Broncos Finish Sweep Of Rams, 55-49
Feb. 21, 2018

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BOISE, Idaho - Boise State continued its recent trend of grinding out victories down the stretch, holding Colorado State to just 5-of-19 shooting, including 0-for-7 from 3-point range, in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's 55-49 victory at Taco Bell Arena. The win clinched a first-round bye at the Mountain West Tournament for the Broncos, and, combined with New Mexico's loss to Wyoming, cemented at least the event's No. 4 seed for Boise State.

Sophomore guard Braydey Hodgins scored seven of her 14 points in the fourth, beginning with a 3-pointer which gave Boise State (18-9, 12-4 MW) a 49-42 lead with 5:34 to play. Hodgins would then go 4-for-4 from the line over the final 1:32 to help seal the win.

"I was pleased the way we performed down the stretch. I don't know if we would've won that game before Christmas," said Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell. "In these scenarios, I think we have improved. We tried to execute, but they are a very good defensive and well-coached team."

The Bronco defense, meanwhile, held the Rams (18-9, 10-6 MW) to 3-for-14 from the field after Hodgins' trey, including 0-for-6 over a stretch of 3:12 following Sofie Tryggedsson's jumper with 5:16 to go. Boise State didn't take advantage, however, going scoreless for 4:02 until Hodgins drew a foul and hit both free throws to make it 51-46 with 1:32 to play. After three misses from Colorado State over its next two trips down, Hodgins again got to the line and sank both freebies, upping the Bronco lead to seven with 33 seconds to go. Hannah Tvrdy, who led the Rams with 18 points on the night, converted a three-point play to cut Boise State's lead to four at 53-49 with 31 seconds to go, but Riley Lupfer, who led the Broncos with 17 points, sank two more free throws with 26 seconds on the clock, and the Bronco defense forced misses from Grace Colaibalu and Tvrdy as the clock expired.

"I think it was just confidence. We are on a five-game winning streak, and that builds confidence. Just wanting it, we want to get to the top. We have all the aspects to do that," Hodgins said of the team's confidence during the game.

Neither team truly found a rhythm in the contest, as the Broncos shot just 30.9 percent (17-for-55) while the Rams hit just 29.0 percent of its shots (18-for-62). Lupfer went 3-for-5 from 3-point range as the Broncos were 8-of-18 from deep in the contest, with Colorado State hitting just six of its 26 attempts.

Boise State made its chances at the line count, however, missing just once in 14 attempts, and going 12-for-12 in the second half. Lupfer led the way, going 6-for-6, with Hodgins 4-for-4. Ellie Woerner finished with seven points, going 2-for-2 from 3-point range.

"I thought Braydey stepped up tonight. She defended pretty well, she got stuck with the ball at the end of some shot clocks. She bailed us out, and played a great game," Presnell said.

The Broncos, for the second-straight game, overcame a sluggish start with a strong second quarter. Following Lupfer's game-opening 3-pointer just 42 seconds into the contest, the Broncos suffered a scoreless drought of 5:43 as Colorado State scored 10-straight behind treys from Tvrdy and Stine Austgulen. But the Rams would cool off, going 1-for-8 the rest of the quarter, while Boise State chipped away with a bucket from Hodgins and treys from Lupfer and Woerner to close to 13-11.

Woerner kickstarted a short Bronco run halfway through the second, hitting a 3-pointer to give the Broncos an 18-17 lead, and, following a steal by Marta Hermida, Hodgins drained a rainbow trey to up the lead to four and force a Colorado State timeout. The margin would remina at four into the final minute of the half, before Hermida's triple with 15 seconds left gave Boise State a 29-22 lead at the break.

Boise State will have its final bye of the regular season this Saturday, and return to action Tuesday (Feb. 27), hosting San Diego State for Senior Night at 7 p.m.

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