Broncos Grind Out Win Over Eagles
Dec. 1, 2016

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BOISE, Idaho – Boise State saw a 17-point third-quarter lead evaporate late Thursday night but recovered as Brooke Pahukoa’s baseline jumper and a free throw from Shalen Shaw over the final 35 seconds secured a 67-64 decision over Eastern Washington. The win puts the Broncos at 6-0 to start the year, the first such start for Boise State since 2009-10, when the Broncos opened the campaign with seven-straight wins.

The win was also No. 597 for Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell’s career. It was the fourth in a row by five points or less for the Broncos, who travel to Pullman, Wash., to face Washington State this Sunday at 3 p.m. MT.

“We’ve shown a little bit more toughness down the stretch in games this season than we have in the last couple of years,” Presnell said after the game. “But it would be nice to play at the level that our team is capable of and not the level of our opponent all the time.”

The Broncos went up 49-32 on Joyce Harrell’s layup with 3:51 to go in the third quarter but immediately went cold, going 0-for-4 from the field the rest of the period and only scoring two more points on Leonie Edringer’s free throws with 13 seconds left.

Eastern Washington (3-3) fought right back behind the play of junior Delaney Hodgins, the older sister of Bronco freshman guard Braydey Hodgins. The older Hodgins, who finished with a game-high 21 points, scored the Eagles’ final nine points of the frame, capping the run with a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to pull Eastern Washington to within five at 51-46 heading into the final quarter.

The teams went back-and-forth through the first four minutes of the final frame before Tisha Phillips hit from deep to pull Eastern Washington within a point at 57-56 with 5:53 to play. Phillips, who scored 15 points on the night on 6-of-7 shooting, including a perfect 3-for-3 from deep, followed a possession later with a driving layup to put the Eagles in front for the first time at 58-57.

The Eastern Washington lead got to three at 60-57 with 4:02 remaining before Boise State ended a scoring drought of 3:47 with a pair of free throws from Marijke Vanderschaaf to get to within a point. With both teams in the bonus with four minutes to go in the contest, Vanderschaaf’s freebies with 3:50 to play began a stretch in which eight of Boise State’s final 10 points came from the stripe. The Broncos took advantage of the Eagles’ foul problems, going 8-for-12 from the line over the final 3:52.

Yet things weren’t settled until, after Phillips tied the game at 64-64 with another driving layup with 41 seconds to play, Pahukoa responded six seconds later with a baseline jumper, snapping an 0-for-14 cold spell by the Broncos, to put Boise State ahead for good. Hodgins would miss a jumper at the other end, with Shaw tying up the rebound to give the Broncos possession, and hitting a free throw when the Eagles had to foul on the ensuing inbound play. Eastern Washington couldn’t get a shot off on its final possession after its inbound pass, from in front of its bench, went past Phillips and all the way to the opposite end line.

“That’s just us playing together as a team and wanting to win for each other,” said Shaw.

Shaw finished the night with 10 points and nine rebounds while Vanderschaaf posted a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds. Pahukoa scored 13 points and the Broncos were led by 15 from sophomore Marta Hermida. The Broncos shot 42.1 percent (8-for-19) over the opening quarter but went just 12-for-45 over the final 30 minutes to finish the game shooting 31.3 percent (20-for-64) from the field.

Strong defense and crashing the boards helped get Boise State out to a commanding lead early, as the Broncos held the Eagles to just 22.2 percent (2-for-9) from the field, forced six turnovers and won the rebounding battle 14-4 over the opening 10 minutes. Pahukoa scored the first four points of the game, and, following a Violet Kapri Morrow’s layup for Eastern Washington’s first points, Yaiza Rodriguez hit a 3-pointer to open an 11-0 run that put the Broncos in front, 15-2, with 5:28 left in the frame.

The Eagles went 4:17 without scoring during that stretch, but Ashli Payne’s jumper with 3:57 to go in the quarter would be Eastern Washington’s last points as the Broncos scored seven-straight points to close the quarter. Freshman Riley Lupfer hit from deep to start the run, with Shaw and Jordan Woodvine closing the quarter with buckets to give Boise State the 22-4 lead.

Boise State went on to win the rebounding battle over the Eagles, 41-34, taking advantage of the extra possessions to score 17 second-chance points.

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