March 8, 2017
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Freshman Riley Lupfer scored 15 of her game-high 17 points in the fourth period to lead Boise State to a 65-61 victory over Colorado State in Wednesday night's Mountain West semifinals at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The Broncos advance into Friday's MW title game for the second time in three years when they face the No. 7 seeded Fresno State Bulldogs at 1 p.m. (Mountain). The Broncos swept the Bulldogs during the regular season.
With Boise State trailing 40-37 entering the final quarter, Lupfer led the charge hitting a 3-pointer 26 seconds into the period to spark the Broncos.
By the time the last quarter ended Boise State had out scored CSU 28-to-21 with Lupfer scoring 15, followed by Brooke Pahukoa with seven and six from Yaiza Rodriguez as the trio combined for all 28 Broncos points.
"I thought it was a great game between two teams that are pretty evenly matched," said coach Gordy Presnell. "They've had great games for the last two or three years. And most of the time Colorado State has come out on top in real close games. We split this year. And then this one we thought it would be close, and we didn't play probably as well as we'd have liked in the first half. But the second half I thought we played much more aggressively."
Lupfer scored 17 points powered by three fourth quarter treys. She went 6-of-6 from the floor and 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
"I think he's (Presnell) got some really good players, too," said Colorado State head coach Ryun Williams. "And like that Lupfer kid, we got Lupfer'd in that fourth quarter. She was outstanding. We tip our hat to Boise. They beat us tonight."
Rodriguez finished with 14 points including a clutch 3-pointer with 1:01 to play that put Boise State up for good at 63-60. The senior added three rebounds, team-best five assists and two steals.
Brooke Pahukoa was held to 11 points to go with two rebounds and three assists. She hit a 3-pointer with 1:35 left to tie the game at 60. She then put the game away on a layup with 18 seconds remaining to spot the Broncos the final 65-61 winning tally.
The game was tight throughout as was expected by the coaching staff entering the contest. Boise State trailed by four (27-23) at the half in a game that saw 12 ties and eight lead changes during the 40 minutes.
Boise State's largest lead was four points on a couple of occasions with the last being the final four-point 65-61 score. Colorado State led by eight points early in the second quarter for their largest advantage.
For the fifth time in the current nine game win streak Boise State has rallied for the victory after trailing entering the fourth quarter. The win improved Boise State to 24-7 overall tying the school record for wins in a season. The Boise State 2006-07 team went 24-9 overall, while the 2007-08 squad was 24-8.
After winning the first quarter 16-14, Boise State hit a cold spell in the second scoring a total of seven to find itself down 27-23 at the half.
The Rams opened the second on a 8-0 run as the Broncos struggled to score. Rodriguez hit the Broncos first field goal of the period, a 3-pointer from the top, with 5:05 on the clock to make it CSU 22-19.
Colorado State then stretched its lead out to 13-3 with 2:25 remaining in the second quarter. The Broncos were able to cut their deficit to four on a Brooke Pahukoa layup with 45 seconds left and a pair of Shalen Shaw free throws with three seconds to go.
Boise State found itself looking at a four-point 27-23 deficit heading into halftime. Shaw and Marta Hermida led the blue and orange at the break with five points each, Shaw also had seven rebounds.
Shaw finished the game with seven points and 11 rebounds to go with three assists and two blocks. Shaw's 11 boards moved her from ninth place on the Boise State career rebound list into seventh with 648.
Boise State opened the third on a 8-4 run to tie the game at 31 with 7:03 to play in the period. The Broncos took the lead (34-31) on a Rodriguez 3-pointer with 6:21 left.
Boise State kept a three to one point lead until late in the third when CSU rallied on a 7-1 run to take a three-point (40-37) lead into the fourth, when the Broncos took over.
Hermida had five points, six rebounds and two assists. Marijke Vanderschaaf chipped in with four points, seven rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal.
Boise State finished shooting 43.3 percent from the floor as a team, 50 percent (10-20) from the 3-point arc and 50 percent (3-6) from the free-throw line.
The Boise State bench out scored CSU's 27-to-14 making the Broncos 18-4 this year when the blue and orange wins the battle of bench points.
Boise State's defense also held the Rams to 36.8 percent shooting from the floor. The Broncos are 17-1 when holding the opponents below 40 percent shooting.
Colorado State shot 33.3 percent (8-24) from the 3-point arc and 73.3 percent (11-15) from the free-throw line.
Elin Gustavsson led two Rams with doubles-doubles on 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Ellen Nystrom finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds.