Offense took a holiday in Saturday’s women’s game between the Boise State Broncos and UNLV Lady Rebels at Taco Bell Arena.
The Broncos (23-4, 14-2) had one of their best defensive efforts of the season in a physical affair, defeating UNLV 53-38.
Boise State held UNLV (11-17, 9-8) to only 12 field goals, stifling the Rebels to 26 percent from the field.
On a day when the Broncos only shot 26.3 percent themselves, their defense rose to the occasion. They forced 21 turnovers, gave UNLV only 1 assist, and generally made things difficult for UNLV all day.
The Rebels were without post player Paris Strawther. Strawther, who averages 5.9 points and 5.3 rebounds, had to sit out due to a violation of the Mountain West sportsmanship rule.
Boise State true freshman Rachel Bowers, who had a career-high 19 points on February 6 in the last matchup between these two teams, came off the bench for a game-high 13 points. Bowers also led the team with 9 rebounds.
Riley Lupfer, in only her second game back after missing the previous four with an injury, played 25 minutes and had 10 points off the bench.
The Broncos can clinch the Mountain West regular season title with a victory on Monday at home against the New Mexico Lobos.
The Broncos missed their first six shots of the game in falling behind 5-1. Senior Marta Hermida ended the drought at the 5:54 mark when she connected on a three-pointer.
Boise State took their first lead of the game — one they would never relinquish — when Tess Amundsen found the bottom of the net with 4:59 left in the first quarter.
Amundsen was a force in the first quarter, scoring seven points and pulling down three rebounds. Her play helped give the Broncos an 11-10 heading into the second quarter.
Defense really took over in the second, as UNLV made only two field goals. A span of nearly eight minutes passed between Katie Powell’s bucket at 8:31 in the quarter and Latecia Smith’s basket at the 50-second mark.
Powell, UNLV’s leading scorer (14.1) and rebounder (6.4) injured her right ankle at the 7:34 mark and did not return for the rest of the game.
The Broncos lead would swell to as many as 11 and they led at halftime, 27-19.
Boise State hit only three field goals (3-16) in the third quarter as struggles on offense continued.
This bettered UNLV’s mark by one as neither team found much rhythm. The teams combined for nine turnovers in the quarter. The Rebels were able to get within six at one point, but Boise State had big shots when needed. A Braydey Hodgins three put the Broncos back up ten with 2:05 left in the quarter.
Up 35-27 to begin the fourth, the Broncos erupted for 18 points in the frame.
A Lupfer three put Boise State up 13 with eight minutes left. A layup by Bowers later put the Broncos up by 14 and an Ellie Woerner three-pointer gave Boise State their largest lead at 17.
Amundsen finished with eight points. Hodgins added 7 points, ending her run of 20-point games at six.
The Broncos committed only 11 turnovers as they finished nearly 23 points below their season average. The 38 points by UNLV were the lowest an opponent scored against Boise State in Mountain West play this season.
Guard Nikki Wheatley led UNLV with 7 points and Rodjanae Wade had a game-high 12 rebounds.
Monday night’s game vs New Mexico is also senior night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 pm (MT) at Taco Bell Arena.