Boise State Basketball

Boise State women make semifinal win look easy; NCAA berth one step away

Boise State guard Braydey Hodgins had 25 points and five assists to lead Boise State to a 76-51 win over Colorado State in the Mountain West Tournament semifinals Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Boise State guard Braydey Hodgins had 25 points and five assists to lead Boise State to a 76-51 win over Colorado State in the Mountain West Tournament semifinals Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. NCAA Photos

Braydey Hodgins only averaged 2.7 points and 9.7 minutes per game during last year’s Mountain West women’s basketball tournament.

But those limited minutes on the court — and considerable observation time from the bench — are proving invaluable to the Boise State point guard in 2018.

For the second time in three games, Hodgins set a new career high in scoring, going a scorching 8-for-11 from the field for a game-best 25 points as Boise State took down Colorado State 76-51 on Wednesday in the Mountain West Tournament semifinals at the Thomas & Mack Center.

“Playing behind (former Boise State guard) Yaiza (Rodriguez), she’s definitely a championship-caliber player, and that just prepared me to come in,” Hodgins said. “Yaiza took care of the ball and (I learned) from her that I need to take care of the ball in order to stay in the game and to get our teammates good possessions and to get myself good possessions.”

I think she’s a competitor, and I think she’s a bulldog. She’s kind of jumped in with both feet. She was afraid of making turnovers in the past, and I don’t think she has that same fear.

Gordy Presnell, Boise State coach on guard Braydey Hodgins

The victory puts the Broncos in the championship game for the second straight year and third time in four seasons and increases their winning streak to nine games.

Top-seeded Boise State (22-9) will play No. 7 Nevada (16-15) in the title game at 1 p.m. MT Friday. A win would secure the Broncos their third appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the past four seasons.

“Our kids are real receptive to adversity right now. Before Christmas we weren’t. We were 5-5 and lost four games with double-digit leads in the fourth quarter,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “They have gotten after it, gotten tougher and believed in each other.”

Boise State was 1-for-11 from the floor early in the first quarter against the Rams (20-11) and fell behind by as many as seven points to start the second quarter.

But the Broncos went from cold to hot in a hurry, outscoring the Rams 18-3 over a four-minute stretch near the end of the first half. Freshman Tess Amundsen’s layup with 4:20 to go in the second quarter gave the Broncos their first lead, 20-19, and they never trailed again.

After shooting just 18.8 percent from the floor (3-for-16) in the first quarter, the Broncos made 11-of-15 (73.3 percent) in the second quarter to take control, eventually pushing their lead to 27 points in the final frame. They finished the game shooting 51.7 percent overall.

“Obviously if we can shoot as well as we shot today, we’ll be formidable,” Presnell said.

Junior guard Marta Hermida added 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists for the Broncos, Riley Lupfer had 12 points, and senior Shalen Shaw grabbed a game-leading 13 boards to go with six points, one assist and one steal.

“I think our coach challenged us with toughness, and I think we rose to the occasion, being able to produce down the stretch,” Hodgins said. “It’s a grind for everyone. It’s not just us that feels the soreness or tiredness and fatigue. I think being able to grind out games — we’ve had comeback games and had adversity, and we’ve been able to fight though that.”

Idaho State women 113, Weber State 109 (OT)

In a record-breaking performance, Idaho State overcame a 25-point, third-quarter deficit to upend Weber State in the Big Sky Tournament on Wednesday at the Reno (Nev.) Events Center.

The Bengals’ 113 points broke the program’s single-game scoring record of 108, a mark reached by the 1978 and 1982 squads. It also set the Big Sky Tournament single-game scoring record, surpassing Southern Utah’s 102 points in 2017.

Saylair Grandon led the Bengals (21-10) with a career-high 28 points.

Idaho State advances to the tournament semifinals for the third year in a row and will face No. 1 Northern Colorado at 1:05 p.m. MT on Friday.

Idaho women 78, Montana State 74

Mikayla Ferenz and Taylor Pierce combined for 48 points as Idaho led from wire-to-wire in a victory over Montana State in the Big Sky Tournament on Wednesday at the Reno (Nev.) Events Center.

Ferenz was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line and scored 12 of Idaho’s 21 fourth-quarter points to finish with a game-high 27. Pierce hit seven 3-pointers for 21 points and owns the Big Sky career record with 302.

The Vandals take on the winner of Wednesday’s late game between Eastern Washington and Portland State in the semifinals at 3:35 p.m. MT on Friday.

Rachel Roberts: 208-377-6422, @byrachelroberts

Mountain West Tournament schedules

At The Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas

All times Mountain

Women

Wednesday

Semifinals

Boise State 76, Colorado State 51

Nevada 67, Wyoming 63

Friday

Championship

Boise State vs. Nevada, 1 p.m.

Men

Wednesday

UNLV 97, Air Force 90, OT

Utah State 76, Colorado State 65

Wyoming 74, San Jose State 61

Thursday

Nevada vs. UNLV, 1 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Fresno State vs. San Diego State, 3:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

Boise State vs. Utah State, 7 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

New Mexico vs. Wyoming, 9:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

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