The Boise State Broncos women’s basketball team will be searching for their fourth Mountain West Conference tournament title in the past five years.
Entering the 2018-19 season, the Boise State Broncos women’s team had some pretty heady expectations to live up to. Returning most of its roster — plus some nice additions — had plenty of fans and the team excited for a special season.
So far so good.
The number-one seed Broncos (25-4) open the conference tournament at 1 pm MT in a quarterfinal game against the 8th-seeded Nevada Wolf Pack. Nevada defeated the San Jose State Spartans 78-68 in a first-round matchup on Sunday afternoon.
As witnessed throughout the season, Boise State can beat teams in a variety of ways. The Broncos can rely on sharpshooters Riley Lupfer, Braydey Hodgins, and Marta Hermida, who have combined to make 163 three-pointers. Or, led by point guard Jayde Christopher (5.5 apg) feeding the rock to A’Shanti Coleman (10.1 ppg), Joyce Harrell, or freshman Rachel Bowers (6.3 ppg), the Broncos can dominate the paint.
Boise State can play up-tempo or, as seen in a victory over UNLV, use a gritty defensive effort to stifle opponents.
Another asset is the deep bench of the Broncos. Lupfer has been coming off the bench since her return from injury. Bowers, Tess Amundsen, and Ellie Woerner are also key contributors off the bench, doing multiple things well on both ends of the court.
A hard-fought victory over New Mexico last week secured the number one overall seed for the Broncos. Teams will be looking to end the Broncos stranglehold on the Mountain West. For the Broncos, getting back to the NCAA tournament and securing that elusive victory is the goal. Step one of the postseason process starts Monday.
Mountain West all-conference teams announced
All-conference teams, as selected by the Mountain West coaches, were announced on Sunday afternoon. The Mountain West All-Conference selections saw two Broncos honored and head coach Gordy Presnell was named Coach of the Year.
Presnell guided the Broncos to their third-straight 20-win season and a school-record 16 conference victories. The 25 wins overall are tied for most in program history, a record set under Presnell in 2016-2017.
Lupfer and Hodgins were both named to the all-conference Mountain West team. Lupfer, who missed four games this season, struggled at times with her shot. Facing more double teams, however, led to some of her numbers going down and she was still the second-leading scorer on the team (11.2 ppg) Lupfer knocked down 57 threes, shooting 32.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Hodgins was consistent throughout the season, picking up the slack during Lupfer’s absence. Hodgins ripped off six straight games of scoring 20 points or more in six straight games, including a career-high 28 in a victory at UNLV.
She is Boise State’s leading scorer (12.4 ppg) and also led the team in threes, with 62. Hodgins also has 41 steals, second only to Coleman’s 47.
Nevada Wolf Pack
Boise State defeated Nevada (12-18) in both of their matchups in 2018-19. The Broncos escaped with a victory in Reno, winning 75-74 and won handily in Boise, 80-65.
These two teams also met up in last year’s conference tournament title game, with the Broncos eking out a victory in that game as well.
Scoring was balanced for Boise State across both games. Coleman averaged 15.5 points and Lupfer 12 as 7 different players reached double figures across the two games. Boise State also held a +20 rebounding advantage.
Nevada is led by senior guard Jade Redmond. Redmond averages 14.7 ppg and scored 16 and 20 against the Broncos this season. Boise State held her to 31 percent shooting from the field.
Terae Briggs had 17 points and 9 rebounds in the first game against the Broncos but battled foul trouble and had only 8 points and 2 boards the second time around.
Emma Torbert averaged 7.5 rebounds against the Broncos and had 15 points in Nevada’s win over San Jose State on Sunday.
If the Broncos win, they will advance to a semifinal game to face the winner of UNLV and Fresno State. That game is Tuesday night at 7 pm MT.