Hodgins

Boise State’s Braydey Hodgins looks to make a play against Wyoming Tuesday night during the semifinals of the Mountain West Tournament at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

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LAS VEGAS — The Boise State women’s basketball team may want to polish those dancing shoes.

It might want to dust off the history books as well.

The Broncos hung on to top No. 3 seed Wyoming 79-71 Tuesday night to advance to Wednesday’s championship game of the Mountain West Tournament.

Boise State is now just one win away from getting back to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year and the fifth time in the past six years — and from becoming the first team in league history to win four straight Mountain West Tournament titles.

The second-seeded Broncos will face No. 1 seed Fresno State at 9 p.m. MT Wednesday in a game that will air nationally on the CBS Sports Network.

“We’re ready,” Boise State’s Jade Loville said. “We’ve been working for this the whole season and now the day is here and we’re going to take advantage of it.”

A’Shanti Coleman had 20 points, Riley Lupfer had 13 and Loville had 12 for Boise State (23-9), which held Wyoming to 25% shooting in the fourth quarter (4 of 16).

Jayde Christopher had 10 assists, 10 rebounds and added six points for the Broncos, while Mallory McGwire and Braydey Hodgins each added 10 points.

Boise State blew four leads of at least 10 points during conference play, and let a 14-point lead slip to five in the fourth quarter. But the Broncos hit big shots down the stretch to hold off the Cowboys and win for the seventh consecutive game.

"We've had our share of failures down the stretch in games but this group has had a lot more successes down the stretch of the game and I think we were in the huddle in the final three, four minutes saying 'we've got to get this done,'" Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. "It was real positive and we just went out and executed pretty well."

Boise State made just 2 of 12 shots to start the game and trailed 9-2 before ripping off a quick 11-0 run to take a 13-9 lead.

Wyoming made 12 of its first 19 shots and led 26-25 midway through the second quarter before Boise State went on another big run — this time 14-0 to take a 39-26 lead with 2:45 left in the half.

Coleman had eight points during the run, including two 3-pointers, and McGwire had a 3-pointer and a bucket on the inside. Christopher hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left in the half to put the Broncos up 44-30, but Wyoming scored just before the buzzer to send Boise State into the locker room up 44-32.

"I thought we had a great, great second quarter," Presnell said. "We created some space and they came close to recovering it but didn't. Just proud of our kids. We got great lift off the bench. It was a great night."

Wyoming cut the Boise State lead to six at 46-40 midway through the third quarter, but Lupfer scored and made a free throw to push the lead to 49-40. Boise State led between six and nine points for much of the second half as Wyoming struggled to get any closer.

The Cowboys got within five at 68-63 with 5:02 left, but consecutive buckets from Coleman pushed the lead to 72-63 with 2:30 left.

Boise State made its free throws down the stretch to hold off the Cowboys and move on to face top-seeded Fresno State, which dominated No. 4 seed San Jose State 94-68 in the first semifinal.

"I've been here three times before," Lupfer said. "Fresno is a very good team and there's a reason they are No. 1, but we're going to enjoy the moment. Four times in a row would be something special. We're just embracing it all and just to do it with these girls, you can't even put it into words."

Boise State and Fresno State played only once during the regular season, with the Bulldogs winning 85-80 in Boise back in late January.

Coleman reached 20 points for the fifth straight game to become just the third player in program history with at least five consecutive 20-point games.

The Broncos have won 11 consecutive games at the Mountain West Tournament. The senior class has never lost in the tournament, and it would like to keep it that way on Wednesday.

"We've got 40 more minutes," Presnell said. "Hopefully we'll send them off with a wonderful career."

Just 40 more more minutes for something they'll be able to have for the rest of their lives? Good luck getting any rest Tuesday night. 

"I probably won't be able to sleep honestly," McGwire said. "It's awesome. We looked forward to this all season and to finally be here, it's just awesome."

Added senior Ellie Woerner, who hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers to stem Wyoming runs: "This is where we wanted to be. It feels great. We're not done yet, we haven't won anything yet, but it's really great to be back here."

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

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