BOISE, Idaho (1/6/2016) - Boise State battled back from five points down with 29 seconds remaining in regulation to tie it on three Brooke Pahukoa free throws in the final seconds to force overtime. Shalen Shaw then scored eight of Boise State's 11 points in the extra period to hand the Broncos an exciting 84-78 come from behind overtime victory against Utah State Wednesday night in a Mountain West Conference women's basketball game at Taco Bell Arena.
"We have had a lot of close games this year and we have not always come out on the top of those games," said head coach Gordy Presnell. "I am just so proud of our team, the resiliency and the ability to comeback when down. Shay (Shaw) and Brooke (Pahukoa) had bigs games, and with Brooke hitting those three free throws (at the end of regulation to send it to overtime). Oh my goodness, we didn't need two, we needed all three and she hit all three of them."
The win improves Boise State to 8-5 overall and 1-1 in league play. Next up, the Broncos travel to Fresno State for a 3 p.m. (Mountain) tip Saturday afternoon in the Save Mart Center.
Since conference play began last Saturday, Brooke Pahukoa as been the main focus of opponents' defensive efforts. She went three complete halves without recording a field goal before snapping the drought with a jumper at the 9:36 mark of the third period Wednesday night against the Aggies. That ignited the Broncos' leading scorer as she lit up Utah State for 20 second half points. On the night, the junior from Lake Stevens, Wash., went 6-of-14 from the floor, 3-of-7 from 3-point range and a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe which included the three game-tying free throws with 8.7 seconds left in regulation to tie the score and force overtime.
"We all came out at halftime and said that we shouldn't lose this game," said Brooke Pahukoa. "The other close games that we have lost were really competitive games against good teams and Utah State is a good team, but we know our potential and knew we should win this game. After the second quarter we were really down and we said we cannot lose this, there is no other option. We play basketball because we love it and losing is not fun. We just needed to have fun and relax."
Shaw has been a huge force for Boise State all season, tonight was no different as she recorded her third-consecutive double-double on 19 points and career-high 15 rebounds. The sophomore forward went 10-of-13 from the free-throw line in the game including 6-of-8 in overtime. She also added two assists, career-high four blocks and one steal in 39 minutes of action.
"I have been attacking the boards more and not settling for just any shot and took it to the rim," Shaw said.
Freshman Marta Hermida added a career-high 16 points powered by 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc, in addition to six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
"I thought Marta played well to night. For the first time she shot the ball well from three point range," commented Presnell. "She has struggled lately, but she is just a freshman and is going to make freshman mistakes. Overall I thought she really stepped up and hit some crucial shots. She is a great athlete and we are really fortunate to have her here."
Yaiza Rodriguez Ortego shot 50 percent from the floor going 5-of-10 with two treys on her way to 15 points and a team-high four assists.
Marijke Vanderschaaf played 25 minutes recording four points, a team-second-best seven rebounds, one block and one steal. She was forced to play most of the fourth period and overtime after Miquelle Askew fouled out with just over five minutes to play in the fourth period. Askew finished with six points, three rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes.
Utah State scored the first basket of game on a trey from the left corner, Boise State responded with a 7-0 run with Askew scoring the first four points and Rodriguez hitting a trey from the right wing.
Up 7-5 with 5:34 to go in the first period, Boise State rolled off a 9-0 run ─ five points from Shaw ─ to make it a 16-2 streak overall taking a 16-5 lead by the 1:45 mark. Shaw hit a 3-pointer from the high right at the buzzer ending the first quarter with eight points and the Broncos up 21-9.
Utah State rallied in the second quarter dominating the glass 11-to-4 and outscoring the Broncos 25-11 which included a 7-0 run to close the period. The Aggies' Funda Nakkasoglu scored on a layup with six seconds left before half to give USU a 34-32 lead at the break.
The third period saw Brooke Pahukoa make her first field goal in three halves (60 minutes) at 9:34 to tie the game at 34 all. Utah State then took an Aggie game-high six-point lead at 7:35 in third quarter up 42-36 and again at 44-38 with 7:00 to go.
Down six 44-38, Boise State went on an 8-0 run, powered by back-to-back 3-pointers by Brooke Pahukoa and Hermida, to take 46-44 lead at 1:42 in the third. The Aggies eventually took a one-point 49-48 advantage into the final quarter.
The fourth opened with back-to-back treys by Hermida and Brooke Pahukoa to give Boise State a 54-49 lead one minute in.
Boise State maintained the lead until USU tied it at 57 with 5:59 to play. The Broncos regained the lead briefly going up 60-57 on a Brooke Pahukoa 3-pointer with 5:43 on the clock.
Utah State came back with a 8-0 run tying the score at 60, then taking a 65-60 advantage with 3:05 remaining in regulation. The Aggies kept the Broncos at bay until the final seconds of regulation.
Trailing by five at 72-67 with 29 seconds on the clock, Boise State rallied. Rodriguez nailed her second 3-pointer of the night from the top of the arc to cut the deficit to 72-70 with 22 seconds left.
Next, Boise State's Hermida was called for foul that sent Utah State's Julianne Anchling to the free-throw line where she made 1-of-2 with 18 seconds to go.
Boise State advanced the ball up the floor needing three points to force overtime. Brooke Pahukoa received the ball on the high right wing where she attempted a 3-pointer with 8.7 seconds remaining. The shot was no good but she was fouled on the attempt by USU's Victoria Price sending the 84 percent career free-throw shooter to the line for three. Pahukoa stepped to the line and calmly hit all three to tie the score at 73.
Utah State attempted to win the game on a 3-pointer from the left corner by Rachel Brewster but the shot fell well short sending the game to overtime.
Boise State won its first overtime game of the season outscoring Utah State 11-to-5 in the extra period. The Broncos made one field goal ─ by Shaw ─ and put the game away at the free-throw line where the Broncos went 9-of-12, Shaw was 6-of-8, Rodriguez went 1-of-2, while Brooke Pahukoa went 2-for-2. Pahukoa has now made 19-consecutive free throws going back to the Eastern Washington game on Dec. 21.
"I thought we would win if we could get the game into overtime," Presnell said. "Just the way that Brooke (Pahukoa) stepped up. I have said from the beginning that she has competitive greatness. When you have to have it, she can do it and she has proven it her whole career. The thing that I was most proud of about our team was not giving up and fighting through."
Boise State finished the night shooting 43.5 percent (27-62) from the floor, 40 percent (10-25) from beyond the arc and 83.3 percent (20-24) from the free-throw line. The Broncos trailed in rebounding 20-to-12 and 9-to-2 in o-boards at halftime, they finished the night out rebounding the Aggies 43-to-42 and held a slim 15-to-14 edge in second chance points.
Utah State controlled the paint out scoring the Broncos 32-to-22 while shooting 39.7 percent (29-73) from the floor, 33.3 percent (9-27) from 3-point range and 64.7 percent (11-of-17) from the free-throw line. The Aggies also had a 19-to-9 advantage in points off turnovers as the Broncos gave it away 19 times to USU's 16.
Nakkasoglu scored at her league leading pace of 21 points per game tallying 22 against Boise State on 7-of-20 shooting from the floor with nine assists. Julianne Anchling followed with 18 points, Tijana Djukic had 14 points and team-high 12 rebounds, while Katie Toole chipped in with 10 points.