Up to Speed: Our weekly recap of Bronco Sports (Feb. 14-20)

Boise State women's golf, Cora Michelson
Photo courtesy of Boise State Athletics

Women’s golf finishes second in spring opener (Feb. 14-15)

By Mason Becker

Down in the Palm Desert of California, the Boise State women’s golf team battled it out at the Mountain Classic Match Play for the team’s spring opener.

Boise State women's golf, Cora Michelson
[Photo of Cora Michelson of Boise State women’s golf.]
Photo courtesy of Boise State Athletics

In the opening round versus Montana State, the Broncos were victorious, winning three out of five matches and halving the other, helping them to move onto the next round. Sophomores Eli Gordon, Franca Polla and Emma Yang each scored a point for the Broncos.

In the semi-final versus Portland State, the Broncos dominated, pulling over a clean sweep versus the Vikings, and moving them onto the finals. Gordon and Polla each secured their second match titles, winning 5&3 and 4&3.

The championship match was highly contested, and the conditions of the match did not favor the players, as winds reached up to 30 mph. Polla and fifth-year Lexi Perry’s matches both played through the final hole. Perry took the win over Seattle’s Samantha Bruce, winning 2 up. Gordon also secured a point, remaining perfect on the weekend, going up four with only two to play.

Boise State will next travel to Phoenix, Arizona, to participate in the GCU Invitational, from Feb. 28 to March 1.

Women’s basketball falls to Air Force (Feb. 15)

By Nate Lunak

Boise State women’s basketball fell to Air Force 77-63 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Feb. 15.

Redshirt senior guard Dominique Leonidas led the Broncos with 12 points. Freshman guard Jayda Clark and sophomore forward Elodie Lalotte each had 10 points, with Lalotte having 8 rebounds.

Boise State led 23-20 after the first quarter following an eight-point performance from Leonidas. Seven different Broncos scored, and Boise State posted its largest point total in the opening quarter of a conference game this season, shooting 63% from the field.

The Broncos led 33-27 before the Falcons went on an 11-2 run to go up 38-35 to close the half.

Air Force took control in the third quarter, outshooting Boise 23-13 and going up 61-48. The Broncos committed 10 turnovers in the period.

The Broncos will play their final home game against the University of New Mexico on Feb. 19.

Men’s basketball handles the Air Force Falcons on the road (Feb. 16)

By Matthew Valento

Boise State men’s basketball won their 20th grade of the year following one of the best offensive showings in program history, beating Air Force 85-59 on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at Clune Arena.

The Broncos shot an impressive 68.8%from the field (33-for-48) on the night, the most efficient shooting performance with Leon Rice as the head coach, while also shooting a season-best 55.6% from the three-point line (10-for-18), the second straight game shooting better than 50% from behind the arc.

Leading the way was redshirt senior guard Marcus Shaver Jr., who scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the first half. He finished the night shooting 7-for-11 from the field while also having five rebounds and four assists.

After Air Force came out of the gates with a 5-2 lead, Boise State responded with a 13-2 run. Senior center Lukas Milner contributed five points in the run and finished with a career-high 13 points on perfect 6-of-6 shooting from the floor.  

Redshirt senior center Mladen Armus opened the second half scoring the Broncos’ first seven points, finishing with a total of 10 points, and leading the team in assists with six, tying a career-high. 

Redshirt junior guard Max Rice scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half and shot 4-of-8 from three. In his last two games, Rice has shot 46.7% from behind the arc (7-15).

This is the ninth time the team has earned 20 or more wins with Leon Rice under the helm. The win over Air Force was the sixth road conference win of the year, which ties a program record.

Boise State returns to ExtraMile Arena for back-to-back games, hosting Utah State on Saturday, Feb. 19, and San Diego State on Thursday, Feb. 22. Tipoff against Utah State is set for 4 p.m.

Gymnastics shut out Utah State on Senior Night (Feb. 18)

By Jenna Vitamanti

The No. 24 Boise State gymnastics team was successful on Senior Night scoring a season high of 196.950, beating No. 21 Utah State (195.800) on Feb. 18 at ExtraMile Arena.

The Broncos won three individual titles in three of the four events. The team performed season bests for all four events and earned their highest score since March 18, 2019. 

The first rotation of the night was led by freshman Alyssa Vulaj scoring a 9.900 to win her second straight individual title on vault. Senior Samantha Smith also took home a season-high 9.825 to help bring the Broncos a 49.100 in this first event. 

A program record of 9.975 was tied on bars for the second straight meet by senior Alexis Stokes to earn the individual title. The second rotation was opened by sophomores Talia Little and Courtney Blackson, each scoring a back-to-back 9.875. This score tied a career high for Blackson. The Broncos finished the event with a 49.450.

Another individual title was collected by junior Adriana Popp on beam, tying her career-high score of 9.900. This adds up to Popp earning her fifth individual title in the event. Sophomore Emily Lopez established a career high on beam with a 9.875 helping the Broncos finish with a 49.200 on beam for the night. 

