Broncos will play New Mexico at 3:30 p.m. (MST) in Friday's semifinals.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -
In a game that ended late Wednesday night, Boise State won its 2012 Conoco Mountain West Basketball Championship tournament opener with an exciting 68-63 thriller over Colorado State in the Thomas & Mack Center at Las Vegas, Nev. The contest was a battle from the opening tip with neither team able to get a lead larger than seven points throughout the 40 minutes.
Lauren Lenhardt led four Broncos in double figure scoring with 18 points going seven-of-14 from the floor with one 3-pointer and three-of-three shooting from the free-throw line. The junior from Eagle, Idaho, also had a team-high seven rebounds.
Kati Isham followed with 15 points and five boards, while Kinzi Poteet and Heather Pilcher each added 12 points, in addition to six and four rebounds, respectively. Poteet also had a team and career-high four assists.
After a close first half which saw Colorado State take a 34-32 lead into the break, Boise State took advantage of CSU's foul trouble in the post positions to seize momentum early in the second period. The Ram's Sam Martin and Kelly Hartig both were whistled for their fourth fouls by the 16:30 mark of the half, sidelining the 6-2 and 6-3 post players for a large portion of the second half.
Boise State stayed close early in the second period by going to the free-throw line, courtesy of Martin and Hartig, where the Broncos went six-of-eight in the first four minutes. When the two Ram post players went to the bench with 16:30 to go, Boise State trailed 40-36.
The CSU foul trouble gave the Broncos the edge down-low and they seized their opportunity. The two teams were tied at the half with 14 points apiece in the paint, in the second half Boise State dominated the post 20-4 as Lenhardt and Poteet led the charge for the Blue and Orange combining for 16 points during the frame.
The Broncos struggled shooting early in the period has the game became physical and fouls were being called on the Rams. Boise State's first field goal in the second period was a big one when Kati Isham hit a 3-pointer followed by a mid-range jumper for a 5-0 Bronco run that gave her team the lead 43-42 with 13:05 to play.
The Rams regained the lead once more with 11:25 remaining on a pair of Meghan Heimstra free throws for a 46-45 advantage.
Julia Marshall answered for Boise State nailing a 3-pointer to give the Broncos the lead for good at the 11:09 mark. The two teams then traded shots until there was just over five minute left when the Broncos took their first seven-point, 60-53, lead on a Lenhardt jumper. The second seven point advantage, 66-59, came with 2:11 showing on the clock when Isham stole the ball then passed it up to Pilcher for two fastbreak points.
Things took a turn in favor of CSU shortly after that as LaDeyah Forte tried to rally her team from the point guard spot scoring four consecutive points on a pair of free throws and a long jumper to cut Boise State's lead to three points with 1:05 to play.
On the next possession Keiahnna Engel missed a jumper giving the Rams a chance to tie the game with a 3-pointer. As CSU drove down the court Boise State's Pilcher stole the ball from Colorado State's Kim Mestdagh then raced the other direction for another fastbreak basket with 26 seconds remaining giving the Broncos a five-point cushion which they held onto for the quarterfinal victory.
Boise State out shot Colorado State shot 45.2 percent (14-31) to 28.6 percent (8-28) from the floor in the second period and 46.2 (24-52) to 35 percent (21-60) in the game. The Broncos also out rebounded the Rams 37 to 33.
The Boise State win was the third upset of the day at the 2012 Conoco MW Basketball Championships as San Diego State was the only top seeded team to win as the No. 5, 6 and 7 seeded teams all won. Boise State improved to 15-15 on the year, while CSU ends its season at 13-17. The sixth-seeded Broncos now advance to Friday's semifinal round where they will meet the No. 7 New Mexico Lobos (10-19) who defeated the host and second-seeded UNLV Lady Rebels 61-58 Wednesday night.
Final Game Summary
No. 6 Boise State vs No. 3 Colorado State
03/07/12 8:35 PM at Las Vegas, Nev. (Thomas & Mack Center)
NO. 6 BOISE STATE 68, NO. 3 COLORADO STATE 63
NO. 6 BOISE STATE (15-15)
LENHARDT, Lauren 7-14 3-3 18; ISHAM, Kati 4-13 6-7 15; POTEET, Kinzi 5-8 2-3 12; PILCHER, Heather 4-6 2-2 12; BRADY, Nicole 1-3 2-2 4; ENGEL, Keiahnna 2-4 0-2 4; MARSHALL, Julia 1-2 0-0 3; LISTER, Cinnamon 0-1 0-0 0; LEE, Diana 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-52 15-19 68.
NO. 3 COLORADO STATE (13-17)
THOMPSON, Hayley 6-10 1-2 15; MESTDAGH, Kim 4-13 4-4 14; HEIMSTRA, Meghan 2-12 8-9 12; HARTIG, Kelly 4-8 0-0 8; FORTE, LaDeyah 1-4 4-4 6; SPOTTON, Kara 2-6 0-0 4; HUNT, Morgan 1-2 0-0 2; MARTIN, Sam 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 21-60 17-19 63.
No. 6 Boise State............. 32 36 - 68
No. 3 Colorado State.......... 34 29 - 63
3-point goals--No. 6 Boise State 5-16 (PILCHER, Heather 2-3; MARSHALL, Julia 1-2; LENHARDT, Lauren 1-4; ISHAM, Kati 1-6; LISTER, Cinnamon 0-1), No. 3 Colorado State 4-14 (THOMPSON, Hayley 2-3; MESTDAGH, Kim 2-9; FORTE, LaDeyah 0-1; MARTIN, Sam 0-1). Fouled out--No. 6 Boise State-None, No. 3 Colorado State-None. Rebounds--No. 6 Boise State 37 (LENHARDT, Lauren 7), No. 3 Colorado State 33 (THOMPSON, Hayley 10). Assists--No. 6 Boise State 13 (POTEET, Kinzi 4), No. 3 Colorado State 17 (FORTE, LaDeyah 6). Total fouls--No. 6 Boise State 15, No. 3 Colorado State 13. Technical fouls--No. 6 Boise State-None, No. 3 Colorado State-None. A-4195
2012 Conoco MW Women's Basketball Tournament Quarterfinal #4 Winner advances to Friday's semifinals vs. No. 7 New Mexico