Broncos Go For Third MW Title Friday
March 8, 2018

2018 Mountain West Tournament Championship Game
No. 1 Boise State (22-9) vs. No. 7 Nevada (17-15)
Friday, March 9, 2018
Las Vegas, Nev. - Thomas and Mack Center

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LAS VEGAS - Top seed Boise State (22-9) goes for its third Mountain West Tournament title, and NCAA Tournament bid, in four years Friday as it takes on No. 7 Nevada at 1 p.m. in Las Vegas. A victory for the Broncos would send them into next weekend’s NCAA Tournament, while a loss sends them to the WNIT.

Friday's title game will also be streamed live on Twitter. The game can be viewed live via this link.

Boise State clinched its third appearance in the Mountain West title game with Wednesday’s 76-51 semifinal rout of Colorado State.

Guard Braydey Hodgins scored a career-high 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and went 6-for-7 from the line, while passing out a game-high five assists. Hodgins scored 11 of her points in the second quarter, keying a 27-point frame for the Broncos that turned a seven-point deficit into a 10-point halftime lead.

Marta Hermida finished the game with 15 points and nine rebounds, while Shalen Shaw pulled down 13 rebounds to go with her six points, and freshman Tess Amundsen stepped up with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting.

The 25-point margin of victory was the largest in a conference game in program history, and the Broncos also picked up their fourth-straight win over the Rams.

Boise State will take on seventh-seeded Nevada (17-15) in Friday’s title game at 1 p.m. MT. The Wolf Pack held on to defeat No. 3 Wyoming, 67-63, in Wednesday night’s second semifinal.

The Wolf Pack will be playing their fourth game in five days, and, due to an overtime win over San Diego State Monday and a double-overtime win over UNLV Tuesday, have played 135 minutes of basketball over the past three days compared to just 80 for the Broncos.

T Moe has been the catalyst for Nevada’s run to the final, averaging 22.7 points per game on 47.2-percent shooting, while Teige Zeller is shooting 55.6 percent and averaging 15.0 points and 7.7 rebounds during the tournament.

Boise State will go for its second-straight Mountain West Tournament title, and third in four seasons, in Friday’s championship game.

The Broncos will also attempt to become just the third Mountain West program to win consecutive tournaments, with a chance to join Fresno State (2013-14) and New Mexico (2003-05, 2007-08).

After Wednesday’s victory over Colorado State, Boise State owns an all-time record of 9-4 at the Mountain West Tournament, along with two titles.

The Broncos have been feast or famine at the event since its first appearance in 2012, with eight of the nine wins coming this year as well as in 2015 and 2017’s title runs. Boise State has also recorded three one-and-dones (2013-14, 2016) at the event.

Boise State is once again within a victory of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. A win Friday would mark the program’s fifth bid to the tournament, and third in the last four seasons.

Boise State made its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1994, after winning the Big Sky Tournament. The second trip came in 2007, following the Broncos’ WAC Tournament title, and the last two trips came after Mountain West crowns in 2015 and 2017.

A look at the Mountain West history since the inaugural conference tournament in 2000 could make one think that Boise State, as the No. 1 seed, has history against them. In 18 previous Mountain West Tournaments, the top seed has gone on to capture the title just seven times.

This year, Boise becomes the 11th No. 1 seed to reach the title game. For the second-straight season, the Broncos will face the No. 7 seed in the final (Fresno State last year).

San Diego State (2012) and Colorado State (2016) are the only No. 1 seeds to hold serve over the last six tournaments (2012-17) since the Mountain West returned to a format in which the top seed had to win three games to capture the title in 2012. Boise State captured each of its Mountain West Tournament titles (2015, 2017) as the No. 4 seed.

Boise State made program history March 3 in Laramie, winning its first Mountain West regular-season title since joining the conference in 2011-12 with the 67-63 victory over Wyoming.

It was also the fifth regular-season conference title in program history, being added to Boise State’s two Big Sky titles (1991-92 and 1993-94) and two WAC crowns (2007-08).

This week’s Mountain West Tournament could put senior forward Shalen Shaw in rarified air in the Boise State history books. Should the Broncos win the tournament and clinch an NCAA Tournament bid, it would make Shaw the only player in program history to win three conference tournament titles and play in three NCAA Tournaments.

And, as the stars align, Shaw will have to go through the school from her hometown of Reno to earn that slice of history.

Shaw has been a vital piece of Boise State’s success over the past four seasons. She is the only player in Bronco history with 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, and 200 assists, and, in the program record books, currently ranks 12th in scoring (1,169 points), 10th in field goals made (463), third in rebounds (880), seventh in blocks (82), and 11th in assists (272).

Boise State’s trio of starting guards, Riley Lupfer, Marta Hermida, and Braydey Hodgins, have been key to the Broncos’ run to the conference title game. The three guards have combined to shoot 53.0 percent (35-for-66) from the floor, and 41.4 percent (12-for-29) from 3-point range, while accounting for 48.0 of Boise State’s 68.0 points per game.

Hodgins, thanks to her 25-point performance Wednesday, leads the Broncos with 18.0 ppg during the tournament, and is shooting a team-best 60.0 percent (12-for-20). Lupfer is hitting a 50.0-percent clip from 3-point range (7-for-14) while averaging 15.5 ppg, and Hermida is shooting 50.0 percent (13-for-26) with 14.5 points as well as 7.5 rebounds a game.

Boise State’s defense was a major part of the team’s seven-game winning streak to close the regular season, and has continued to make the difference so far in the Mountain West Tournament.

