Boise State women come up short against Rams

Conference-leading Colorado State’s length keeps Boise State women at bay. © 2014 Idaho StatesmanFebruary 20, 2014 

Lexie Der scored 20 points for Boise State, but the Broncos couldn’t take down the top team in the Mountain West. Colorado State won 71-51. GO TO IDAHOSTATESMAN.COM/GALLERIES FOR A PHOTO GALLERY FROM THE GAME.

The Boise State women’s basketball team knew it had to play 40 good minutes to knock off Mountain West-leading Colorado State.

On Wednesday, the Broncos had about 20, which wasn’t going to cut it against the Rams, who had won 16 of their previous 17 games.

Matching a season-high with 25 turnovers, Boise State saw strong starts in both halves dashed quickly in a 71-51 loss.

“They’re not going to beat themselves, and they didn’t (Wednesday) — they just whipped us,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said.

Boise State (14-10, 9-4), which came into the game alone in second place in the Mountain West, had a chance to close the gap with the Rams (21-4, 13-1). Early on, it appeared the Broncos had a shot to do it, making their first five field goals and taking a quick 11-2 lead.

Colorado State had used a zone defense for their prior three games, and did so to start Wednesday, but shifted to man-to-man after trailing early.

Presnell said the Broncos have been better against man-to-man, but Colorado State’s length presented big problems — the Broncos, who came into the game giving up only 15 turnovers per game, had 15 in the first half alone.

“I told our team, ‘that’s a sign we’re doing great, they’re getting out of their stuff,’ and then they just killed us with it,” Presnell said.

The Rams ended the first half on a 22-4 run for 26-17 lead at the break. The Broncos made 3-of-19 field goals after their 11-2 lead, and missed all nine first-half 3-point attempts. They had come in ranked No. 1 in conference games, making 39.7 percent of their 3-pointers.

“I think it had a lot to do with their length, we got a little intimidated with that, so we’d stop attacking and doing what we’d normally do,” sophomore forward Lexie Der said of the Rams, who played six 6-footers to the Broncos’ three. “… we were rushing some of our shots.”

Der did all she could to get the Broncos back into the game with 16 of her game-high 20 points in the second half. She cut the lead to 35-31 with 13:28 to go on a layup and the ensuing free throw, but the Rams responded with a 14-4 run. In the second half, Colorado State turned 10 Boise State turnovers into 16 points.

“We got a little bit shellshocked, and then we got flat,” Presnell said. “You can’t get flat in a game like this. We had one crack at these guys, and that was it.”

Despite Wednesday’s loss, the Broncos maintained sole possession of second place with Fresno State’s 65-60 win over Wyoming on Wednesday.

There may be one more shot for the Broncos to avenge Colorado State’s 20-point win, which is its average margin in its 14 Mountain West games — the Mountain West tournament next month.

“It’s frustrating, but we’re going to make it the finals of that tournament, we’re going to change that, and it’s not going to be the same game as this one, that’s for sure,” Der said.

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