The Boise State Broncos women’s basketball was roughly 18 seconds away from picking up their first-ever NCAA tournament win.
Two free throws from Marta Hermida gave the Broncos a 66-62 lead over the Oregon State Beavers with 17.8 seconds left. An Oregon State bucket cut the lead, followed by the Beavers forcing a jump ball. With the possession arrow in their favor, the Beavers were fouled on the inbounds play, hitting two free throws to tie the score at 66.
In overtime, the Beavers continued to hit their free throws as Boise State went cold from the field, resulting in an Oregon State 80-75 victory.
The Broncos may have lost, but even in overtime, they did not give up without a fight.
Oregon State guard Destiny Slocum gave the Beavers a 74-68 on back-to-back drives. Boise State freshman Rachel Bowers, however, scored the next four points and had a steal to bring the Broncos back within two.
Bowers missed two free throws that would have tied the game with 33 seconds left. A Riley Lupfer three-pointer, after Oregon State free throws, brought the score to 76-75. The Beavers were able to seal the victory at the stripe after struggling through much of the second half.
Hermida, with a pesky defensive performance and veteran performance on offense, finished her Bronco career with a game-high 22 points. She scored 15 of those in the second half and was a constant presence on both ends of the court.
Hot and Cold
Nerves were not present from the opening moments for Boise State as Hermida and Joyce Harrell connected on shots, giving the Broncos an early 4-3 lead.
Oregon State reeled off a 7-0 run, however, and the Broncos missed their next six shots. Despite multiple opportunities from offensive rebounds, Oregon State couldn’t get much going, thanks to the Broncos suffocating defense.
Oregon State’s size and attacking offense also created foul trouble, as A’Shanti Coleman picked up her 2nd foul in the first quarter. A Braydey Hodgins steal led to a basket, foul and 3-point play. A few possessions later, Lupfer hit a stepback three to bring the Broncos within two at 14-12.
Then Boise State went cold and Oregon State was able to capitalize, extending the lead to 22-12 and eventually 29-15 partway through the second.
Slocum previously picked up her second foul, at the 6:57 mark, but the Beavers initially didn’t feel her absence in extending the lead.
With a group on the floor of Hermida, Jayde Christopher, Jade Loville, Bowers, and Ellie Woerner, the Broncos reeled off a 10-0 run. Woerner hit a three and Loville had a corner jumper during the run.
The Beavers responded with a 7-0 run of their own. A late Christopher three-pointer made the deficit 8 at the buzzer, as BSU trailed 36-28 heading into the locker room.
Swarming defense and a burst of offense
Hermida got things going in the second-half, scoring five straight points to close the gap to three.
Pressure defense by Boise State — the Broncos forced 19 turnovers overall — led to steals and shot clock violations. A Hermida three-pointer at the 3:05 mark of the third quarter tied the game at 42. This was followed by a steal and two Hodgins free throws to give the Broncos their first lead since early in the game.
The Beavers would go scoreless for over five minutes, finally hitting a three just before the end of the third and it was 47-45, Boise State.
The fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with multiple ties and lead changes. The teams exchanged three-pointers, with Lupfer and Hermida both knocking down long shots during the quarter.
Even between Oregon State missed free throws and Boise State’s s swarming defense, they couldn’t keep Oregon State off the boards. The Beavers held a +16 advantage for the game and came up with big shots when needed.
Lupfer finished with 14 points for the Broncos, 11 of which came in the second half and overtime.
Bowers, who didn’t enter the game until late in the first half, finished with 10 points and 7 rebounds.
The Broncos struggled from the field, connecting on only 31.9 percent, including a 10-30 performance from deep. Hodgins finished 1-10 from the field and Coleman and Harrell combined to go 1-12.
Aleah Goodman had 20 points off the bench for Oregon State. Mikayla Pivec also scored 20 points and her 12 rebounds were second on the team to Taya Corosdale’s 15. Corosdale also scored 15 as Oregon State’s length gave Boise State trouble inside most of the night.
Oregon State will face the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Monday. For the Boise State Broncos, the end the season with a program-record 28 wins.