Hermida Clutch Again In Bronco Win
Feb. 10, 2018

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BOISE, Idaho - For the second-straight game, guard Marta Hermida took charge late and carried the Broncos to victory, scoring the final seven points of Saturday's 68-60 victory over Utah State at Taco Bell Arena.

The Broncos, after overcoming a 10-point deficit in the third quarter, clung to a 61-60 lead with 1:40 to play when Hermida, three days after scoring the team's final nine points in a win over New Mexico, stepped up once more, hitting a 3-pointer with 1:11 to play, then going 4-for-4 from the line in the final minute to finish a 21-point performance. The Madrid, Spain, native went 5-for-6 from the line and scored 11 points in the final frame Saturday, a game after pouring in 13 points and going 7-for-8 from the line in Wednesday's 91-85 win over New Mexico.

"I stopped thinking. It's funny to say this, but, free throws, I don't know how many free throws I do every single day but it's something you work at every day," Hermida said. "The last two or three games I was really nervous on the free throws, I was not sure about myself, but I was like, hey Marta, you've been shooting these since like, you were five, you can do it.

It was Hermida's second-straight 20-point performance, and third of the season, and, also for the second game in a row, fellow guard Riley Lupfer hit the 20-point mark, finishing with 24 on 7-of-16 shooting that included a 5-for-11 showing from 3-point range.

"Marta is a real talent, and she's athletic, and quick. She's just responded and played really hard; she's a team player," said Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell. "It's been a really good week for her, and hopefully that helps us finish the season strong."

The pair took over the second half after Boise State (15-9, 9-4 MW) trailed the Aggies, 31-29 at the break. Hermida, with just two points on 1-for-4 shooting over the first 20 minutes, was 5-for-7 the rest of the way, while Lupfer went 3-for-6 from behind the arc and scored 13 points over the final two quarters.

The story looked to be going the other way in the opening minutes of the half, however, as Utah State (5-19, 3-10 MW) used a 10-2 run to stretch its lead from two at the break to 10 at 41-31 with 5:53 to go in the third quarter. Victoria Price, who scored 12 points Saturday, scored the first four of the half while Shannon Dufficy, who finished with a team-high 13, added four of her own. The run continued the Aggies' strong finish to the opening half, where five points from Hailey Bassett sparked 12-straight points that brought Utah State back from down seven at 26-19 to up five at 31-26 1:18 before halftime.

After Rachel Brewster hit two free throws to give Utah State it's largest lead of the game at 41-31, Hermida and Lupfer each got to the line and sank a pair of free throws on the next two Bronco possessions, bringing Boise State to within six at 41-35. Boise State's defense would also come to life, holding the Aggies to just one field goal and forcing three turnovers over a span of 4:31 while Lupfer capped a 17-2 Bronco run with eight points, including two treys, over three Bronco possessions. Lupfer's run, followed by a layup from Hermida, put Boise State in front, 48-43, with 1:22 left in the third quarter.

"I thought we competed down the stretch of the game, and made some big plays. Marta had a pretty poor first half, then she responded, got off the mat and really played terrific," Presnell said. "Riley really kept us in the game, A'Shanti had big boards, and Joyce Harrell had big boards."

Leading 50-46 entering the fourth, Boise State needed just 1:45 to stretch the lead out to 10 as A'Shanti Coleman, who finished with eight points and eight rebounds, scored the first four points of the frame, followed by the first of Hermida's two treys in the contest.

Utah State would fight back, however, as six-straight points from Olivia West helped get the Aggies to within five at 58-53 with 4:35 to play. Lupfer answered Brewster's jumper with a trey a minute later, getting the Broncos back up six, but Price's 3-pointer from the top of the key, and Dufficy's follow of a missed Brewster trey closed the Aggies to within a point at 61-60, forcing a Boise State timeout.

Utah State's confidence was short-lived, as Hermida hit her 3-pointer right out of the timeout, and the Bronco defense forced two turnovers and held the Aggies to just one field-goal attempt over the final 1:11.

Boise State, just a half-game out of first place following the win, faces two road games next week, beginning with Wednesday's 7:30 p.m. MT tip at Nevada. Following the game against the Wolf Pack, the Broncos will travel to Colorado Springs to face Air Force Saturday afternoon.

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