Box Score Jan. 13, 2018
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SAN DIEGO - Maybe it was their recent form. Or maybe it was the 80-degree day in San Diego that heated up Boise State's shooting hands Saturday as the Broncos, led by Riley Lupfer's career high-matching 28 points and seven 3-pointers, shot 54.8 percent in the second half to overcome a seven-point halftime deficit and beat San Diego State, 86-70.
Lupfer went 7-for-12 from 3-point range for the game and scored 25 of her 28 points in the second half as Boise State outscored the Aztecs, 50-27. It was Lupfer's fourth 20-point game over the last five for the Broncos (10-7, 4-2 MW), who stayed just a game back of the Mountain West pace with the victory. Fellow sophomore guard Braydey Hodgins played well in the point-guard role in her second start of the season, passing out a career-high 10 assists while scoring four points with five rebounds.
"I think we're a little more competitive than we've been this year, and right now we're finally in a little bit of a rhythm," said Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell. "I know we fear that Wyoming effort, we didn't play well and had only 17 baskets the whole game, so I think we fear that a bit and we competed really well [today]. I thought Shay was outstanding, Ellie was outstanding, and Tess was outstanding, and Riley was something else. Braydey handled a lot of pressure today, so it was a good effort with Marta being sick she got a lot done. It was a great effort for our team, and we've won two in a row now with great second-half efforts."
Boise State did well to overcome a sloppy ending to the first half. Leading 36-34 with 1:48 left, the Broncos missed their final two shots and committed two turnovers, while San Diego State took advantage and scored nine-straight points to take a 43-36 lead. The run was compounded in the final three seconds, as, after McKynzie Fort hit a jumper to put the Aztecs in front, 41-36, Geena Gomez, who scored 14 points to lead the Aztecs Saturday, stole the ensuing inbounds pass and just beat the buzzer with a scoop shot from the baseline to send San Diego State into the locker room with momentum.
But, just as in Wednesday's victory over Fresno State, in which they also faced a seven-point deficit at the break,the Broncos came out firing to start the second half. Three-pointers from Lupfer book-ended an 11-0 half-opening run, which also included a three-point play from Shalen Shaw that gave the Broncos the lead, that shell-shocked the Aztecs, who found themselves on the wrong end of a 47-43 score with just 3:12 gone in the third quarter. Even after Te'a Adams hit a jumper out of a San Diego State timeout to cut it to two, the Broncos had answers, as Lupfer and Tess Amundsen, who scored a career-high 19 points in the contest, hit treys to keep the Broncos in front.
The Broncos went on to hit their first five 3-point attempts of the half, with Lupfer accounting for four, as the lead got to as many as eight at 59-51 with 3:10 remaining in the quarter. Boise State cooled off over the final three minutes, however, and the Aztecs got four points from Fort, who finished with 13, and a pair of free throws from Baylee Vanderdoes to make it a three-point game, 60-57, heading into the fourth quarter.
The Aztecs got to within a point at 62-61 with 8:48 to play, but the Broncos got hot once again and sprinted away, finishing the game on a 24-9 run. Lupfer started it with another trey, and after a pair of free throws from San Diego State's Cheyenne Greenhouse, Shaw and Lupfer hit back-to-back triples to get the Bronco lead up to eight again at 71-63.
"We're each doing our part. Shay's posting up, Braydey's getting to the hole, Marta's getting to the hole, so you have to pick your poison. Are you gonna let us get layups or are you going to guard us on the perimeter," Lupfer said.
Gomez hit a free throw with 6:47 to go, and the Broncos answered that with eight-straight points, with Lupfer, Hodgins, and Shaw each scoring inside to make it 79-64. The margin never got under double digits the rest of the way as Shaw scored four more points the rest of the way to cap a nine-point quarter as she finished the game with 16 points on 7-for-9 shooting.
"I don't know if we made a whole lot of adjustments. I think what we did better than anything was we regrouped after the last disastrous two minutes of the half, and I think everyone felt bad about the way we finished that half," Presnell said.
The first half was tight between the teams until San Diego State's burst in the final 1:48. Boise State fought back from a six-point hole early in the second quarter to knot things up at 28-28 on an Amundsen trey 6:41 before the break. Joyce Harrell made two-straight baskets to get the Broncos in front at 34-32 with 4:53 to go in the half, before Marta Hermida hit a jumper three minutes later to give Boise State its last lead of the half at 36-34.
Amundsen helped keep the Bronco offense afloat in the opening half, scoring 12 of her 19 points and hitting a pair of 3-pointers during the opening 20 minutes.
Boise State heads back out on the road this coming week, traveling to Logan to face Utah State Wednesday night.