coach Gordy Presnell. With a core group of players returning, hopes are high for making it past the first round.
First, though, is getting back to the top of the Mountain West Conference and taking on stronger non-conference opponents like Louisville.
Boise State Broncos
Twice already this season the Broncos have crossed the 90 point mark. They are outscoring opponents 86-45 while shooting 49% from the field. Boise State holds a 12.3 rebound advantage and is shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc.
And this is without junior sharpshooter Riley Lupfer warming up just yet. Lupfer knocked down a school and conference record 122 three-pointers in 2017-18 but has connected on only 4-16 from deep through three games. Still, Lupfer is averaging 10 points per game.
Senior guard Marta Hermida is pacing the team with 13.7 ppg and senior forward Joyce Harrell averages 13, including scoring 23 against Southern Oregon. Harrell also pulls down 7.7 rebounds.
Redshirt Junior Jayde Christopher – a transfer from Kansas — has a knack for dishing out the rock. Through three games, Christopher is averaging 6.7 assists.
Overall, the Broncos return eight players who started at some point last season and might have one of the deepest teams in program history. This will come in handy against a Louisville team that returns plenty of key players of its own.
By time the ball tips on Monday evening, the Cardinals will have not played in ten days.
They’ve coasted to two victories, outscoring opponents 88.5 to 64.5 and shooting 55 percent from the field. The Cardinals have connected on 46.2 percent of their 3-point attempts (24-52).
Leading the way is senior guard Asia Durr. Durr has scored 57 points through two games and has netted 12 three-pointers.
Guard Arica Carter is the only other player averaging in double figures, with 11 ppg, but Louisville has plenty of talent up-and-down the bench.
Sophomore guard Dana Evans has dished out 14 assists and Yacine Diop, a graduate transfer from Pittsburgh, averages 7 rebounds per game.
In last season’s tourney matchup, Durr had nine points. Three other players on last year’s team who played a big hand in the game are also back. Kylee Shook had 14 points and 10 rebounds against the Broncos, while Bionca Dunham had 10 points. Sam Fuehring has only scored 12 points in 2018-19, but had 14 points and 11 boards against the Broncos in the tourney.
Tip-off is set for 7 pm on 11/19 at Taco Bell Arena. The game can be heard on KTIK 1350 and should be able to be seen on the Mountain West Digital Network.