Lupfer, Coleman Lead Bronco Comeback
Jan. 10, 2018

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BOISE, Idaho - Behind the hot shooting of Riley Lupfer, who hit six 3-pointers and scored 26 points, Boise State came back from a halftime deficit to defeat Fresno State, 75-66, Wednesday at Taco Bell Arena.

Lupfer scored 19 points and went 5-for-8 from behind the arc in the second half as the Broncos (9-7, 3-2 MW) outscored the Bulldogs, 35-21, over the final 20 minutes. A'Shanti Coleman was also a factor late, scoring all nine of her points in the second half, including six on 3-of-3 shooting in the fourth quarter. The Boise State defense also clamped down on Fresno State's shooting in the second half, holding the Bulldogs (8-8, 3-2 MW) to just 26.9 percent shooting (7-for-26) after a 15-for-31 showing in the opening 20 minutes, and limiting them to just 2-for-10 from 3-point range after the Bulldogs had gone 8-for-16 in the first half.

"I crashed the boards, got a couple little bunny layups. Seeing the ball go in down low got me going. Seeing one fall, it just goes from there," Lupfer said about her second-half performance.

With Fresno State leading, 45-40, at halftime, the teams played a seesaw third quarter. After Candice White's layup put the Bulldogs up six at 54-48 with 3:13 left in the half, Boise State finished the quarter on a 9-2 run, fueled by a pair of treys from Lupfer and three points from Coleman. It was the final minute, however, that turned the tide in the Broncos' favor, as Lupfer's triple with 58 seconds to go brought Boise State to within a point at 56-55, and, after a stop on the other end, Coleman drew a foul with 4.2 seconds left and sank both free throws to give the Broncos a 57-56 edge, their first lead since 15-14 in the first quarter.

That five-point spurt to end the third quarter sparked what would become a 14-0 run that lasted nearly three minutes into the fourth. Lupfer opened the fourth with a trey, followed by another layup from Coleman, to put Boise State up 62-56 just 1:09 into the final frame. Fresno State would miss its first three field-goal attempts of the quarter, while Shalen Shaw and Coleman added buckets to stretch the Bronco lead to double digits at 66-56. The Bulldogs finally got on the board in the fourth on Maddi Utti's free throws with 7:17 to play, but the Broncos answered with five-straight points from a Lupfer triple and a Coleman jumper to go up 11 at 71-58 with 6:19 to play.

"Riley's a terrific shooter, a terrific player and an incredibly competitive kid," said Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell. "I think what I appreciated the most about this game, though, was that she didn't come out on fire, and most shooters, if they don't come out on fire, it looks like they might not have that kind of night. That doesn't faze her. The next shot's a new shot, and she's going to knock it down, so I was really pleased that she shot so well in the later stages of the game rather than letting those misses carry over."

The Bronco defense continued to get stops, going on to limit Fresno State to a 2-for-13 showing in the fourth quarter. Lupfer put the Broncos up by as many as 14 at 74-60 with her sixth 3-pointer at the 4:36 mark, and the defense forced three Fresno State misses over the final four minutes to seal the win.

"We did a great job defensively, held them to just 10 points in the fourth quarter. I'm excited for the fact that we had a lot of perseverance, and some adversity early with all the threes they made, and then we held them to 21 [in the second half] and we shot the ball well," Presnell said. "Everyone kind of came together as a team, and it was a great team win."

The win marked the second time this season that Boise State had come back for a win after trailing by double digits, as the Broncos trailed Fresno State by 10 at 38-28 with 4:24 to go in the first half. Boise State opened up an early 13-8 lead on the Bulldogs with 3:44 left in the opening frame after five-straight points from Marta Hermida before Aly Gamez, who finished the night with 16 points, hit three treys over Fresno State's 15-4 finish to the quarter.

White led the Bulldogs out to the 10-point advantage with 10 points over the opening 5:36 of the second, as she finished her night with a game-high 30. However, the Broncos would fight back, making seven-straight field goals to close the half, highlighted by five points apiece from Lupfer and Braydey Hodgins, who finished the night with 12 points and a career-high six assists.

Boise State will try to make it two in a row Saturday, traveling to Southern California to take on San Diego State at 2 p.m. MT.

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