Women's Basketball

Broncos Host UNLV In MW Home Opener

Dec. 29, 2017

Boise State (7-5, 1-0 MW) vs. UNLV (5-6, 0-0 MW)
Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017
Boise, Idaho - Taco Bell Arena

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BOISE, Idaho - Boise State (7-5, 1-0 MW) begins its Mountain West home slate Saturday, hosting UNLV (5-6, 0-0 MW) for a 1 p.m. tip at Taco Bell Arena. The Broncos will head back on the road for next Wednesday's (Jan. 3) game at New Mexico before returning to Taco Bell Arena next Saturday (Jan. 6) to host Wyoming.

Boise State opened Mountain West play 1-0 and recorded its second win in a row at Moby Arena with Thursday's 62-58 victory over Colorado State.

The trio of Shalen Shaw, Joyce Harrell, and A'Shanti Coleman combined to grab 30 rebounds as the Broncos beat the Rams 46-31 on the boards. Shaw set a career high with 17 rebounds (10 in the first half), while Harrell grabbed seven and Coleman six, including a key offensive board and putback late in the game that put the Broncos up three.

Harrell also chipped in 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while guards Ellie Woerner (13 points, 6-of-6 from the line) and Riley Lupfer (11 points, 3-of-6 from 3-point range) sank key treys in the fourth quarter as the Broncos held off the Rams.

Boise State hosts UNLV Saturday in the Mountain West home opener at Taco Bell Arena. The Rebels, after a bye during the first cycle of conference games, will be playing their first conference game.

UNLV is helmed for the 10th season by Kathy Olivier, who has guided the Rebels to .500-or-better finishes in Mountain West play in each of the past six seasons.

On the court, the Rebels, who have lost five of their last six entering Saturday, are led by the play of Brooke Johnson (15.5 ppg, 4.00 apg) and Katie Powell (13.4 ppg, 9.0 rpg).

Boise State's 62-58 victory at Colorado State Thursday night marked the Broncos' second-straight win at Moby Arena.

In fact, since the 2013-14 campaign, Boise State is the only Mountain West team to beat the Rams at home in conference play, and twice at that. The Rams, since the start of the 2013-14 conference campaign, are now 35-2 at Moby Arena, with each loss coming against the Broncos.

Boise State is also now 2-1 against the Rams in conference openers over the last four seasons.

Boise State's win at Colorado State also carried significance because the Broncos are now 3-1 against the Rams since the start of last season.

With Colorado State being the four-time defending Mountain West regular-season champion, the 3-1 mark for the Broncos since last season could signal a boost in confidence for Boise State.

Just like last year, Boise State will be hosting UNLV following an emotional road win at Colorado State. Last year, though, the Broncos fell to the Rebels, 58-55, at Taco Bell Arena.

The Broncos have lost three-straight to the Rebels entering Saturday's contest, with the last victory coming in a 75-56 decision at Taco Bell Arena on Jan. 27, 2016.

Forwards Joyce Harrell and A'Shanti Coleman stepped into larger roles following Marijke Vanderschaaf's season-ending injury on Dec. 7, and continued their strong play Thursday night in Fort Collins. The pair combined for 16 points and 13 rebounds while shooting 58.3 percent (7-for-12) in the 62-58 win.

The numbers for each players since Vanderschaaf went down in the opening moments of Dec. 7's game against Washington have been vital to Boise State's 4-2 record in those six games. Harrell, stepping into the starting lineup, is averaging 7.8 points and 5.2 rebounds while shooting 60.5 percent (23-for-38), and has twice scored in double digits (10 points against CSU Bakersfield on Dec. 20, 11 at Colorado State Thursday).

Coleman, meanwhile, is also averaging 7.8 points over that span, along with 4.7 rebounds, and is shooting 64.0 percent (16-for-25) from the field. The transfer from Arizona scored a season-high 13 points Dec. 18 against Washington State, and added 12 Dec. 21 against St. Francis (Pa.) along with six Thursday at Colorado State.

The guard trio of Riley Lupfer, Ellie Woerner, and Braydey Hodgins played a key role in helping turn Thursday's game at Colorado State in Boise State's favor. With the Broncos shooting just 26.5 percent in the first half, including a 1-for-13 mark from 3-point range, the trio upped the aggression towards the Ram defense by driving the hoop and drawing critical fouls.

The attacking play of Hodgins and Woerner helped foul out Colorado State's top-two scorers in Grace Colaivalu (26 points) and Annie Brady (seven points) during a second half in which the Broncos outscored the Rams, 38-26.

Lupfer, meanwhile, hit two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter while finishing the game 3-of-6 rom downtown and with 11 points. Woerner added a late 3-pointer to push Boise State's lead to two possessions late, finishing the game with a team-high 13 points including a 6-for-6 performance from the line.

Senior forward Shalen Shaw set a career high with 17 rebounds in Thursday's win at Colorado State, highlighting the Broncos' 46-31 rebounding edge over the Rams.

The total bested Shaw's previous best of 15, and made for her fifth double-digit rebounding effort this season.

Despite scoring six points and having her six-game double-digit scoring streak snapped, Shaw made the difference on the boards Thursday.

Boise State's win at Colorado State should also give a shot of confidence to the Broncos in crunch time, as they continually held on to a lead that never was more than four points the entire fourth quarter.

That had been an issue early in the season for Boise State, as the Broncos had held fourth-quarter leads that eventually slipped away in four of the team's five losses.

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