Having only eight healthy players can manifest itself into an array of problems. Getting most of them in foul trouble only makes it worse.
The Boise State women's basketball team, with only three bench players available, faded late in its home finale in a 70-60 loss against UNLV on Wednesday. Five of the eight Broncos had at least four fouls as the Rebels scored 20 of the final 29 points.
"We were gassed," Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. "They like to run, too, and that's tough to deal with when you're in foul trouble and don't have a ton of depth."
Wednesday's loss was the final home game for one Bronco senior, post Lauren Lenhardt. The Eagle High grad was held to two points as the Broncos trailed 26-21 at halftime, but she scored 13 points in first 6 minutes, 9 seconds of the second half, the last 3 of which put the Broncos ahead, 41-35.
"We had a good run there, we had some people making plays," said Lenhardt, who had 18 points to give her 1,350 in her career. "We got their defense moving and were able to get some penetration."
But the offensive burst would only last a few more minutes. Boise State held onto a 51-50 lead with 6:09 to play, but the Broncos missed 13 of their last 15 attempts.
"We weren't able to finish very well," Boise State forward Lexie Der (10 points, 10 rebounds) said. "I think we got a little timid when we were in foul trouble, and we took some shots that weren't great."
The Rebels were 25-of-32 on free throws, led by Kelli Thompson's 12-of-13 shooting. She finished with 27 points, while Rejane Verin had 26 points and 19 rebounds for UNLV.
Boise State closes out the regular season at conference champion San Diego State on Saturday. The Aztecs defeated Air Force on Wednesday, which means the Broncos will avoid the play-in game as the seventh seed at the MW tournament next week.
"We have nothing to lose, there's no reason to hold back - we've got to go all out, and I think if we do, good things will happen," Lenhardt said.