Bigs Power 73-47 Win At Portland
Dec. 10, 2017
PORTLAND, Ore. - Boise State's third-straight victory didn't quite follow the script of the previous two, as the Bronco bench provided the jump needed Sunday with 18 first-half points en route to a 73-47 victory at Portland.
Sophomore guard Braydey Hodgins, who finished with a game-high 13 points, hit a 3-pointer and finished a three-point play to lead the bench with six points in the first half, while senior center Brooke Wheeler scored five of her seven points over the opening 20 minutes to fuel a 31-22 Bronco lead.
The efforts of Hodgins, Wheeler, as well as Emerald Toth, who scored a bucket in four minutes of first-half action, and a career-high six for the game, kept the Bronco offense afloat, as the trio combined to go 5-for-8 from the field while the rest of the team went just 5-for-19. Ellie Woerner, a Pilot transfer making her return to Portland, led the Bronco starters in the first half with all six of her points for the game.
"I thought it was very much a team win. Everyone contributed," said Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell. "It was the first time that maybe our shot wasn't falling in, and we had to grind it out and execute. We executed extremely well, holding them to two quarters in single digits. It's a good win for us, and we move on to finals then Washington State."
The Bronco starters found their rhythm in the second half, as Shalen Shaw hit a pair of field goals, and 3-pointers from Marta Hermida and Riley Lupfer pushed the Bronco lead to 43-28 within the first five minutes. Joyce Harrell, making her first start of the season in place of injured center Marijke Vanderschaaf, scored six of her eight second-half points in the third quarter, pacing the Broncos to a 21-9 period that broke open the contest.
"[My teammates] make it really easy because they have a lot of confidence in me. Having post players that believe in you gives you the confidence to go into the game and know what you need to do," Harrell said. "I just have to be smarter, foul-wise, having a call on everything. I knew I needed to bring energy in the second half, so that was a big thing I wanted to do. The points came to me after I brought energy."
Boise State (5-3) used a 11-0 run over the final 4:30 of the first quarter to go up 10 at 18-8. Wheeler broke a 8-8 tie with two-straight buckets, followed by a 3-pointer from Lupfer and a three-point play from Hodgins with 13 seconds left.
The Broncos cooled off in the second half, shooting just 33.3 percent (5-for-15) in the frame, but Portland (4-5) fared no better, going 5-for-16. Boise State's lead got to as many as 16 at 26-10 with 8:14 left in the half, but a scoring drought of 4:06 allowed the Pilots, behind 3-pointers from Darian Slaga and Julie Spencer, to pull to within eight at 26-18 with 4:21 to go. A free throw from Wheeler ended the Bronco drought, while buckets from Lupfer and A'Shanti Coleman got the lead back to 13 before Portland scored the final four points of the half to make it 31-22.
Boise State outscored the Pilots, 14-6, to open the third quarter behind six points from Harrell and two jumpers from Shalen Shaw, who posted her second double-double in as many games with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Wheeler, Coleman and Hodgins would combine for seven points over the final minutes of the quarter to put Boise State firmly in control at 52-31.
For the game, Harrell, Wheeler, Coleman, and Toth combined for 25 points on 10-for-14 shooting, as the Bronco bench went for a combined 36 points three days after going for 40 in a win over Washington.
"They've done a fantastic job. I'm really pleased with Joyce's maturity," Presnell said. "She got two fouls in four minutes, and she could've filed it away and called it a game, but in the third quarter she was fantastic."
Boise State takes an eight-day break for final exams, and will return to action Monday, Dec. 18, hosting Washington State at 7 p.m. Taco Bell Arena to begin a three-game home set to conclude the non-conference portion of the campaign.
On the game
On the contributions of the bench
On how the play of Harrell, Wheeler, and Toth has helped boost the offense
On the team's three-game winning streak
Redshirt Junior Forward Joyce Harrell
On her first start and her performance
On the play of the post group of herself, Brooke Wheeler, and Emerald Toth in the absence of Marijke Vanderschaaf
On bouncing back from a tough first half to score eight points in the second half
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