Women's Basketball

Broncos Open MW Tournament vs. Air Force

March 5, 2018

2018 Mountain West Tournament - Quarterfinal
No. 1 Boise State (20-9) vs. No. 8 Air Force (6-24)
Tuesday, March 5, 2018
Las Vegas, Nev. - Thomas and Mack Center

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LAS VEGAS - Boise State (20-9), the No. 1 seed at the Mountain West Tournament, begins action at the event Tuesday against No. 8 Air Force (6-24) at 1 p.m. MT. A victory for the Broncos Tuesday would advance them to Wednesday night's semifinals, where Boise State would take on the winner of Tuesday's Fresno State-Colorado State matchup.

Boise State clinched its first Mountain West regular-season title, and the No. 1 seed at the Mountain West Tournament, with a 67-63 come-from-behind victory at Wyoming last Friday. The victory stretched Boise State's season-best winning streak to seven.

Sophomore guard Braydey Hodgins had a career night, scoring a personal best 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting, and matching her career best with seven rebounds. Hodgins scored nine of her points on a trio of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, helping the Broncos overcome an eight-point deficit to finish the contest on a 17-5 run.

The Broncos' fourth-quarter defense was nails yet again, holding Wyoming to just 2-for-11 from the floor, and 0-for-3 from deep, ove the game's final 6:49.

Tuesday's matchup with Air Force will be the first time that the two programs have met at the Mountain West Tournament.

Boise State will open Mountain West Tournament play in Las Vegas Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m. MT, taking on No. 8 Air Force. The Falcons, behind a scorching-hot first quarter in which they shot 83.3 percent (10-for-12), defeated No. 9 Utah State, 68-54, in Monday's first-round opener.

Air Force has been one of the hottest teams in the conference, winning four of its last five games heading into Tuesday's quarterfinal. Mountain West Freshman of the Year Kaelin Immel leads the Falcons with 14.9 ppg with fellow Mountain West All-Freshman Team selection Emily Conroe adding 11.4 ppg.

Boise State is 14-1 all-time against the Falcons, and has won each of the last nine meetings. The Broncos swept this season's series, defeating Air Force, 49-46 in Boise on Jan. 27, and 58-47 at the academy on Feb. 17.

Boise State will go for its second-straight Mountain West Tournament title, and third in four seasons, as it begins play in Las Vegas Tuesday.

The Broncos will also attempt to become just the third Mountain West program to win consecutive tournaments, with a chance to join Fresno State (2013-14) and New Mexico (2003-05, 2007-08).

Boise State enters this week's Mountain West Tournament with an all-time record of 7-4, and two titles at the event.

The Broncos have been feast or famine at the event since its first appearance in 2012, with six of the seven wins coming in 2015 and 2017's title runs, and three one-and-dones (2013-14, 2016).

A look at the Mountain West history since the inaugural conference tournament in 2000 could make one think that Boise State, as the No. 1 seed, have history against them. In 18 previous Mountain West Tournaments, the top seed has gone on to capture the title just seven times.

Colorado State (2016) is the only No. 1 seed to hold serve over the last five tournaments (2013-17). Boise State captured each of its Mountain West Tournament titles (2015, 2017) at the No. 4 seed.

Boise State made program history last Friday in Laramie, winning its first Mountain West regular-season title since joining the conference in 2011-12 with the 67-63 victory over Wyoming.

It was also the fifth regular-season conference title in program history, being added to Boise State's two Big Sky titles (1991-92 and 1993-94) and two WAC crowns (2007-08).

Boise State guards Riley Lupfer and Marta Hermida were both named to the All-Mountain West Team Monday, marking the first such honor in each player's respective career.

Both Lupfer (2017) and Hermida (2016) had previously been named to the conference's all-freshman team, with Hermida being named Freshman of the Year two seasons ago.

Lupfer posted a record-breaking season in 2017-18, setting the Mountain West's single-season record for 3-pointers made in conference play with 79, far outpacing the old record of 57. Over the 18-game Mountain West campaign, Lupfer led the loop in 3-pointers made (her tally outdistanced the next-closest player by 36) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.500), finished second in scoring (18.9 ppg), and eighth in field-goal percentage (50.9). This season she was named Mountain West Player of the Week a conference-best three times (Jan. 2, Jan. 15, Feb. 19), and was recognized nationally with inclusion on the NCAA.com Starting Five for the week of Jan. 8-14.

Along with her free-throw percentage of 97.2 percent, the sophomore from Spokane, Wash., posted the vaunted "50/50/90" campaign, posting shooting percentages of at least 50.0 percent from the floor and 3-point range, and at least 90.0 percent from the line. She is the only Mountain West player with at least 200 field-goal attempts to post a shooting percentage of at least 50.0.

