LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Brooke Pahukoa scored 17 points to lead Boise State past the Fresno State Bulldogs 66-53 Friday afternoon in the Mountain West Tournament Championship game at Las Vegas. Pahukoa was named the MW Championship MVP for the second time after the game. Yaiza Rodriguez followed with 12 points and team-high five assists, while Shalen Shaw added 12 points and team-high nine rebounds.
The victory gives the Broncos a school record 25 wins as they improved to 25-7 overall. They have also clinched their fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history. The Broncos will find out their travel plans Monday at 5 p.m. (Mountain) during the broadcast of the NCAA Selection Show on ESPN.
Boise State used a decisive 12-4 run to open the third quarter to take control stretching a two-point halftime lead to 42-32 midway through the period. Boise State then pushed its lead to 12 on three occasions before taking a 48-42 lead into the fourth.
The Broncos put it away in the fourth quarter outscoring the Bulldogs 18-11 to claim their second Mountain West Tournament Championship in three years and their third conference tournament title in program history, all under head coach Gordy Presnell.
Brooke Pahukoa scored 10 of Boise State's 18 fourth quarter points to help the Broncos close the victory out. She finished with a team-high 17 points to go with six rebounds, two assists and one steal. The school record holder for free-throw percentage went 7-of-7 from the line, including six in the fourth quarter.
Pahukoa tallied 53 points to average 17.7 to go with 4.7 rebounds during the three games at the tournament. The senior from Lake Stevens, Wash., was awarded for her performance by being named the MW Championship MVP for the second time having earned the same honor in 2015. Pahukoa is only the second player in MW Tournament history to be named MVP more than once, Dionne Marsh from New Mexico accomplished it three times in her career. In addition, her 17 points pushed her into eight-place on the Bronco career scoring list with 1,339.
Rodriguez finished with 12 points, two rebounds and five assists in 38 minutes. The Barcelona, Spain, native hit 3-of-5 triples during the game. The last came with 4:08 to play to give the Broncos an eight-point 55-47 lead. The Bulldogs could get no closer than six after that. Rodriguez was named to the MW Championship All-Tournament Team for the second time (2015).
Boise State outscored Fresno State 11-6 ─ six came on Brooke Pahukoa free throws ─ in the final four minutes to take the 66-53 win.
Shaw just missed a double-double finishing with 12 points, team-high nine rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal. The junior from Reno, Nev., entered the game needing two assists in order to become the second player in Boise State history to record 800 points, 600 rebounds and 200 assists, she had three against the Bulldogs to join Connie Sandland (1980-84) in the club.
Once again, Boise State had a balanced scoring attack with five players tallying eight or more points. Joining Brooke Pahukoa, Rodriguez and Shaw in that group were Marijke Vanderschaaf with eight and five rebounds, while Marta Hermida had eight points and four rebounds.
Joyce Harrell had two points, five rebounds, one assist, one block and two steals.
Boise State finished the game shooting 33.8 percent from the floor, 30 percent (6-20) from beyond the arc and 80 percent (16-20) from the free-throw line.
The Broncos committed just six turnovers during the game while forcing the Bulldogs into 15 for a 13-to-0 advantage in points off turnovers.
Fresno State shot 31.5 percent from the floor, 33.3 percent (3-9) from the arc and 94.1 percent (16-17) from the charity stripe. Fresno State opened the game making two straight 3-pointers to go up 6-0, it made only one more the rest of the game.
Boise State is now 18-1 when holding opponents to below 40 percent shooting from the floor. The bench also outscored Fresno State's 19-to-9 as the Broncos improved to 19-4 when the bench out plays the opponent's.
Candice White led Fresno State with 14 points, followed by Bego Faz Davalos with a double-double on 11 points and team-high 14 rebounds.