History Beckons Broncos Friday In Laramie
March 1, 2018

Boise State (19-9, 13-4 MW) at Wyoming (20-8, 13-4 MW)
Friday, March 2, 2018
Laramie, Wyo. - Arena-Auditorium

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BOISE, Idaho - Boise State (19-9, 13-4 MW) heads to Laramie to face Wyoming (20-8, 13-4 MW) in a regular-season finale which will determine the conference champion and No. 1 seed at the Mountain West Tournament. The Broncos will travel to Las Vegas for the Mountain West Tournament and begin defense of its 2017 crown. Boise State will open action in Tuesday’s quarterfinal against an opponent to be determined.

Boise State closed its 2017-18 home schedule in style, defeating San Diego State, 64-53, Tuesday night. The victory, combined with losses by Wyoming and UNLV, brought the Broncos into a three-way tie for first place in the Mountain West standings.

Senior Shalen Shaw, on an emotional Senior Night, powered the Broncos to the win, scoring 10 points with nine rebounds and four assists, while guard Riley Lupfer hit four 3-pointers and scored a game-high 16 points. Forward A’Shanti Coleman continued her strong play since joining the starting lineup, going 6-for-11 from the field for 14 points and grabbing five rebounds.

The Broncos pulled away from the Aztecs with another dominant fourth quarter, helped by the defense holding San Diego State to just 22.2 percent (4-for-18) from the floor, and 0-for-5 from 3-point range.

Tuesday’s results around the conference have set up an all-or-nothing showdown in Laramie between the Broncos and Wyoming, with the winner earning at least a share of the Mountain West title and the No. 1 seed at March 5-9’s Mountain West Tournament.

The Cowgirls, playing without leading scorer Liv Roberts Tuesday night at Air Force, fell to the Falcons, 57-47. Roberts, who missed her first game all season, leads the Cowgirls in scoring at 14.0 ppg, while Taylor Rusk is at 9.5 ppg and leads Wyoming with 56 3-pointers.

With Friday night’s contest at Wyoming for at least a share of the Mountain West title, and the No. 1 seed at next week’s conference tournament, Boise State has a chance to make program history.

A victory would secure for the Broncos their first Mountain West regular-season title since joining the conference in 2011-12, as well as the No. 1 seed at the conference tournament, which would mark the highest seeding for the Broncos at the event.

Boise State’s previous best Mountain West finish was third, in 2015-16.

Boise State has locked up at least the No. 3 seed at March 5-9’s Mountain West Tournament. The Broncos clinched a first-round bye with last Feb. 21’s win over Colorado State, then were guaranteed at least the No. 3 seed Feb. 24 with Fresno State’s loss at Wyoming.

The Broncos can earn the No. 1 seed with a victory over Wyoming Friday night. If the Broncos lose to the Cowgirls, and UNLV loses to Utah State, Boise State will be the No. 2 seed. A Bronco loss and a UNLV win, however, puts the Broncos at No. 3.

The Broncos have never been seeded higher than third at the tournament. Boise State was the No. 3 seed in 2016, and has been the No. 4 seed thrice (2014-15, 2017)

Tuesday night’s victory over San Diego State was Boise State’s 13th in Mountain West play, setting a program best since joining the conference in 2011-12. The Broncos had previously topped out at 12 conference wins thrice (2013-14, 2015-16, 2016-17).

A Bronco win Friday at Wyoming would match its program-best win total in conference play (14-2 in the WAC in 2007-08).

Key to Boise State’s performance in Mountain West play this season has been its success on the road, as the Broncos have an 8-2 mark in true away games.

Boise State’s eight true away wins this season, following Feb. 17’s win at Air Force, match the total from 2015-16, a mark that was the highest since winning 10 true road games in 2006-07. With a win Friday in Laramie, Boise State, currently at 6-2 on the road in Mountain West play, can match the program’s all-time best conference road win total (seven, 1991-92 Big Sky).

Bronco guard Riley Lupfer dropped four 3-pointers in Tuesday’s victory over San Diego State, bringing her season tally to 107, just three back of the single-season Mountain West record of 110 held by Utah’s Iwalani Rodrigues (2010-11).

Lupfer is going for a trifecta of records, of sorts, as this season she has already eclipsed the Boise State 3-pointer record (previously 81) and the Mountain West mark for most in conference play (formerly 57).

Boise State’s current six-game winning streak has come about mainly due to the Broncos’ excellent fourth-quarter defensive work.

Over the fourth quarters of the last six games, Bronco opponents are shooting just 29.7 percent (27-for-91) from the field, and 15.4 percent (4-for-26) from 3-point range. In fact, Bronco opponents have missed their last 18 fourth-quarter 3-point attempts, dating back to Utah State missing their final try back on Feb. 10.

Senior forward Shalen Shaw played her final game at Taco Bell Arena (pending a potential postseason contest) Tuesday, scoring 10 points with nine rebounds and four assists in the 64-53 win over San Diego State.

The win finished off a home career in which Shaw and the Broncos went 48-14 in Boise, including a 14-2 mark in 2016-17.

Sophomore guard Riley Lupfer enters Friday’s regular-season finale with a solid resumè for Mountain West Player of the Year.

Not only has the Spokane, Wash., native earned three Mountain West Player of the Week honors (Jan. 2, Jan. 15, Feb. 19), as well as a spot on NCAA.com’s Starting Five (week of Jan. 8-14), but, over the conference season, she leads the loop in scoring (19.7 ppg), 3-pointers made (78), 3-point field-goal percentage (50.3), and free-throw percentage (97.2), while ranking eighth in field-goal percentage (51.6).

Lupfer is the only Mountain West player with FG/3FG/FT percentages of 50/50/90, and has posted eight 20-point games and four games with seven 3-pointers in conferrence play.

These numbers, plus her role in Boise State’s 13-4 conference record, give her a solid shot at becoming Boise State’s first Mountain West Player of the Year, and the program’s first conference player of the year since Michelle Schultz took home the Big Sky’s top honor in 1994-95.

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