BOISE — The Boise State women's basketball team didn't just overcome a previous loss to San Jose State on Wednesday. The Broncos avenged the loss with a resounding statement.
Boise State had five players score in double figures, just the third time that's happened this season, as the Broncos posted what was arguably their most impressive win in Mountain West play this season, a 85-67 victory.
“We wanted to get that revenge,” senior Jayde Christopher said, referring to the Broncos' 74-61 loss in San Jose on Jan. 29. “So we came out and played as a team, played as a unit, played as a family. On and off the court, that's what we're trying to do. We took it personal.”
With the win Boise State (19-9, 11-5 Mountain West) took sole possession of second place in the Mountain West standings. With wins Saturday at New Mexico and Monday against UNLV in their regular-season finale at ExtraMile Arena, the Broncos will take the No. 2 seed into next month's Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas.
“There was a big game in our league, Air Force beat (conference leader) Fresno State tonight,” said Boise State coach Gordy Presnell. “So maybe other teams in our league are vulnerable, too, and maybe we can start getting on a roll. We'll have a really hard environment in New Mexico, there will be 5-6,000 (people) there. So that will be interesting to see how we handle that. But just for the seniors, it was the second-to-last (home) game, and that timing that we haven't had, I felt great about it.”
A'Shanti Coleman (20 points), Riley Lupfer (18), Christopher (14), Mallory McGwire (13) and Jade Loville (11) all scored in double figures, the first win Boise State has had five players with double digits since an 88-34 win against Lewis-Clark State in the season opener. They also had five in a 85-80 loss to Fresno State on Jan. 25.
Boise State also had a 20-point lead for much of the second quarter, which would have been its largest margin of victory in Mountain West play if not for a Spartan jump shot in the final minute of the game. The 85 points scored by the Broncos only trailed the win against Lewis-Clark State and a 86-72 win against San Diego State on Jan. 11 as the most this season.
“We have people who are starters that can contribute and we've got people on the bench when we're tired or not producing as starters, they can come in and do the same things we can do,” said Coleman. “We have some killers on the team.”
Boise State's highlights on the stat sheet wasn't just limited to the points column. Lupfer had all 18 of her points on six 3-pointers, with five coming in the second half, including a 4-for-4 effort in the fourth quarter. Coleman, a senior who had her first career double-double in the loss to San Jose State, just missed out on another Wednesday, pulling down a team-high nine rebounds.
But the highlight of the stat sheet might have come from Christopher, who recorded here second-straight 12-assist game and now has five of the top-nine single-game assist performances in school history.
And even the stat sheet might not have done her performance justice. Many of her assists came on no-look passes to open teammates, who in turn got the easy buckets.
“She has this innate ability to see a second ahead,” Presnell said. “She has great physical strength and she can throw a ball on a dime. She's just the greatest kid in the world, and it's been so fun to be a part of her life for three years. She's so funny and personable and boy, is she an electric player.”
Boise State was able to jump on the Spartans early, taking a 19-9 lead after the first quarter, keeping the Spartans to 2-of-15 shooting. San Jose State (15-11, 9-6) cut the lead to 32-26 with two minutes left in the first half, but a 6-0 run by Boise State put the lead back at double-digits for the Broncos, who led 38-28 at halftime.
The Spartans cut it back down to eight early in the third quarter, but a 3-pointer by McGwire sparked an 11-2 run for the Broncos, who didn't see the lead get under 15 the rest of the way.
With the victory, Boise State picked up its third win in a row. The Broncos are now hoping to translate Wednesday night's effort into the final two regular season games, and the Mountain West Tournament, where the Broncos have come away as champions the last three seasons.
“I think it starts right now,” Christopher said about a late-season push. “It's not about wins or losses, just staying together. I think that shows on the court. I know we got this win, but later down the line, that's what matters as well.”