Women’s basketball head coach Gordy Presnell captured the sentiments of his team and fans alike with a simple statement after Wednesday night’s game against Washington State: “disappointed.”
The Broncos had a slow start, going just 3-17 in the field in the first quarter. Three separate dry spells lasting over two minutes each gave Washington State the chance to take a 16-10 lead. The cold start combined with a slim performance in the first half from both the arc (6-13) and the free-throw line (2-6) proved to be detrimental to Boise State’s results, as they ultimately fell to the Cougars 68-80 on Nov. 20.
In the second quarter, Boise State held Washington State to 15 points on 30% shooting, the Cougars’ lowest-scoring quarter of the night. But four steals by the Cougars and seven Bronco turnovers sent Boise State, who shot 5-14 in the second quarter, into halftime down 23-35.
“I don’t think we were ready, and that’s on me,” Presnell said. “I mean, we should be able to get better shots than we took at the beginning of the game, and it’s on them that they miss the shot but it’s on me that we didn’t get better looks. We just didn’t get very good looks and we took bad shots, and that’s on me. That’s on the coach.”
Senior guard Braydey Hodgins had her highest-scoring game of the season so far, leading the team with 20 points. Prior to Hodgins’ 19-point performance against UAB last Friday, she was averaging just 6.7 points per game.
“[Hodgins is] a competitor, and when you play a team that’s rolling, I think you get rid of any of what’s going on in your head and you just compete because she’s a competitor,” Presnell said. “She did that and I’m sure she’ll be fine now.”
Despite the efforts from Hodgins and a combined 29 points from the rest of the starting five, the Broncos were out-shot and overpowered by Washington State. The Cougars shot an impressive 70% in the second half, and Borislava Hristova led all players with 25 points (12-17) and nine rebounds on the night.
“I think a lot of us, especially me, I was on [Hristova] a lot of the game and just have to take it personal that she’s not going to get another shot, definitely not going to get another make,” Hodgins said. “So I think she’s the best player we’ve seen so far this season, and that’ll help us in the beginning to carry that over for next couple games and beyond.”
Washington State’s Chanelle Molina put up 12 points and grabbed five rebounds, and Jovina Subasic rounded out the double-digit scorers with 17 points off the bench. The Cougars outscored the Broncos 38-20 in the paint.
“I think a lot of us were so worried about Hristova that once she had the ball, we just focused on her and then we weren’t making our rotations and help,” Hodgins said. “So we would have three go to her and no one covering the basket, so that’s on us — just being aware and then talking about who’s stepping up and who’s going to stay back.”
A 24-point performance from the Broncos in the fourth quarter would prove to not be enough to push them to victory. Boise State’s 8-0 run over 2:21 put them within nine points of the Cougars, but the gap was never fully closed.
“I think we wanted it so bad that we didn’t have, kind of, the hype to get us here, and we got demolished by them last year so no moral victories here,” Hodgins said. “But we just wanted it so bad that I think a lot of us just had some anxiety.”
Washington State had just a handful of 3-pointers all game (5-13), but they were flawless from the line, going 7-7. The Broncos struggled to find their rhythm, going 11-18 from the line and 9-25 from deep.
“We were not a Division I team tonight in terms of free throws, and that’s never been a problem here, but [we]just didn’t perform well and [are]just disappointed,” Presnell said.
Senior guard Riley Lupfer broke the Boise State all-time 3-point record on Friday, Nov. 15 in the Broncos’ 83-81 win over UAB. She brought her career total to 262, passing the previous mark of 260 (Abby Vaughan, 1999-2003). Lupfer put up six total points on Wednesday with 2-7 shooting from deep.
The Broncos had six more players on the board Wednesday night: Rachel Bowers (9), Jayde Christopher (8), A’Shanti Coleman (8), Mallory McGwire (7), Jade Loville (7) and Maggie Freeman (3). Redshirt senior guard Ellie Woerner, who is averaging 4.8 rebounds and six points per game, was not dressed down due to a potential injury.
Boise State’s next test will come on Sunday, Nov. 24 as they travel to Louisville, Ky. to take on the No. 8/9 Cardinals. In their last meeting, Louisville won 74-55 in front of a record-breaking crowd at Taco Bell Arena of 4,125 (Nov. 18, 2018).