Additionally, Lupfer posted eight 20-point games during conference play, and failed to score in double digits just once out of 18 contests. Four times she hit seven 3-pointers in a single game, and Lupfer's figure of accounting for 27.5 percent of Boise State's total points per game (18.9 of 68.8 ppg) ranked third in the conference behind only Fresno State's Candice White (29.0 percent) and Air Force's Immel (28.9 percent).

For all games, Lupfer ranks 11th in the country in 3-pointers made with 108, and eighth in 3-point field-goal percentage (46.0). Her 108 3-pointers are a Boise State single-season record, and she is just three away from eclipsing the single-season Mountain West record of 110, set by Utah's Iwalani Rodrigues in 2010-11. Lupfer leads the Broncos with 16.3 points per game, shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 93.6 from the line.

Hermida enjoyed her finest season in a Boise State uniform in 2017-18, averaging career bests in scoring (10.6 ppg), rebounding (5.4 rpg), and assists (4.93 apg). Over the 18-game conference season, Hermida ranked third in the Mountain West with 4.61 assists per game, and 18th in scoring at 10.6 points per game.

Coming off of a summer in which she earned a FIBA U20 Women's European Championship gold medal for Spain, Hermida took on a vital leadership role for the Broncos this season, handling point-guard duties for the first month of the season while Braydey Hodgins recovered from a preseason injury. She continued to play in the point-guard role part-time after Hodgins' return, crossing over from her usual role as a second shooting guard, alongside Lupfer. Her versatility was a boon to the Boise State offense, as Hermida scored in double figures nine times in conference play, and dished out at least five assists on seven occasions, highlighted by a a program single-game record 14 on Jan. 24 at San Jose State.

Hermida was named Mountain West Player of the Week for the first time in her career on Feb. 12, after she averaged 23.5 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 57.7 percent over wins against New Mexico (Feb. 7) and Utah State (Feb. 10). Her performance that week set up the wins that opened Boise State's current seven-game winning streak.

Key to Boise State's performance in Mountain West play this season was its success on the road, as the Broncos posted a 7-2 mark in such contests.

Boise State's nine true away wins this season (seven in conference, in addition to a 2-0 mark in non-conference), is the program's highest since winning 10 true road games in 2006-07. Boise State's 7-2 road record in Mountain West play this season was the conference's best, and the seven away wins matched the program record for most in conference play (1991-92, Big Sky).

Bronco guard Riley Lupfer enters the Mountain West Tournament with 108 3-pointers made, just three back of eclipsing the single-season Mountain West record of 110 held by Utah's Iwalani Rodrigues (2010-11).

Lupfer is going for a trifecta of records, of sorts, as this season she has already eclipsed the Boise State 3-pointer record (previously 81) and the Mountain West mark for most in conference play (formerly 57).

Boise State's current seven-game winning streak has come about mainly due to the Broncos' excellent fourth-quarter defensive work.

Over the fourth quarters of the last seven games, Bronco opponents are shooting just 29.9 percent (32-for-107) from the field, and 13.8 percent (4-for-29) from 3-point range. In fact, Bronco opponents have missed their last 21 fourth-quarter 3-point attempts, dating back to Utah State missing their final try back on Feb. 10.

The numbers get even better in the final five minutes of the last seven games, during which Bronco opponents are shooting just 19.5 percent (8-for-41) from the field, and are 0-for-15 from 3-point range.

This week's Mountain West Tournament could put senior forward Shalen Shaw in rarified air in the Boise State history books. Should the Broncos win the tournament and clinch an NCAA Tournament bid, it would make Shaw the only player in program history to win three conference tournament titles and play in three NCAA Tournaments.

Shaw, a native of Reno, Nev., has been a vital piece of Boise State's success over the past foour seasons. She is the only player in Bronco history with 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, and 200 assists, and, in the program record books, currently ranks 13th in scoring (1,157 points), 10th in field goals made (458), third in rebounds (864), seventh in blocks (80), and 11th in assists (267).

Sophomore guard Braydey Hodgins was named Mountain West Player of the Week for the first time in her career Sunday (March 4) after putting up a career week over Boise State's wins against San Diego State and Wyoming.

In last Friday's regular-season finale at Wyoming, with the Mountain West title and tournament No. 1 seed on the line, Hodgins went 9-for-18 from the field with career highs of 24 points and seven rebounds, scoring nine points over the final 6:49 to help the Broncos overcome an eight-point deficit and capture the 67-63 victory.

It's been an interesting season for Hodgins, who missed the first four games of the season after breaking a bone in her hand during the preseason. She returned Nov. 30, coming off the bench for 11 games before breaking into the starting lineup and starting the final 14 games of the season. On the year, Hodgins is averaging 7.3 points and 3.16 assists per game, while shooting 35.3 percent from behind the arc.

Over the last three games, Hodgins has pressed the action, averaging 16.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and going 7-for-18 from deep.

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