Co-written by Lexi Almeido and Brad Verbout
The Boise State women’s basketball team started off their two-game series against the Fresno State Bulldogs on Jan. 21 with a loss of 92-57. Coming off two wins against Wyoming the week prior, this defeat was a difficult one for the Broncos.
After dominating the court for the past couple of years, the team has been forced to rebuild with eight freshmen. With a loss of 35 points, this was the Broncos’ worst loss since March 9, 2013 when they were defeated by San Diego State 86-45.
The last time the Broncos played the Bulldogs was for the Mountain West Championship title in 2020. The Broncos won in overtime 80-76.
“Our freshman got their hands full tonight with some revenge basketball,” said Assistant Coach Carianne Ramirez. “Hopefully, now we know what it’s like. We know what they’re going to bring to the table and then we’re able to have a better reaction to it.”
There were a total of seven turnovers in the first quarter. Forward Alexis Marks (14 points) was the first Bronco to score.
Forward Kimora Sykes (3 points) shot a 3-pointer with seconds left in the first quarter.
Marks was able to keep her team in the game during the second quarter by scoring 12 points. She had the last shot with a layup to close out the first half.
“[Marks] gives us just some great length at the guard spot that we haven’t necessarily really had the last couple years, so her ability to rebound and put back is something that is a nice addition,” Ramirez said.
After the half, the Broncos were still down by a lot. The Fresno State Cavinder twins, Haley and Hanna were unstoppable on the court, they had a combined total of 34 points and 10 rebounds. The twins are not only popular amongst the Mountain West Conference, but have a big following on TikTok as well.
Center Mallory McGwire was fouled and put up one point. This was the only point she scored throughout the entire game. McGwire got into foul trouble within the first half and didn’t receive other opportunities to score.
“I think we need to play a little more as a team on Saturday,” McGwire said after the loss on Thursday. “I think we need to get our shots up, and just work on some transition things here and there.”
The Broncos’s second game against the Bulldogs was a much tighter affair. Boise State wanted to prove that the previous blowout was not their brand of basketball. The team battled to the end but suffered a 67-64 loss moving them to (8-3) on the season and fourth in the Mountain West standings (5-3). The Bulldogs are now second in the Mountain West.
Boise State found themselves trailing 58-50 with five minutes left to play. They rallied to go on an 8-0 run to tie the game with 3:50 remaining on the clock.
McGwire bounced back from her last game by scoring a career-high 26 points and game-high in rebounds (9). She scored 12 of the Broncos’ 16 fourth-quarter points. The talented center tied the game at 62 with 2:20 left to play.
Boise State found themselves down by three points with 12.2 left in regulation. Head Coach Gordy Presnell drew a play that set up Jade Loville in the key. Loville missed the shot, but Presnell found himself disgusted with the play calling and not the execution.
“It was a tough way to end it,” Presnell said. “We still had a look at three at the end, but that is just totally on me. I don’t know if we’d of hit it or not, but I sure would have liked to have given ourselves a better chance. That’s the first time I’ve done that in 34 years. It’s disappointing.”
The Broncos struggled from the 3-point line shooting 18.8% from beyond the arc. They were also outscored in transition as Fresno State led 12-2 in fast breakpoints. Boise State did take advantage of the Bulldogs’ mistakes, leading points off turnover 19-9.
The Broncos are set to take on the Colorado State Rams in a two-game home series on Jan. 27 and Jan. 29. The Rams currently sit atop the Mountain West at 10-2.