After a 20 day break and two canceled games, the Boise State women’s basketball team opened their conference season against the San Jose State Spartans in a two-game series on Dec. 31 and Jan. 2.
Winning both games, the Broncos accomplished a 13-game winning streak dating back to last season. This streak is now the fifth-longest nationally.
Thursday’s game began with a 1 p.m. tip-off at ExtraMile Arena. According to guard Jade Loville, it was difficult to come back after a long break and get on the court again, especially in a close game like this one.
With center Mallory McGwire not being at the game due to a family emergency and Chinma Njoku out due to undisclosed reasons the team was short-handed.
Both teams were neck-and-neck the entire game. It came down to the final seconds for Boise State to pull ahead and win 77-75.
Loville led the team in points and scored a career-high of 31. Forward Rachel Bowers was out most of the game due to fouls trouble, Loville was the only upperclassman on the court.
“We really needed every one of [her points],” said Head Coach Gordy Presnell. “She’s a really terrific shooter in the two-point area and she can finish around the basket.”
Another standout player for the Broncos was forward Abby Muse. As one of the many freshmen on this year’s team, Muse scored 14 points and had 18 rebounds. Loville said Muse is a team player and has been very effective this season.
Both of Muse’s parents played professional basketball. According to Presnell, Muse is not only extremely athletic but adds to every aspect of their team.
Wrapping up 2020 with a win, Boise State headed into their second game against San Jose State on Saturday, Jan. 2.
The Broncos had a strong lead throughout the entire game and McGwire returned for this game after missing on Thursday. Overall, she was impactful during the game, scoring 15 points and leading both teams in rebounds (16).
“She is able to play in big-time moments and has done that at Oregon and here,” Presnell said about McGwire’s return to the court. “She has a calming sense about her and she’s a deceptive athlete, so we’re really fortunate to have her in our programs and I think she is a gifted player.”
Loville had the game-high when it came to points (22). Forward Rachel Bowers also contributed 14 points to the Bronco’s final score of 70 over the Spartans 53.
The three upperclassmen Bowers, Loville and McGwire were the scoring leaders in Saturday’s game. By losing multiple graduating seniors last season, these three Broncos have stepped up and helped their team win five games in a row.
“It’s hard with only three of us and a whole new team, but I think last year’s team let us kinda take over in a positive way,” McGwire said. “Being only three of us Jade being a guard and me and Rachel handling the post, so I think collectively we’ve come together and let all the newcomers know how we do it around here.”
Beginning the 2021 year with a win, this game was a very special one to Presnell. He completed his 300th victory as the head coach at Boise State.
“It’s a chance to kinda look back at my 15 years here and I’ve been around some incredible people and some really good coaches that have been very loyal,” Presnell said.
Presnell gave recognition to his support staff at Boise State, mentioning Strength and Conditioning Coach Rayan Hawili, Athletic Trainer Nicole Denno, Director of Operations Julia Fishman and Graduate Assistant Mia Gallo.
The Broncos will be playing on the road at Air Force next week in another two-game series. According to Presnell, this is the first time he will coach a team that hasn’t been on the road in January yet.