Hot-Shooting Broncos Blaze Past Huskies
Dec. 7, 2017

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BOISE, Idaho - After a lackluster first three games of the season, Boise State is finally playing like the team picked in the preseason to win the Mountain West, as the Broncos shot 58.2 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from 3-point range to sprint past Washington, 85-62, Thursday night.

The 23-point victory comes 10 years to the day since Boise State's last double-digit victory over a Pac-12 school, when the Broncos defeated the Huskies, 88-66, at Taco Bell Arena. Boise State, winners of three of its last four, has shot 47.2 percent from the field during that stretch. "It's a big win for our program, but it's even better for the situation we're in for our program," said Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell. "To be 3-3 and not really playing to our potential, and the Huskies come in and we played to our potential, we really shot the ball outstanding. To have our composure throughout the whole game, that's a huge win for us, for this season and for right now."

Thursday, the Broncos (4-3) wasted little time taking control against the Huskies. Two triples from Riley Lupfer and a layup from Joyce Harrell put the Broncos up 8-0 just 59 seconds into the game, forcing a Washington timeout. The Broncos stretched the lead to 11 at 18-7 with 5:13 left in the quarter before Washington's press began to cause issues, forcing a pair of turnovers to help the Huskies (4-4) go on a 6-0 run and get to within four at 20-16. Boise State's hot shooting would get it out of the funk, however, as freshman Tess Amundsen snapped a dry spell of 2:04 for the Broncos by hitting consecutive corner 3s to push the lead back to 10 at 26-16 with 1:53 left in the period.

Boise State would hit six triples in the quarter, tying a program record, with three coming from Lupfer, two from Amundsen, and one from Hermida.

"I was very much fired up tonight, but it was all on the guards and the coaches this game, they set us up perfectly tonight," Amundsen said. "The whole bench was going, the crowd was in it tonight. I think everyone fell into their roll after [Riley] hit those right off the bat."

Amundsen's career night of 13 points and a 4-for-8 showing from behind the arc highlighted an inspiring performance from the Bronco bench in the wake of starting center Marijke Vanderschaaf going down with a leg injury on just the game's second possession. Amundsen, Harrell (eight points on 4-of-5 shooting over 21 minutes) and Brooke Wheeler (career high-tying seven points on 3-of-3 shooting and four rebounds in 14 minutes) ably gave the Broncos productive minutes in Vanderschaaf's absence, while starting guard Marta Hermida continued her strong season with 16 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists, and forward Shalen Shaw enjoyed her best game of the young campaign, posting her first double-double with 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting and a game-high 14 rebounds.

"She stepped up and was the player that we know she can be, and what she's been in the past," Presnell said about Shaw's performance. "I was really proud because, whether Washington is as good as they've been in the past or not, it's still Washington, still a Pac-12 school. For her to rise up and have this be her best game is great."

It was another Bronco coming off the bench to spark the team's 24-point second quarter, as Braydey Hodgins finished a three-point play 1:23 into the frame, and followed with two free throws to spark a quick 5-2 run that put the Broncos up 32-21. Amundsen would hit another 3-pointer with 4:05 left in the half to put the Broncos in front by 16 at 41-25, and later hit her fourth triple with 1:08 left to stretch the Bronco lead to 17 at 48-31. Harrell would cap the half with a runner off the glass to beat the halftime buzzer and send the Broncos into the locker room with a 51-34 advantage.

The Bronco lead never dipped out of double digits the rest of the way. Washington, led by 14 points from Amber Melgoza and 10 from Mai-Loni Henson, would get to within 10 on a couple of occasions, but the Broncos would always have answers. After Shaw hit a jumper to put the Broncos up 19 to open the second half, Melgoza would contribute four points to a 7-0 Washington run with 6:59 left in the period to force a Bronco timeout. Harrell would hit a layup within a minute of the timeout, and a Shaw 3-pointer got the lead back to 15 at 58-43 before triples from Fapou Semebene and Jenna Moser got the Huskies to within 10 at 59-49 with 3:55 left in the quarter.

The Broncos would stretch the lead back to 16 before Washington used a 6-0 run to get back within 10, but A'Shanti Coleman's free throws to end the third gave the Broncos a 68-56 lead entering the fourth. That sparked an 8-2 run that included another layup from Coleman, a jumper from Shaw, and a layup from Harrell that got the Broncos in front, 74-58, with 6:40 remaining. Although Washington would get as close as 74-62 with 4:10 to play, the Broncos left no doubt, ending the contest on an 11-0 run as the defense held the Huskies to 0-for-4 the rest of the way.

"We have struggled in the fourth quarter with keeping our leads and keeping the energy, but tonight I think we did a good job finishing with that energy," Shaw said. "It's always a big win, but it is also business."

Boise State returns to action Sunday, visiting Portland for a 3 p.m. MT tip at the Chiles Center.

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