Box Score Dec. 18, 2017
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BOISE, Idaho - After shooting at least 50 percent in each of its last two games, Boise State's touch left it Monday, as the Broncos shot just 30.8 percent from the field in a 61-53 loss to Washington State at Taco Bell Arena.
Boise State (5-4) went on a 7-0 run, capped by Riley Lupfer's corner 3, to take a 52-51 lead with 3:34 to play, but went 0-for-6 the rest of the way. Washington State got layups from Maria Kostourkova and Borislava Hristova on its next two possessions to retake the lead at 55-52, and the Cougars (6-5) went 6-for-6 from the line over the final 20 seconds to cap a 10-1, game-ending run.
"Some of it can be attributed to their defense, we did have a lead in the fourth quarter. Then we went three possessions without producing anything, I should have called timeout so we could regroup," said Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell. "I like our effort, but we can't win the game shooting the ball, or executing like that."
It was a frustrating night for the Bronco offense, especially considering that the defense held the Cougars to 32.3 percent from the field and to just 14.3 percent (2-for-14) from 3-point range. Even with the Cougars out-rebounding the Broncos, 50-47, the Boise State defense limited Washington State to just 12 second-chance points. But free throws helped make the difference in the contest, as the Cougars finished the game 17-of-22 from the line while the Broncos were a season-low 57.9 percent, hitting just 11-of-19 attempts.
"We defended them really well, they only shot 32 percent, but we can't win any games going 2-19 from the three-point line. They are a good team, but I thought we had a chance to win," Presnell said.
Multiple-minute field-goal droughts affected the Broncos, preventing them from finding a rhythm. Even with the defense forcing the Cougars into an 0-for-10 start to the contest, and a first quarter in which they went just 2-for-16, the Bronco offense couldn't capitalize, going 1-for-5 with two turnovers over the final 3:30 of the frame. That drought allowed the Cougars to recover from a 12-5 deficit and get to within four by the end of the opening 10 minutes.
"I think we were kind of in our heads, and not letting them fly like we usually do, and believing it was going to go in. We were definitely hesitant to shoot," said Bronco forward Shalen Shaw.
Foul trouble caused problems for the Broncos in the second quarter, as four starters, Lupfer, Shaw, Marta Hermida, and Joyce Harrell, each picked up their second fouls early on, forcing Boise State to rely on its second unit for the final 5:54 of the half. Shaw, who scored Boise State's first four points of the game, sat the final 9:08 of the half, while Lupfer and Harrell each sat over the final seven minutes, and Hermida came out for the final 5:54. Washington State took advantage of the situation, turning a 19-16 deficit with 6:47 to go in the half into a 6-0 run over a span of 2:43. Alexys Swedlund would lead the Cougars with six points over the final 6:47 of the half as Washington State built a 30-24 lead at the break.
Washington State stretched its lead to as many as eight early in the third quarter, as Hristova's jumper put the Cougars up 34-26 two minutes into the half. But Boise State chipped away, going on a 10-2 run fueled by Shaw, who hit a 3-pointer to bring the Broncos within one at 36-35, then finished a three-point play the next time down to give the Broncos a 38-36 lead with 5:25 to go in the frame. Shaw would finish the game with 13 points and four rebounds before fouling out with 14 seconds to play.
That would be the first of two times that Boise State took a lead in the second half, but the offense could not sustain the points. The Cougars went back up 42-40 on Nike McClure's jumper with 4:11 left in the frame, and after three-straight points from A'Shanti Coleman, who posted career highs of 13 points and eight rebounds, got the Broncos back in front at 43-42, Boise State went scoreless for the final 3:16 as Washington State got a 3-pointer from Pinelopi Pavlopoulou and a free throw from Hristova to retake the lead at 46-43.
Hristova led Washington State with 13 points in the contest, while Brown, who hit four free throws in the final seconds to help ice the win, posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.