BOISE — This time there was no fourth quarter let down. Jade Loville made sure of it.
The sophomore scored 11 of her career-high 21 points in the fourth quarter Saturday as the Boise State women’s basketball team kept San Diego State from getting back into the game and took a 86-72 win, three days after a fourth quarter collapse at UNLV.
“It feels good to get into the mix and contribute any way I can,” said Loville, whose previous career-high had been 18 points in a loss to Washington State last season. “The trust from my coaches is everything and I just want to pay it back to them and do the right thing on the court and make the right decisions.”
Loville led a strong effort from the Boise State bench, which matched a season-high with 40 points. Ellie Woerner had 10 points and Rachel Bowers scored nine, helping the Broncos (12-6, 4-2 Mountain West) overcome early foul trouble to Mallory McGwire, who left with her second foul with 4:36 to go in the first quarter and remained on the bench the entire second quarter.
Woerner had seven of her points during that second quarter, while Bowers had five, as Boise State got 16 points from the bench in that quarter to turn a 17-14 deficit after the first period into a 43-31 halftime lead.
“Other teams aren’t able to guard just one person,” Woerner said about the bench play. “When we have other people that can go off each game, you have to play us honest. You can’t just guard one player knowing they’re going to score a majority of our points, because anyone can step up.”
On Saturday, that person stepping up was Loville. Having seen an 18-point lead in the third quarter slip down to seven, she took over in the fourth quarter and made sure the Aztecs (8-10, 3-3) were never able to get back into the game.
She scored the first four points of the fourth quarter, extending the Boise State lead to 70-56, then after San Diego State ended Boise State’s 6-0 run with a basket, Loville answered with a 3-pointer to make it 75-60.
Loville had another pair of back-to-back baskets to make it 79-62, giving the Broncos a comfortable lead with six minutes left in the game.
“I just think the patience was there for me,” said Loville. “Going into our offensive (sets), I’ve been able to find my shot, take my time and trust the ball is going to come back. That’s when I’m at my best.”
On Wednesday, Boise State held an 11-point lead with 8:30 to go in Las Vegas, but the Rebels came back to take a 66-65 win. Shortly before the Broncos left for that game on Tuesday, Boise State placed assistant coach Cody Butler on administrative leave after it was alerted to a lawsuit filed against him in May in the state of Washington.
The lawsuit stems from allegations that he allegedly sexually abused and harassed a former player when he was coaching at Yakima Valley Community College in the early 2000s. Boise State says it was unaware of the lawsuit prior to Tuesday.
Less then 24 hours after the news broke, the Broncos had to play an afternoon road game.
“It’s a week like none other,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “We had an 11-point lead (slip away) with eight minutes to go and four or five seniors on the floor. That doesn’t happen very often. Wednesday night coming home was tough, but our kids are a resilient bunch. They came back Thursday, we had a good practice, and Friday they were into it.”
Presnell admitted he was a little worried with the lull late in the third quarter Saturday, which allowed San Diego State to get back into the game. A 3-pointer by Riley Lupfer, her first points of the game, put Boise State ahead 53-35 less than three minutes into the second half before the Aztecs mounted runs of 7-0 and 6-0 to cut the lead down to 63-56 with a minute to go in the third.
Woerner answered with a three-point play to bring the lead back to 10 and after the 6-0 run to start the fourth quarter, San Diego State never got the lead to single digits again.
“We’ve been trying to sustain our lead, we know we’ve had leads before and we let them go,” said Woerner. “So today it was just focusing on sustaining that lead and we sustained it by doing what we had been doing all game long: Having energy, having fun out there, talking a lot on defense. We were confident we were going to be able to hold that lead.”
A’Shanti Coleman had 14 points for Boise State, while McGwire scored 13. Braydey Hodgins matched a career-high with 10 assists.
Boise State, which won its 17th straight Mountain West home game, is back at ExtraMile Arena on Wednesday for a game against Air Force before hitting the road Saturday to face Utah State.