Boise State Basketball

Statement win slips through Boise State’s grasp in Preseason WNIT quarterfinal

Boise State guard Riley Lupfer crouched down and smacked the hardwood with both hands after watching her game-tying 3-pointer roll in and out at the buzzer.

“I don’t really let anger come out like that, but I was pretty mad,” Lupfer said. “I hit kind of the same shot right before that, and I thought it was going down. I thought it had a good chance, so to see it rim out. If you’re a shooter, you know what rimming out feels like. It’s probably one of the worst misses you can have.”

The Broncos women’s basketball team left ExtraMile Arena disappointed Sunday afternoon after letting a close game slip away in the final minutes. Missouri State earned the Preseason WNIT semifinal spot Boise State desperately wanted with a 72-69 victory on the Broncos’ home court.

Missouri State was an NCAA Sweet 16 team last year, and a win would have increased Boise State’s chance of cracking the Top 25.

“I think there’s a lot we can learn from it,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “It’s certainly not a moral victory. We thought we could win, and we thought we could advance in this tournament. But overall I thought we played pretty hard.”

In a back-and-forth contest that included nine lead changes and eight ties, Boise State’s last lead of the game at 48-46 came with 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Broncos were able to tie the game at 60-60 and again at 62-62 with 5:08 on the clock in the fourth quarter and were down just 67-66 with 1:24 left.

But the Broncos committed two turnovers in the final minute and found themselves behind 70-66 with 23.9 seconds to go. They still didn’t back down.

Following a timeout, Lupfer escaped a double team and made a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 70-69 with 12 seconds left. The Broncos immediately fouled Missouri State guard Mya Bhinhar, who made both free throws before Lupfer’s final attempt rimmed out.

Lupfer finished with 18 points and five 3-pointers, four of which came in the first quarter. She is now three triples away from tying the program’s career record of 260.

“She does not quit,” Boise State junior Mallory McGwire said. “I mean, she grinds to the last second. If we’re down by 10 with 2 seconds left, she will fight like we’re up one. She’s just a great competitor.”

McGwire contributed a double-double of 19 points and 17 rebounds. The 6-foot-5 transfer from Oregon took over in the second half, taking advantage of double-teams on the Broncos’ guards that often left her one-on-one in the paint. McGwire also knocked down one 3-pointer and hit a number of open jumpers.

“I thought Mallory was terrific,” Presnell said.

Boise State senior guard Braydey Hodgins added 10 points, five assists and four rebounds, and sophomore guard Jade Loville had nine points off the bench.

“This is a stepping stone for us,” McGwire said. “I know it’s kind of a setback, but I think this just gives us more momentum with whoever our next high-seeded team is that we play.”

The Lady Bears (3-0) will face Oklahoma and Boise High graduate Mandy Simpson in the Preseason WNIT semifinals later this week. The Broncos (2-1) will wrap up tournament play with a consolation game Friday or Saturday. The game location and opponent will be determined after the remaining quarterfinal matchups are played Monday night.

“You just have to bounce back. You have to get better,” Lupfer said. “There’s nothing we can do to change this game, so we get back to the drawing board. We get to practice and we’re like, ‘Alright, what do we do to get better?’ ”

MISSOURI ST. 72, BOISE ST. 69

MISSOURI ST. (3-0)

Brice Calip 6-14 4-5 17; Abby Hipp 7-7 0-0 14; Alexa Willard 6-12 0-1 13; Mya Bhinhar 3-11 4-4 10; Elle Ruffridge 3-4 0-0 9; Emily Gartner 2-6 2-4 6; Shameka Ealy 1-2 0-0 3; Sydney Manning 0-1 0-0 0; Jasmine Franklin 0-7 0-0 0; Sydney Wilson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-64 10-14 72.

BOISE ST. (2-1)

Mallory McGwire 9-16 0-0 19; Riley Lupfer 6-13 1-2 18; Braydey Hodgins 3-8 4-6 10; Jade Loville 4-6 0-0 9; A’Shanti Coleman 3-8 2-3 8; Ellie Woerner 1-2 0-2 3; Jayde Christopher 1-6 0-0 2; Rachel Bowers 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-60 7-13 69.

Missouri St................... 18 20 20 14 — 72

Boise St...................... 18 13 21 17 — 69

3-point goals — Missouri St. 6-12 (Ruffridge 3-4; Ealy 1-2; Willard 1-2; Calip 1-3; Bhinhar 0-1), Boise St. 8-28 (Lupfer 5-12; Loville 1-3; Woerner 1-2; McGwire 1-3; Bowers 0-1; Christopher 0-1; Coleman 0-1; Hodgins 0-5). Fouled out — Missouri St.-Franklin, Boise St.-None. Rebounds — Missouri St. 37 (Franklin 9), Boise St. 35 (McGwire 17). Assists — Missouri St. 16 (Bhinhar 7), Boise St. 14 (Christopher 6). Total fouls — Missouri St. 16, Boise St. 16. Technical fouls — None. A — 910.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman

  Comments