Through two games, the Broncos have held its opponents to just 48.5 points per game and 29.5 percent shooting from the field (33-for-112). Bronco opponents haven’t been lucky from deep, either, going just 7-for-31 (22.6 percent) on 3-point attempts, while Boise State also owns a plus-6.5 rebounding margin through the first two games.

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

Over the fourth quarters of the last nine games, Bronco opponents are shooting just 31.4 percent (43-for-137) from the field, and 15.8 percent (6-for-38) from 3-point range. In fact, Bronco opponent missed 21-straight fourth-quarter 3-point attempts, from Utah State’s final try back on Feb. 10 until Air Force hit its first fourth-quarter attempt from deep in the quarterfinals on Tuesday (March 6). Even then, the Falcons, and Colorado State on Wednesday, each only hit one 3-pointer apiece in the final frames of their respective contests.

The numbers get even better in the final five minutes of the last seven games, during which Bronco opponents are shooting just 26.8 percent (15-for-56) from the field, and 9.1 percent (2-for-22) from 3-point range.

Sophomore guard Braydey Hodgins has become “Big Game Braydey” for the Broncos over the last few weeks, being on quite a run over the last five games.

In the five-game stretch beginning Feb. 21 against Colorado State, Hodgins has averaged 16.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.40 assists per game while posting a pair of 20-point performances in two key contests. With the Mountain West regular season title on the line March 3 at Wyoming, Hodgins scored a then-career-best 24 points with seven rebounds in Boise State’s 67-63 victory. Four days later, in the conference tournament semifinals against Colorado State, Hodgins bested herself, going for 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting with five assists in the 76-51 win that sent the Broncos to the tournament title game.

Freshman forward Tess Amundsen is a dark horse to the success of Boise State, as she has quietly posted solid performances in key games. Case in point, the Fresno native went for nine points on 4-of-5 shooting off the bench in Wednesday’s 76-51 semifinal win over Colorado State.

That effort came two games after Amundsen also scored nine points, on 3-of-5 shooting, in March 3’s regular-season title-clinching win at Wyoming. And, in two games against Nevada this season, Amundsen averaged 10.0 points while going 7-for-11 from the floor (63.6 percent) and a perfect 5-for-5 from 3-point range. In Reno on Feb. 14, Amundsen scored 12 points with three treys in just 15 minutes off the bench of Boise State’s 63-55 victory.

Boise State guards Riley Lupfer and Marta Hermida were both named to the All-Mountain West Team Monday, marking the first such honor in each player’s respective career.

Both Lupfer (2017) and Hermida (2016) had previously been named to the conference’s all-freshman team, with Hermida being named Freshman of the Year two seasons ago.

Lupfer posted a record-breaking season in 2017-18, setting the Mountain West’s single-season record for 3-pointers made in conference play with 79, far outpacing the old record of 57. Over the 18-game Mountain West campaign, Lupfer led the loop in 3-pointers made (her tally outdistanced the next-closest player by 36) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.500), finished second in scoring (18.9 ppg), and eighth in field-goal percentage (50.9). This season she was named Mountain West Player of the Week a conference-best three times (Jan. 2, Jan. 15, Feb. 19), and was recognized nationally with inclusion on the Starting Five for the week of Jan. 8-14.

Along with her free-throw percentage of 97.2 percent, the sophomore from Spokane, Wash., posted the vaunted “50/50/90” campaign, posting shooting percentages of at least 50.0 percent from the floor and 3-point range, and at least 90.0 percent from the line. She is the only Mountain West player with at least 200 field-goal attempts to post a shooting percentage of at least 50.0.

Additionally, Lupfer posted eight 20-point games during conference play, and failed to score in double digits just once out of 18 contests. Four times she hit seven 3-pointers in a single game, and Lupfer’s figure of accounting for 27.5 percent of Boise State’s total points per game (18.9 of 68.8 ppg) ranked third in the conference behind only Fresno State’s Candice White (29.0 percent) and Air Force’s Immel (28.9 percent).

For all games, Lupfer ranks 11th in the country in 3-pointers made with 108, and eighth in 3-point field-goal percentage (46.0). Her 108 3-pointers are a Boise State single-season record, and she is just three away from eclipsing the single-season Mountain West record of 110, set by Utah’s Iwalani Rodrigues in 2010-11. Lupfer leads the Broncos with 16.3 points per game, shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 93.6 from the line.

Hermida enjoyed her finest season in a Boise State uniform in 2017-18, averaging career bests in scoring (10.6 ppg), rebounding (5.4 rpg), and assists (4.93 apg). Over the 18-game conference season, Hermida ranked third in the Mountain West with 4.61 assists per game, and 18th in scoring at 10.6 points per game.

Coming off of a summer in which she earned a FIBA U20 Women’s European Championship gold medal for Spain, Hermida took on a vital leadership role for the Broncos this season, handling point-guard duties for the first month of the season while Braydey Hodgins recovered from a preseason injury. She continued to play in the point-guard role part-time after Hodgins’ return, crossing over from her usual role as a second shooting guard, alongside Lupfer. Her versatility was a boon to the Boise State offense, as Hermida scored in double figures nine times in conference play, and dished out at least five assists on seven occasions, highlighted by a a program single-game record 14 on Jan. 24 at San Jose State.

Hermida was named Mountain West Player of the Week for the first time in her career on Feb. 12, after she averaged 23.5 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 57.7 percent over wins against New Mexico (Feb. 7) and Utah State (Feb. 10). Her performance that week set up the wins that opened Boise State’s current seven-game winning streak.

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