Coming off of a Mountain West Championship and a canceled NCAA tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Boise State women’s basketball team made a return to ExtraMile Arena. Taking on the Yotes from the College of Idaho, the Broncos won 90-43.
After losing a talented senior class with student-athletes like Riley Lupfer and Braydey Hodgins, there were a lot of fresh faces on the court. Starting freshman forward Alexis Mark had a total of 8 points in the first half.
This game was also Head Coach Gordy Presnell’s 1,000th career game. Since being at Boise State, Presnell has 16 years, 691 victories and four straight Mountain West Championship wins under his belt.
“I’ve been fortunate to be hanging around a long time and I’ve gotten to work with two great universities and administrations,” Presnell said. “I was really excited about some of the things my old players said today and so it’s a little nostalgic for me, but you know it’s another season and it’s another opportunity to work with young people with all the stuff that’s going on, I really appreciate it.”
Prior to the game, former players of Presnell got together and created a video that was posted on Twitter congratulating him on this accomplishment.
During the first half, junior forward Rachel Bowers and junior guard Jade Loville led the team by each putting up 12 points on the board. The Broncos held the Yotes 46-17 at halftime.
With a team full of freshmen, Bowers and Loville have both had to step up into leadership roles this season.
“I have had to step up because the past two years I was kinda known for being quiet or reserved,” Bowers said. “But now that I’m a junior and one of the three upperclassmen, I feel like I’ve stepped up. But it’s really easy when all the freshman and Kimora and Chinma communicate really well, they make it really easy.”
Redshirt senior center Mallory McGwire was not dressed up to play this game due to the COVID-19 acclamation period. She is the only senior on the team this season.
In the third quarter, the Broncos had a leg up on the Yotes 69-36. Freshmen forward Elodie Lalotte and Abby Muse both saw playing time.
Standout freshman point guard Mary Kay Naro had five points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Bowers and Presnell commented on how she almost passes like Jayde Christopher, former guard for Boise State women’s basketball who graduated last year.
“I thought Mary Kay Naro is really gonna be a heck of a player,” Presnell said.
In the fourth quarter with one minute left, Boise State’s bench went wild as freshman guard Martina Machalova shot a 3-pointer. Seconds later Machalova had a steal to layup the ball adding two more points to the scoreboard for a final score of 90 points.
This was one of Machalova’s first collegiate games and baskets. Overall, she put up seven points for the Broncos with 14 minutes of playing time.
Similar to football, no fans were allowed in the arena. However, recordings of a cheering crowd played over the speakers to give the feeling of a typical game day.
“It was weird,” Bowers said. “It was really quiet and then they had the crowd noise in the background, but it was definitely weird not seeing anyone in the stands.”
The Broncos will take on Weber State at ExtraMile Arena on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m.