Lupfer Leads Broncos Past UNLV
Dec. 30, 2017

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BOISE, Idaho - Riley Lupfer set career highs with 28 points and seven 3-pointers Saturday as Boise State improved to 2-0 in Mountain West play with a 69-60 victory over UNLV at Taco Bell Arena.

Lupfer's barrage highlighted a day in which the Broncos (8-5, 2-0 MW) hit a season-high 12 3-pointers for the second time in three games to snap a three-game slide against the Lady Rebels (5-7, 0-1 MW).

"I was feeling good. I'm told to shoot it, so that's what I did, and they were falling tonight. I just thank my teammates for getting me the ball," Lupfer said about her career night.

"Riley, I think her teammates got her the ball at the right times, and she has worked so hard on shooting the ball from the perimeter, and it really showed today," said Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell. "She shoots a high percentage from the perimeter, and they tried to take it away in the second half but she got a few up. I'm really proud of her, she had a great week."

The Spokane, Wash., native opened the contest with a trey, and hit two more in the opening period as the Broncos and Lady Rebels battled to a 16-16 stalemate after 10 minutes.

It was in the second quarter where Boise State broke the game open. Lupfer again opened the frame with a trey, followed by Joyce Harrell's steal and coast-to-coast layup to make it 21-16 after just 45 seconds. The teams traded buckets over the next few minutes, until, with 6:54 to go before the break and the Broncos holding onto a 26-22 lead, Boise State's second unit led an unexpected run.

With Shalen Shaw and Harrell on the bench with two fouls apiece, Boise State got a jumper from A'Shanti Coleman to make it 28-22 with 5:44 to go before Coleman picked up her second fol and had to exit at the 3:48 mark. Facing off against UNLV's top unit, the Bronco second unit locked down on defense as UNLV scored just four points, went 1-for-9 from the field, and committed three turnovers over the final 7:20 of the half. On the offensive end, freshman Tess Amundsen provided the spark, scoring all seven of her points on the day over the final 2:49 of the half, capping it with a 3-pointer with six seconds left as Boise State ended the quarter on a 12-2 run.

"I think she really energized us. She played really hard, hit a three at the buzzer, so I think that whole quarter her energy helped," Presnell said about Amundsen's performance.

"I thought [our second unit] was outstanding," Presnell continued. "Brooke Wheeler played a lot of minutes today, and A'Shanti, they defended very, very well. The sign of a good team, at this level, anyways, is can your bench provide that extra input? Everyone has a good starting lineup, but if your bench can contribute like that, then you have a chance to win games."

Boise State was never seriously threatened the rest of the way. Lupfer followed a Marta Hermida basket with 3-pointers on two-straight possessions to stretch the lead to 19 at 46-27 just 2:31 into the third quarter. Brooke Johnson, who scored 18 points to lead UNLV, and Katie Powell, who finished with 13 along with seven rebounds, tried to shoot the Lady Rebels back into the game but the Broncos had an answer every time. Ellie Woerner, who finished with nine points for the Broncos, answered a Johnson basket with a jumper of her own to get the lead back to 19 at the 6:58 mark, and Lupfer and Hermida each answered two Powell jumpers with buckets of their own minutes later. Woerner's five points over the final 2:19 of the frame helped Boise State to a 16-point lead after three quarters at 60-44.

Lupfer's seventh 3-pointer of the day got the Bronco lead back to 19 at 65-46 with 5:57 to play, and, after two Ellie Woerner free throws got the lead back to 16 at 67-51 with 3:42 to go after UNLV got to within 14, the contest was effectively decided. Two offensive fouls by the Lady Rebels contributed to a scoreless drought until Powell's free throw with 1:47 to play, and, with Boise State's reserves in the contest, UNLV scored eight of the final 10 points of the game to make it a single-digit final.

"It's good. We had not the preseason we wanted, so to come to conference we were like, we're 0-0 right now, how do we want this year to be? We're gonna start fresh right now and I think that's worked best," Lupfer said of the Broncos' 2-0 start.

Boise State will aim for its first 3-0 start to Mountain West play this coming Wednesday (Jan. 3) as it travels to Albuquerque to take on New Mexico at 7 p.m. in a battle of 2-0 teams.

"It feels really great to be 2-0, against two very formidable opponents," Presnell said. "We made it through, and now it's time to go on to New Mexico, who has been the class of our league in the non-conference season. We're going in there with some confidence, and this group of kids, even though we're young, has played in a lot of big games themselves, so it's going to be a lot of fun, and I know it'll be a great crowd so we'll see what happens."

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