Shaw Powers Senior Night Win
Feb. 27, 2018

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BOISE, Idaho - Tuesday night couldn't have fallen into place more perfectly for Boise State. At Taco Bell Arena, the Broncos took care of business against San Diego State, as forward Shalen Shaw finished her final regular-season contest at Taco Bell Arena with 10 points, nine rebounds, and four assists in the 64-53 win. The joy of the victory ratcheted up exponentially in the following half-hour, as the Broncos learned that they were now in control of their own destiny for at least a share of the Mountain West title, and the conference tournament's top seed, with conference leaders Wyoming and UNLV each suffering defeats.

Boise State's trip to Laramie for the regular-season finale against Wyoming, set for Friday at 6:30 p.m., gives the Broncos a clear shot at the program's first Mountain West regular-season title since joining the conference in 2011-12, and its first conference title since going back-to-back in the WAC from 2007-08.

"Wyoming, it's a different deal when you go there. You've got the elevation issues, you've got a great home crowd," said Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell. "If we are playing for a championship, it will be a great night to be a part of, and I'm glad we get the chance to do it.

"A regular season championship, it doesn't get you into the NCAA Tournament in our league, but its proof of the grind, and its proof of the work ethic, resiliency and the perseverance. Our kids have done that for the last 10 weeks, so it certainly would be awesome to be champions," Presnell added."

First things came first Tuesday, as the Broncos (19-9, 13-4 MW) needed to take care of their own business against the Aztecs. Boise State came out equal to the task, as Riley Lupfer's game-opening 3-pointer opened a 9-0 run, giving the Broncos a lead that they would hold all the way to the final buzzer. Lupfer would hit two treys and finish the quarter with 10 points en route to a game-high 16, and the Broncos would hold off an Aztec charge to end the frame with a 24-18 lead.

Shaw, playing on an emotional Senior Night, left her mark in the fourth quarter, grabbing six rebounds to go with two points, and spear-heading another suffocating Bronco defensive effort in the final frame. Staying with the theme of dominant fourth quarters over it's now six-game winning streak, Boise State, leading 49-45 going into the final 10 minutes, backed up a quarter-opening 11-0 run with a defense that held San Diego State (11-17, 5-12 MW) to just 22.2 percent (4-for-18) shooting and an 0-for-5 mark from 3-point range. The Aztecs didn't score their first points of the frame until McKynzie Fort's jumper with 5:02 to play, and managed just four points over a span of 9:17 until scoring four points against Boise State's reserves over the final 43 seconds.

"It's a game of runs, and I think we made the runs at the right time. We answered their runs and kept on grinding," Shaw said.

In between the two dominant Bronco quarters that bookended the win, Boise State had chances to put the Aztecs away but couldn't quite do it. Thanks to five points in the second quarter from Braydey Hodgins, who finished the night with 10, the Broncos led by 11 at 36-25 with 3:08 to go before halftime. But San Diego State's Baylee Vanderdoes would flex in the paint, getting to the line multiple times and going 3-for-4, while Naje Murray's steal and layup just before the buzzer capped an 8-0 Aztec run that cut the Bronco lead to three at the break.

The finish to the half didn't faze the Broncos, who slowly rebuilt their advantage over the third quarter. A'Shanti Coleman, who finished the night with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting, added four in the frame, including a layup that put the Broncos up eight at 44-36 with 5:34 to go.

The lead got to 10 over a minute later on Marta Hermida's layup, but once again, San Diego State took advantage of a Bronco cold spell, outscoring Boise State, 9-2, the rest of the quarter with Geena Gomez' desperation 3-point attempt hitting front iron and rolling in at the buzzer to bring the Aztecs to within four at 49-45 entering the fourth.

But the 11-straight points from Boise State, along with the smothering defense, helped put the game away. Ellie Woerner opened the run with a jumper on Boise State's opening possession, and Lupfer followed with her fourth trey of the game to make it 54-45. After Shaw's bucket, Coleman scored the next six Bronco points, upping the lead to 13 at 62-49 with 3:37 to go.


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