Broncos Prepare For First-Round Battle
March 14, 2018

NCAA Tournament First Round
No. 16 Boise State at No. 1 Louisville
Friday, March 16, 2018
Louisville, Ky. - KFC Yum! Center

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BOISE, Idaho - Boise State was dealt a 16 seed for the NCAA Tournament, and will open up first-round action at No. 1 Louisville Friday at 10 a.m. MT. A victory for the Broncos would send them into Sunday’s second round at the KFC Yum! Center against the winner of Friday's game between No. 8 Marquette and No. 9 Dayton.

Boise State captured its third Mountain West Tournament title, and with it a bid to the NCAA Tournament, with last Friday’s thrilling, buzzer-beating 62-60 victory over Nevada in Las Vegas. A’Shanti Coleman scored Boise State’s final four points of the contest, capped by an offensive rebound and putback that just beat the buzzer to seal the win.

Boise State came back from down eight with 8:05 to go, outscoring Nevada 19-9 the rest of the way. Riley Lupfer scored a game-high 19 points, hitting five 3-pointers, while Braydey Hodgins capped an outstanding tournament with 14 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.

Boise State will travel to The Bluegrass State to face No. 1 seed Louisville (32-2) Friday at 10 a.m. MT at the KFC Yum! Center. The contest, which is the first meeting between the programs, will be part of the tournament’s opening set of games Friday.

Louisville finished tied for first in the ACC standings with Notre Dame, and went on to defeat the Irish in the ACC title game. The Cardinals, winners of seven-straight entering Friday’s first-round contest, are led by the play of junior guard and ACC Player of the Year Asia Durr (18.8 ppg, 102 3-pointers, 42.3 3-pt FG pct.), along with senior forward Myisha Hines-Allen (13.9 ppg, 9.8 rpg).

Louisville reached the Sweet 16 last season, after making a second-round exit from the tournament in 2016. The Cardinals reached the national championship game in 2009 and 2013, falling to Connecticut each time.

Friday’s contest will mark Boise State’s fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Broncos, 0-4 at the event all-time, made previous appearances in 1994, 2007, 2015, and 2017.

The Broncos were a 9-seed in 1994, falling 89-61 at Washington in the first round.

In 2007, the Broncos got a 12 seed, and were defeated 76-67 by George Washington in Los Angeles.

Over the last four years, the Broncos received a 15 seed in 2015 and took Tennessee to the limit before falling 72-61 in Knoxville, and last season, as a 13 seed, Boise State was defeated at UCLA, 83-56.

The Broncos unexpectedly received a 16 seed in this year’s draw, but something else involving a 16 seed happened somewhat unexpectedly 20 years ago. For the first, and to date, only time in men’s or women’s NCAA Tournament history, a 16-seed defeated a 1-seed as Harvard upset Stanford 71-67 at Maples Pavilion.

Over the past 24 years, since the women’s tournament expanded to 64 teams, 16 seeds are 1-95 in first-round games.

Friday’s contest will be only Boise State’s fifth trip east of the Mississippi since the 2002-03 season. That year, the Broncos traveled to James Madison, dropping a 73-35decision to the Dukes.

The remaining trips east were an 87-48 loss at Syracuse on Dec. 30, 2012, 2015’s NCAA Tournament First Round game at Tennessee, and a 1-1 split in Puerto Rico over Thanksgiving 2015 in which the Broncos lost to Auburn but defeated Stetson.

When she steps on the court Friday, and the ball is tipped, Boise State forward Shalen Shaw will become the only player in program history to play in three NCAA Tournaments (2015, 2017-18).

Shaw, a freshman on the first Boise Starte tournament team during this run, scored 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting with six rebounds over 22 minutes at Tennessee in 2015, then scored four points with three rebounds over 24 minutes in 2017’s first-round loss at UCLA.

Shaw, who scored 10 points in last Friday’s title-game win over Nevada, 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 11th in scoring (1,179 points), 10th in field goals made (468), third in rebounds (883), seventh in blocks (82), and 11th in assists (272).

It should be noted that Shaw is not the only Bronco to be part of three NCAA Tournament teams, as redshirt junior center Marijke Vanderschaaf has also been part of the 2015, 2017 and 2018 tournament squads, but was injured in 2015 and 2018.

Sophomore guard Riley Lupfer was named the Mountain West Tournament Most Outstanding Player last Friday, adding yet another honor to her career year. Lupfer averaged 16.7 points per game and hit 12 3-pointers over Boise State’s 3-0 run, capping it with a game-high 19 points and five treys in the title-game win over Nevada.

Lupfer, selected to her first All-Mountain West Team this season, has posted a record-breaking season in 2017-18. The Spokane, Wash., native set both the Boise State and Mountain West single-season records for 3-pointers made, currently at 120. She eclipsed Abby Vaughan’s Boise State mark of 81 (set in 2002-03) back on Feb. 3 at UNLV, and passed the old conference mark of 110 set by Utah’s Iwalani Rodrigues in 2010-11 in March 6’s quarterfinal matchup against Air Force.

Lupfer also set the Mountain West record for 3-pointers made in conference play with 79, far outpacing the old record of 57. 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.

Additionally, Lupfer posted eight 20-point games during conference play, and failed to score in double digits just once out of 21 contests (18 regular season, three tournament). Four times she hit seven 3-pointers in a single game.

For all games, Lupfer ranks eighth in the country in 3-pointers made with 108, and fifth in 3-point field-goal percentage (45.8). Lupfer leads the Broncos with 16.4 points per game, shooting 47.1 percent from the field and 94.3 from the line.

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