Women's Basketball

Broncos Cruise Into MW Semifinals

Box Score March 6, 2018

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Boise State guard Riley Lupfer's five 3-pointers set the Mountain West single-season record Tuesday, highlighting the top-seeded Broncos' 60-46 quarterfinal victory over No. 8 Air Force at the Thomas and Mack Center.

"I couldn't do it without [my teammates]. Three of my threes, Shay [Shaw] got me open. That's the reason I made them," Lupfer said about her performance. "Every three I make is mostly an assist. Obviously I couldn't do it without them, they're penetrating, driving, sucking my girl in. It's a team effort no matter who scores."

Lupfer finished with a game-high 19 points, also going 4-for-4 from the line, and scored five of Boise State's nine second half-opening points in the game-changing run which put the Broncos (21-9) up 16. Entering the game with 108 3-pointers made this season, Lupfer hit the record-setter at the 7:10 mark of the third quarter, passing the previous mark of 110 set by Utah's Iwalani Rodrigues in 2010-11.

Fellow guard Braydey Hodgins kickstarted Boise State's initial separation from Air Force (6-25), scoring five-straight points, beginning with an And-1 with 4:17 left in the first half and the Broncos holding a 19-17 lead. Another driving layup from Hodgins on the next possession gave Boise State breathing room at 24-17, and the Broncos went on to end the half with a 10-4 run to take a 29-22 lead at the break.

The burst from Hodgins, who finished with 11 points, woke up the Bronco offense from its slow start. Boise State went just 4-for-13 from the field in the opening quarter, holding a slim 11-10 lead over the Falcons, and missed its first three attempts of the second quarter before finding consistency, eventually going 11-for-19 in the second half.

"I thought they had an emotional victory, shoot 82 percent in the first quarter yesterday. I thought if we could just weather the first quarter, at some point fatigue would have to catch up," said Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell. "I didn't think they'd shoot 82 percent against our defense. As it turned out, the second and third quarters, I thought we created some separation, got a lead, then kept it. We feel good about going into the next round."

Lupfer and Hodgins split Boise State's first four points of the second half, followed by Lupfer's record-setting 3-pointer, which made it 36-22 Broncos. After a Marta Hermida layup pushed the Bronco lead to 16, Air Force finally got on the board on a pair of free throws from Kaelin Immel, who finished the game 10-for-10 from the line and led the Falcons with 17 points.

Fortunately for Boise State, its defense continued the suffocating play which has been a hallmark of the Broncos' current eight-game winning streak. The defense held Air Force to opponent season lows for field goals (13) and field-goal percentage (24.1) as the Falcons went just 13-for-54 from the field. Boise State doubled down on its offense waking up in the third quarter by holding Air Force to just one field goal in 16 attempts during the frame, as the Falcons went 7-for-40 over the first three quarters before going 6-for-14 in the final frame.

Hermida, who finished the game with 15 points and six rebounds, scored four of Boise State's first six points in the final frame as the Broncos opened up a 20-point lead at 48-28 with 7:23 to play. Air Force got as close as 13 at 50-37 before Lupfer sandwiched an Immel layup with a couple of 3-pointers to get the Bronco lead to 56-39 with 3:47 to go.

Boise State, two wins away from its third NCAA Tournament appearance in four seasons, takes on fifth-seeded Colorado State in Wednesday's first semifinal at 7:30 p.m. MT. The Rams defeated No. 4 Fresno State, 71-55, in Tuesday's second quarterfinal contest.

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