Broncos, Lobos In Battle Of MW Unbeatens
Jan. 2, 2018

Boise State (8-5, 2-0 MW) at New Mexico (14-1, 2-0 MW)
Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2017
Albuquerque, N.M. - Dreamstyle Arena

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Watch | Listen

BOISE, Idaho - Boise State (8-5, 2-0 MW) aims for its first 3-0 start to Mountain West play Wednesday as it visits New Mexico (14-1, 2-0 MW) for a 7 p.m. tip. The Broncos will return to Taco Bell Arena, finishing the week with a Saturday contest against Wyoming at 2 p.m.

Boise State made it two in a row to open Mountain West play with last Saturday’s 69-60 victory over UNLV. The Broncos have now begun conference play 2-0 in each of the past two seasons.

Riley Lupfer had a career day for the Broncos, setting personal benchmarks in scoring (28 points), field goals made (nine), and 3-pointers made (seven) in the victory.

With the game tied, 16-16, after a quarter, Boise State broke the game open with a 12-2 run to end the first half. Lupfer hit a key 3-pointer in the run, while Tess Amundsen scored all seven of her points on the day in the quarter, including a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to put the Broncos in front, 38-24, at the break.

Boise State’s challenging start to Mountain West play continues Wednesday, as the Broncos travel to Albuquerque to take on New Mexico (14-1, 2-0 MW). Wednesday’s contest will pit (no pun intended) the Mountain West’s only remaining unbeaten teams.

The Lobos, with Mike Bradbury in his second year at the helm, are led on the court by four players scoring in double figures. Tesha Buck leads the way with 15.9 points per game, while Cherise Beynon averages 15.2 points and 6.73 assists per game, Jaisa Nunn scores 14.6 points and grabs 10.6 rebounds a game, and Alex Lapeyrolerie scores 11.7 points per game.

Sophomore guard Riley Lupfer was named Mountain West Player of the Week Tuesday, the first honor of her career as well as this season for the Broncos.

Lupfer averaged 19.5 points and shot 50.0 percent (10-for-20) from behind the arc over Boise State’s wins at Colorado State and against UNLV, punctuating her week with a career day against the Lady Rebels that including personal benchmarks of 28 points, nine field goals, and seven 3-pointers made.

Two days earlier, at Colorado State, Lupfer scored 11 points, including a pair of key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as the Broncos completed a 12-point comeback for the 62-58 victory.

While Boise State is 2-0 in Mountain West play for the second-straight season, and the fourth time since joining the conference in 2011-12, the Broncos have a chance this Wednesday to post the program’s first 3-0 start to Mountain West play.

In fact, the last time Boise State opened a conference season 3-0 was 2006-07, when the Broncos won eight-straight to open WAC play en route to the regular season and tournament titles.

While New Mexico’s home arena is now known as Dreamstyle Arena, as opposed to “The Pit,” Boise State has found success at the rowdy locale in Mountain West play, splitting it’s six games there.

The teams have alternated winning those six contests, with Boise State taking the even-year meetings (2012, 2014, 2016), and New Mexico capturing the odd-year contests (2013, 2015, 2017). With Wednesday’s meeting being the 2018 meeting, perhaps fate is tipping the Broncos?

Redshirt sophomore guard Ellie Woerner put in a strong start to her first Mountain West campaign. After sitting out the 2016-17 due to NCAA transfer rules, Woerner, formerly of Portland, averaged 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.50 assists over Boise State’s wins at Colorado State and against UNLV.

Woerner was key to the Broncos’ victory at Colorado State, matching her season high of 13 points, and going 6-for-6 from the line. Two days later, she added nine points, six rebounds, and five assists in the home win against UNLV.

Junior forward Joyce Harrell has made an early case as Boise State’s most improved player this season with her play since starting center Marijke Vanderschaaf went down with a season-ending injury in the early moments of Dec. 7’s contest against Washington.

Since stepping in to replace Vanderschaaf against the Huskies, Harrell has averaged 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds over 20.4 minutes per game, and shot 59.5 percent (25-for-42) from the field.

Over Boise State’s 2-0 start to Mountain West play, Harrell was again tough for the Broncos, averaging 8.0 points and 7.0 rebounds, with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting Dec. 28 at Colorado State.

Boise State, on its second three-game winning streak of the season, owes this current one partially to its improved shooting from 3-point range of late. Over the last three games, Boise State is hitting from deep at a 40.0-percent clip (28-for-70), and hit a season-high 12 treys in two of those contests (Dec. 21 against St. Francis, Dec. 30 against UNLV).

During this span, guard Riley Lupfer leads the Broncos with 14 treys, hitting at a 48.3-percent clip (14-for-29), while Braydey Hodgins (55.6 percent - 5-for-9) and freshman Tess Amundsen (40.0 percent - 2-for-5) have also helped. On her own, however, Lupfer has accounted for half of Boise State’s 3-pointers over the last three games.

One big factor in Boise State’s victory over UNLV was the Broncos’ 12-2 second half-ending run, which broke open a four-point game and gave the Broncos a 38-24 lead at the break.

Key to this run was freshman forward Tess Amundsen, who scored all seven of her points for the game in the final 2:49 of the first half. Her run began with a pair of frer throws to make it 30-22 Broncos, continued with a steal and coast-to-coast layup with 51 seconds left ot make it 35-24, and finished with a 3-pointer with six seconds remaining.

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