Big Game Braydey Leads Rout Of Rams
March 7, 2018

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LAS VEGAS - Big Game Braydey did it again. After leading Boise State to victory, and the Mountain West regular season title with a career night of 24 points five days ago at Wyoming, sophomore guard Braydey Hodgins topped herself, going for 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting in Wednesday night's 76-51 semifinal rout of Colorado State to put the Broncos into the Mountain West title game for the second-straight year.

The Broncos (22-9) will play for their third NCAA Tournament appearance in four years Friday at 1 p.m. MT, taking on seventh-seeded Nevada (17-15). The Wolf Pack defeated No. 3 Wyoming, 67-63, in Wednesday's late semifinal to earn a title-game date with the Broncos.

Hodgins scored 21 of her 25 points over the second and third quarters, as Boise State outscored Colorado State, 48-26, to blow the game open. Overall, Hodgins finished the game 8-for-11 from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point range, while going 6-for-7 from the line. She also passed out a game-high five assists.

"I think confidence and just staying aggressive, which is what I've been doing my whole life, and I lost that when I got here," Hodgins said when asked about her performances over the past few games. "Trying to feel it out. And I went with two feet in and able to get a little boost for our team."

"I'm really proud of our guard line. Braydey got it going and really had an outstanding game. She put pressure on them in the full court offensively," said Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell.

The Broncos (22-9) opened the game 3-for-16 through the first quarter, but its defense picked up the slack, limiting Colorado State to just 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting. The defensive effort, along with six points from Marta Hermida, kept the Broncos within four at 12-8, costing the Rams a chance to put Boise State into an early hole.

The Rams (20-11) got its lead to seven, the largest it would be the rest of the way, on Hannah Tvrdy's second quarter-opening 3-pointer. But it was then that the dormant Bronco offense came alive, beginning with a jumper from Hermida and a layup from A'Shanti Coleman within 47 seconds that brought the Broncos within three. Tvrdy would get the Ram lead back to five at 17-12 with 7:45 to play, but from there, the Broncos would close the half on a 23-8 run fueled by 11 points from Hodgins.

The Pasco, Wash., native opened by hitting a free throw with 6:32 to go in the half, and following up with a 3-pointer to bring the Broncos to within 17-16. Following another jumper from Hodgins that answered a layup from Grace Colaivalu, freshman Tess Amundsen drove hard and finished to give Boise State its first lead, 20-19, with 4:20 on the clock.

After Colaivalu's free throw knotted things up at 20-20, Hodgins would then have a hand in the next 10 Bronco points, beginning with a driving layup with 3:53 left in the half that gave Boise State a lead it would never relinquish. She then assisted on Amundsen's And-1 layup and Shalen Shaw's bucket, and closed with another trey that stretched the Bronco lead to 10 at 30-20 at the 2:32 mark. After the Rams got back to within five on a pair of buckets from Tvrdy, who led the Rams with XX points on the night, Riley Lupfer hit a triple, and Shaw knocked down a turnaround at the buzzer to get the Bronco lead back to 10 at 35-25 at the break.

Although Colorado State held Bronco leading scorer Riley Lupfer to 12 points in the contest, Hodgins, Hermida (14 points), and Amundsen (nine) combined for 48 while shooting a collective 64.3 percent (18-for-28) from the floor. Shaw, who added six points, controlled the boards with a game-high 13 rebounds, while Hermida pulled down nine as the Broncos won the battle on the glass, 37-31.

"It opens up a lot for us, and teams have realized they can't key on Riley any more. She's a great player and she deserves the respect teams and defenses give her, but we have other weapons that were just waiting to come out," Hodgins said of the Broncos' versatility.

Colorado State got as close as six with 7:47 to go in the third quarter, but the Broncos once again used a big run to crush any hopes of a comeback. Hodgins scored seven points, capped by a three-point play with 4:32 left in the frame, to lead a 13-2 Bronco run that made it 48-32. Hodgins then capped the quarter with the dagger that all but ended any Ram hopes, draining a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer to give Boise State a 56-38 lead.

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