Boise State's Lupfer on fire from 3-point range
No Boise State basketball player — female or male — ever has made more 3-pointers in a single season than sophomore guard Riley Lupfer.
But you won’t hear Lupfer bragging about her eye-popping numbers.
“It’s kind of on the back burner,” said Lupfer, whose team plays at Air Force on Saturday (1 p.m., 1350 AM). “I’m more worried about how many games we have left in conference. We could be conference champs if we keep going and things fall into place.”
With four regular-season games remaining, the Broncos (16-9, 10-4 MW) sit in a three-way tie for third in the Mountain West standings with Colorado State (18-7, 10-4) and Fresno State (15-10, 10-4), but they’re only a half-game back of leaders Wyoming (17-7, 10-3) and UNLV (15-9, 10-3).
The Broncos wouldn’t be chasing down a regular-season title without Lupfer.
She leads the conference in scoring at 20.5 points per game in league play and continues to pad the program’s single-season record for 3-pointers with 97 and counting. The previous Boise State women’s record was 81, established by Abby Vaughan over 30 games in 2002-03. Lupfer surpassed Vaughan’s record on Feb. 3 with five triples against UNLV in only her 22nd game of the season.
The Boise State men’s single-season record is 92, which Abe Jackson set during the 2001-02 season. Jackson, who is in his 10th year as a men’s basketball analyst for the Bronco Radio Network, knows Lupfer’s 3-point success takes a team effort.
“There were plays that were ran for me to get 3s, but anybody who watched me play would know that I rarely created my own shot. It was a lot of my teammates doing things that got me open — some screens and great passes,” Jackson said. “I was more of a shooter that really needed to lean on his teammates, and I had some really great ones that helped me get those 92 3s that year.”
Lupfer also owns the Mountain West record for 3-pointers made in a conference season at 68 and is within reach of the overall season record of 110 set by Utah’s Iwalani Rodrigues during the 2010-11 season.
“You’ve got to be really good at what you do to get that many 3s,” Jackson said. “… That’s impressive no matter what level or what style of basketball you are playing.”
Perhaps even more impressive are the sophomore lefty’s percentages. In Mountain West play, Lupfer is shooting 52.4 percent from the field, 51.5 percent from deep and 96.2 percent from the free-throw line. She has made 34 more 3-pointers than the next-best long-distance shooter in Mountain West games, and attempted 46 more than the second-place player.
“You can’t do it without practicing and getting up extra shots,” Lupfer said. “You just get in the gym.”
Men: Broncos host Air Force
Coach Leon Rice said his Broncos were “devastated” after losing at home in the closing minutes to No. 24 Nevada on Wednesday night.
But Boise State will need to turn that devastation into motivation in a hurry.
The Broncos (20-6, 10-4 MW) host Air Force (10-14, 4-8) at noon Saturday in Taco Bell Arena. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet and ROOT Sports.
“We’ll come back and go to work. That’s as simple as I can make it. You don’t want to complicate things,” Boise State senior Lexus Williams said after Wednesday’s loss. “… We’ve got four games ahead of us, and we want to win all four.”
Boise State, which has lost two in a row, will try to avoid its first three-game losing streak since the 2014-15 season.
Notes: Saturday’s game will be a “Black Out,” as the team will be wearing its all-black uniforms for just the second time this season and fans are encouraged to wear black as well. … The 2018 NCAA men’s basketball national championship trophy will be on display at Saturday’s game. … Earlier this week, Boise State senior Chandler Hutchison was named one of 30 finalists for the 50th Citizen Naismith Trophy, which is presented annually to college basketball’s most outstanding player.
Gymnastics: High-scoring showing
The Boise State gymnastics team beat Utah State on Friday night at Taco Bell Arena with a season-high score of 196.875. Courtney McGregor won the all-around with a 39.5. Shani Remme added a 9.95 on floor. Utah State scored 194.9.