Broncos Come Back At Colorado State
Dec. 28, 2017

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. - After trailing by as many as 12 late in the first half, Boise State recovered to control the second half of Thursday night's Mountain West opener at Colorado State and beat the Rams, 62-58.

The Broncos (7-5, 1-0 MW) fell behind, 32-20, after Veronika Mirkovic's jumper with 2:25 left in the first half, but offered a glimpse of what the second half would hold as two quick buckets from Brooke Wheeler and Shalen Shaw cut the Ram lead to 32-24 at the break.

Colorado State (8-4, 0-1 MW), behind Grace Colaivalu, who scored 26 points on the night, got its lead to 11 at 37-26 with 7:26 remaining in the third quarter. Colaivalu, after a 17-point first half, scored the Rams' first seven points of the third quarter, but had to come out with 5:09 left in the frame after picking up her third personal foul minutes earlier. The Broncos' aggression in driving the lane early in the half took its toll on the Rams, as Ellie Woerner and Brady Hodgins drew fouls on Colaivalu and Annie Brady, Colorado State's two leading scorers.

Colaivalu's exit, followed by Brady's after picking up her third and fourth fouls within 18 seconds, changed the tone of the game with 4:30 left in the quarter, as Boise State, trailing 39-32 when Colaivalu and Brady exited, ripped off seven-straight points over the next 1:22, capped by Shaw's reverse layup to tie it up at 39-39. The teams would go back-and-forth until the Broncos scored the final four points of the frame to take a 44-42 lead into the fourth quarter.

"I felt like we could run our sets against them. We were playing very tentative and very insecure [in the first half]," Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell said about the Broncos' halftime adjustments. "We just would not execute. When you're tentative and insecure, you settle for the 3, and we were just jacking up threes [in the first half].

"I thought Braydey sped the game up a little bit, which was good for us and got us some open-court drives," Presnell said. "I thought Ellie played the best game she has as a Bronco, she really competed. She was pretty conservative in the first half, then in the second she really competed, so I was pumped for her."

That set up a fourth quarter which featured two ties and two lead changes. Colorado State scored the first five points of the frame to take a 47-44 lead with 8:28 to go, but the Broncos got a 3-pointer from Riley Lupfer to tie it at 47-47. Moments later, with the score tied 49-49, Lupfer again hit from deep, giving the Broncos the lead for good at 52-49 with 6:36 to play.

The tide turned further in Boise State's favor less than a minute later, as Colaivalu picked up her fourth foul, followed by Brady picking up her fifth with 4:57 to go. Hodgins hit both free throws following Brady's foul to push Boise State's lead to four at 54-50, but the Rams answered with Hannah Tvrdy's trey to get within one. Colaivalu, however, would pick up her fifth foul on the ensuing Bronco possession, and, without their top two players, the Rams were vulnerable. Woerner, who finished with a team-high 13 points for the Broncos, hit a trey moments later to get the Broncos back up four, although it went right back to a point after Sofie Tryggedsson banked in a 3-pointer from the wing with 1:02 to go.

:Lupfer's response came up short from the top of the key, but A'Shanti Coleman knifed in for the offensive rebound and put it back to get the Broncos up three at 59-56 with 33 seconds to go. From there, the Bronco defense held the Rams to one field goal over their final four tries, while free throws from Hodgins and Hermida helped seal the win.

The Broncos survived a rough first half in which the team shot just 26.5 percent (9-for-34), including a 1-for-13 mark from 3-point range. Boise State struggled to contain Colaivalu, who went 6-for-6 from the field for 17 points over the opening 20 minutes.

After trailing 19-13 through a quarter, the Broncos continued to struggle from the field, twice falling behind by 12 in the second frame.

Boise State opens its Mountain West home slate Saturday at 1 p.m. against UNLV.

Postgame Quotes

Head Coach Gordy Presnell

On the team's adjustments at halftime
"I felt like we could run our sets against them. We were playing very tentative and very insecure [in the first half]. They wrote the word up on the board before we even got into the locker room at halftime: 'Execute.' We just would not execute. When you're tentative and insecure, you settle for the 3, and we were just jacking up threes."

"I'm really excited at the fact that we really competed in the third quarter. That was our best quarter of the year so far, and we had to scrap and show some grit, and we did."

On the play of Ellie Woerner and Braydey Hodgins in the second half
"I thought Braydey sped the game up a little bit, which was good for us and got us some open-court drives. I thought Ellie played the best game she has as a Bronco, she really competed. She was pretty conservative in the first half, then in the second she really competed, so I was pumped for her."

On the Broncos controlling the boards and being the aggressors in the second half
"Joyce Harrell had 11 points and seven boards, she's played pretty consistent now for two weeks, and I hope it can continue. With Joyce, Shay and A'Shanti, they're pretty quick on their feet, pretty light on their feet, and they get their hands on a lot of balls, and they did tonight."

On winning two years in a row at Moby Arena
"I was really excited for them, but more than just the win is the third quarter. We finally took off some tentativeness and really competed for victory, and it worked out this time."

On opening conference season 1-0
"We'll see how that works out on Saturday, but at least we got a win on the road [at a place] that no one wants to play. At least we have that, and we can check that, and now we move on to the next one. UNLV is a very talented team, so we'll see how that goes. We play four really good teams right off the bat. We'll have an indication of where we'll be after these first four games."


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