To close out the meet, Blackson led the Broncos on floor with a career-high score of 9.925. The freshmen did not disappoint, with Elaina McGovern and Blake Pascal both earning 9.900s to establish a score of 49.200 for the Broncos. 

The Broncos will compete in a quad meet in Stanford, California, on Feb. 21. The team will face Stanford University, Brigham Young University (BYU) and California State University, Sacramento. 

Softball goes 1-1 in the first day of the Cardinal Invitational (Feb. 18)

By Desmond Ordonez

The Boise State softball team captured one victory out of two games during the first day of the Cardinal Invitational on Friday, Feb. 18.

The Broncos (6-1) were held to just a single hit on a 1-0 loss to the University of Nebraska Omaha before bouncing the University of Massachusetts (UMass) 10-0 hours later behind the heroics of sophomore pitcher Taylor Caudill

Against the Minutewomen, the Broncos scored in five different innings and collected a total of 14 hits. Junior infielder Bella Rocco homered and brought in three runs while redshirt senior infielder Eliyah Flores added a double, an RBI and two runs scored. 

Later, junior utility player Abby Bumcrot chipped in a pair of run-scoring singles, and sixth-year utility player Kelsey Lalor smashed a two-run home in the third inning. 

The offensive showcase backed Caudill (3-0), who held UMass to just three hits while racking up a total of 12 strikeouts to record her second shutout of the season. 

Women’s basketball suffers painful loss to New Mexico (Feb. 19)

By Lexi Almeido

Boise State women’s basketball was defeated by New Mexico 89-62 on Saturday, Feb. 19. 

Redshirt senior guard Dominique Leonidas scored a team-high 18 points and finished 9 of 14 from the floor. 

Sophomore forward Elodie Lalotte added 10 points while sophomore forward Abby Muse contributed nine points and 11 rebounds. 

New Mexico made the first five shots in the game and led by as many as 14 points in the first quarter. The Lobos held a 28-16 advantage after 10 minutes.

Boise State closed the gap within 31-22 on a jumper by Leonidas in the second quarter. The Lobos then went on an 11-4 run to lead 42-26 at halftime. 

In the second half, the Broncos shot at 53%, but the Lobos’ momentum carried through with 67% shooting. New Mexico’s lead grew to 70-44 before heading into the final quarter and closing out the game with a victory. Boise State will face the University of Nevada, Reno on Feb. 24 at ExtraMile Arena.

Softball slams its way to the best start in school history (Feb. 19)

By Desmond Ordonez 

Boise State softball shined on the second day of the Cardinal Invitational on Feb. 19. 

The Broncos bounced the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) 2-0 and thumped the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) 16-0 thanks to a pair of grand slams. 

Boise State is now holding its best start in school history through the first nine games. 

The win over UIW tied for the largest margin of victory in program history. The Broncos (8-1) routed Idaho State by the same margin in 2018. 

The 16 runs are also the most by the team since a 22-10 win over New Mexico in the 2019 season. 

Boise State smashed four big home runs against UIW, including a tough grand slam by sixth-year utility player Kelsey Lalor and fifth-year infielder Allison Seng.

The game was ultimately shortened and stopped early due to the innings by run rule. 

Sophomore outfielder Kelsey Hall and junior infielder Bella Rocco both racked up three hits, including a home run by Hall. Sophomore pitcher Taylor Caudill went the first three innings in the circle to record the victory.

Boise State also scored both runs in the home half of the fourth inning. With one out, freshman outfielder Mykenzie Hannah would double and move to third on a single by sophomore outfielder Bobbiann Pratt

Pratt would then steal second base and head to third as Hannah scored on an error by the UTSA catcher. Redshirt junior catcher Serena Huchington would follow with an infield single to plate Pratt.

Boise State concludes the tournament in a matchup with UMass, Sunday, Feb. 20 at 9 a.m.

Softball beats UMass in final game of the Cardinal Invitational (Feb. 20)

By Adam Bridges

After going 3-1 in the Cardinal Invitational, the Boise State softball team had their final game against the University of Massachusetts (UMass) on Sunday, Feb. 20.

This was the second game that the Broncos had against the Minutemen after defeating them 10-0 earlier in the invitational.

In the final game of the tournament, redshirt junior catcher Serena Huchingson went 3-for-3 with a double, home run, three RBIs and three runs. Sophomore outfielder Kelsey Hall also went 3 of 4 and recorded three RBIs. 

Their great performances helped the team finish off with another win over UMass 11-3.

Boise State ended with a 4-1 record with two shutouts throughout the invitational. The team is now 9-1 on the season.

“We are excited about where we are at this point of the season,” said Boise State softball head coach Justin Shults. “Our offense is starting to figure out how to work as a unit instead of waiting for one big swing. Our pitching has been the backbone of our team and all three of our starters are doing a good job.”

The team will now travel to Santa Barbara, California, to compete in the UC Santa Barbara Tournament on Friday, Feb. 25.

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