The Boise State women’s basketball team headed to Las Vegas, Nevada for the Mountain West Championship (MWC) Tournament. As the bracket was set, the team would be facing off the Colorado State Rams in the quarter-finals on March 8. This game would give the Broncos their shot at another MWC title.
For the past four years, the Broncos have won the Mountain West Championship title. Pushing towards their fifth straight title, the Broncos beat the Rams Monday night 78-65 at the Thomas and Mack Center in a quarter-final matchup.
Starting the game off with a jump shot, guard Jade Lovile led the Broncos in points (29). Loville was named All-Mountain West at the end of the conference season.
Forward Alexis Mark scored 11 points and 13 rebounds making that her third double-double of the season.
“It was a great win for our program and a great win for our players,” said Head Coach Gordy Presnell in the post-game press conference. “I thought our kids had great willpower, were really resilient and Alexis [Mark] makes everyone play a little harder.”
The first couple minutes of the first quarter were low scoring for both teams. It wasn’t until Mark’s layup that the team started to gain their momentum.
In the second quarter, guard Cristina Gil made a jump shot. Minutes after, Gil had a steal that center Mallory McGwire scored off of.
Coach Presnell said he was impressed with his freshmans’ performance including Gil’s.
Closing out the half, was guard Anna Ostile with a 3-pointer. The Broncos led over the Rams by five points.
Starting off the second half was Mark with a rebound, and McGwire then scored a 3-pointer continuing the Broncos lead over the Rams. However, the Rams came back to tie the game four times in the third quarter. It wasn’t until Mark scored a jump shot that the Broncos regained the lead.
Loville scored a two-point field goal to begin the final quarter in the game.
Guard Mary Kay Naro had an assist and a rebound and had seven rebounds throughout the game, scoring eight points.
Mark was fouled and made two free throws to win the game and beat the Rams by 13 points.
“I like a challenge, I like guarding the best players,” Mark said in the press conference following the win. “I always say not to settle, so we gotta look at every game like it’s a new game and not to dwell on the past win or loss.”
The Broncos planned to face off with the Cowgirls from the University of Wyoming on March 9. As their four-year MWC title holder came to an end, the Broncos lost to the Cowgirls 38-53.
Leading their team was Mark with 12 points and McGwire with 11 rebounds. The team was able to block eight shots, three of those came from forwards Abby Muse.
Mark and Muse were selected to be a part of the MW All-Freshman Team. Muse placed second in voting and had a total of 37 blocks during the conference season.
Boise State was only able to score four points in the first quarter adding to their first half scoring troubles over the course of the season. Wyoming’s offense came out to a slow start as well, only putting up seven points of their own in the first.
Presnell said his teams have never scored that amount of points in the first quarter.
It wasn’t until late in the second quarter that Mark was able to score and provide offensively for the Broncos. Mark had three more field goals and was the only member of the team to score in the second quarter.
“We just couldn’t get anything going offensively,” Presnell said in the post-game press conference. “We didn’t handle and we didn’t respond very well and we got kinda set on our heels by it.”
Loville started the third quarter with a layup, but the Broncos were still well behind. Boise State held Wyoming on defense during the third quarter but the Cowgirls continued scoring and took an even bigger lead.
Guard Martina Machalova made a layup late in the fourth quarter. Shortly after she was fouled and made a free throw, which were her only points in the game.
To wrap up their loss was Gil with two free throws, but the Cowgirls still had a tremendous lead of 15 points.
A teary-eyed McGwire sat in the post-game press conference following the loss.
“I wouldn’t change my decision for anything,” McGwire said. “It’s been the best three years [at Boise State] and playing under a great coach and great teammates, like [Coach Presnell said] I’m not gonna remember this loss. I’ll remember the past two years.”
The decision as to whether the Boise State women’s basketball team will be invited into March Madness in Indianapolis, Indiana has not been announced yet.