Boise State’s day started with a shootaround at 7 a.m.
Even then, the feeling was evident.
“We have these good practices before a game, and it’s a good vibe,” Boise State junior Riley Lupfer said. “And we have this feeling between us all that no matter what happens, no matter how we start, no matter how the middle of the game is, that at the end we’re going to finish, play our basketball, and we’re going to come out with the win.”
Perhaps nobody had that feeling more than Braydey Hodgins.
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The Boise State junior guard set a Mountain West Tournament single-game record with 37 points to carry the top-seeded Broncos to a 72-67 victory over the No. 8 Wolf Pack on Monday in the women’s quarterfinals at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Hodgins’ 37 points broke the previous record of 36 set by UNLV’s Constance Jinks in 2002 and pushed Boise State’s win total to 26 — a single-season program record. Hodgins was two points short of tying the school record of 39 points set by Miquelle Askew on Jan. 20, 2016.
“Braydey is an exceptional player and has this ability to play in pressure situations and excel,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “She’s just as happy when someone else shines and maybe she doesn’t score as much, but tonight was her night.”
Hodgins finished 10-for-18 (55.5 percent) from the floor and 14-for-15 (93.3 percent) from the free-throw line with four assists, two steals, two rebounds and one blocked shot. Her 14 made free throws and 15 attempts each tied tournament single-game records.
“It doesn’t really mean anything personally,” Hodgins said of the records. “I just want to win this thing and do it next to people like Riley (Lupfer) and all of our other teammates. We just have such a great bond, and no matter who is performing, we’re all happy for them. Luckily it was me today, but tomorrow it might be someone else.”
Boise State (26-4) will play No. 4 Fresno State (19-11) at 7 p.m. MT Tuesday in the semifinals. The Bulldogs downed No. 5 UNLV 66-55 in the quarterfinals. The Broncos have won their past six games against Fresno State.
Hodgins was the first to score for the Broncos in their 2019 tournament opener against Nevada. She sank a triple 1 minute, 7 seconds into the game, but did not score again until the start of the second quarter.
The Pasco, Washington, native tallied 17 of her 20 first-half points in the second quarter, closing out the half with 13 points over the final 4:06 for a 39-37 Boise State lead. Hodgins was 5-for-8 from the floor, including three 3-pointers, and 7-for-8 from the free-throw line. But the rest of the Broncos combined to shoot just 26 percent (6-for-23) from the field and were outrebounded 23-14 in the first 20 minutes of play.
“Tough game. I mean, we didn’t expect it like that,” Hodgins said. “But we knew Nevada was going to come out swinging. They did it last year in the championship, and they did it again tonight.”
No other Broncos scored in double figures. Lupfer was Boise State’s next highest scorer with nine points, and freshman Rachel Bowers managed seven points and three rebounds in just 9 minutes off the bench. Junior point guard Jayde Christopher chipped in seven points, three steals and two assists, and senior Joyce Harrell pulled down a team-best six rebounds against the Wolf Pack (12-19).
“Braydey can go out and drop 50 tomorrow,” Lupfer said. “But if the scoreboard says we win, we win. That’s all that matters.”
Monday’s quarterfinal was a rematch of last year’s Mountain West Tournament championship game, which Boise State won 62-60 on a last-second putback by A’Shanti Coleman. The Wolf Pack created another nailbiter by outscoring the Broncos 11-0 to tie the game at 67-67 with 2:03 on the clock in the fourth quarter.
But Boise State’s big-game experience prevailed, particularly on the defensive end. Nevada’s final three possessions resulted in a turnover, blocked shot and off-balance 3-pointer. The Broncos then made 5-of-8 free throws in the final 1:32 to squash the Wolf Pack’s upset bid.
“We have a lot of experience here with a lot of our returners. But still, for the freshmen, it’s a shell shock, pressure environment,” Hodgins said. “So it’s hard when you’re the one seed, or one through five, and you haven’t played a game. Nevada already had a game under their belt. They kind of felt the court out a little bit, felt their shot, and they were feeling it early.
“So we have to be able to sustain those runs and be able to go on bigger runs ourselves. Like Riley said, that feeling we get, they went on an 11-0 run to tie it up, but I never thought once we were going to lose that game.”
Notes: The Broncos are going for their third straight Mountain West Tournament title and fourth in five seasons. ... Boise State’s tournament semifinal on Tuesday will be streamed online at WatchStadium.com and on the radio at 1350 AM.
Men’s basketball: Three Broncos recognized by media
Boise State’s Justinian Jessup, Derrick Alston and Alex Hobbs were named to the All-Mountain West men’s basketball team in an independent vote of media members covering the league.
Jessup landed on the third team, while Alston and Hobbs were each honorable-mention picks.
Voting was conducted by media directly covering teams in 10 of the 11 league markets as well as one at-large media member. Invitations to media in all 11 markets were extended.
BOISE STATE 72, NEVADA 67
REDMON, Jade 11-15 2-2 25; BRIGGS, Terae 6-9 1-4 14; KING, Camariah 4-9 0-0 11; TORBERT, Emma 2-7 2-2 7; BOOKER, Essence 1-3 4-4 6; DEARTH, Kristin 1-1 0-0 2; LACY, Imani 0-3 2-2 2; CHRISTIAN, Mikayla 0-1 0-0 0; HAMILTON, Da’Ja 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 25-50 11-14 67.
BOISE STATE (26-4)
HODGINS, Braydey 10-18 14-15 37; LUPFER, Riley 3-10 0-2 9; CHRISTOPHER, Jayde 3-9 0-0 7; BOWERS, Rachel 3-4 1-1 7; HERMIDA, Marta 1-7 2-2 4; WOERNER, Ellie 0-0 2-4 2; COLEMAN, A’Shanti 1-5 0-2 2; HARRELL, Joyce 0-2 2-2 2; VANDERSCHAAF, Marijke 1-1 0-0 2; AMUNDSEN, Tess 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-57 21-28 72.
Nevada..................... 13 24 15 15 — 67
Boise State................ 13 26 19 14 — 72
3-point goals — Nevada 6-12 (KING, Camariah 3-5; TORBERT, Emma 1-4; REDMON, Jade 1-1; BRIGGS, Terae 1-1; CHRISTIAN, Mikayla 0-1), Boise State 7-24 (LUPFER, Riley 3-8; HODGINS, Braydey 3-8; CHRISTOPHER, Jayde 1-4; AMUNDSEN, Tess 0-1; HERMIDA, Marta 0-3). Fouled out — Nevada-KING, Camariah, Boise State-None. Rebounds — Nevada 38 (TORBERT, Emma 9), Boise State 26 (HARRELL, Joyce 6). Assists — Nevada 18 (KING, Camariah 8), Boise State 12 (HODGINS, Braydey 4). Total fouls — Nevada 20, Boise State 17. Technical fouls — None.