LAS VEGAS — Fresno State forced Boise State into 29 turnovers in its 72-55 quarterfinal victory on Thursday, a record at the Mountain West Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament.
It is not the most the Bulldogs have forced in a game – Texas-Arlington had 30 in a 70-45 loss to Fresno State in December and Air Force had 30 in a 60-47 loss to the Bulldogs in January.
“I think our team was prepared for this game,” said guard Ki-Ki Moore, the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year. “We came in with a chip on our shoulder knowing what we had to do and I believe we got it done.’’
Tough to argue with the ‘’got it done’’ part, but coach Raegan Pebley wasn’t so sure about that chip.
‘’We didn’t talk about (making) a statement,’’ she said. ‘’We just talked about winning, survive and advance. Our focus was really about how do we get past Boise State first, not trying to send a message to anybody else.’’
Boise State is the fourth team in the past seven games to fail to get to 60 points against the Bulldogs – Fresno State held Wyoming to 47, Colorado State to 42, Air Force to 55 and the Broncos to 55.
The Bulldogs won all four of those games.
The Broncos did not score their first field goal until the 11:33 mark in the first half. The basket, a short jump shot by Brandi Henton, cut the Bulldogs lead to 15-4.
How do you know when a game has gotten away?
‘’One of our huddles we talked about the cheerleaders,’’ Boise State Coach Gordy Presnell said. ‘’Our cheerleaders were great. If they’re going to cheer for us down 31, we’re going to play with smiles on our faces and get after it. They motivated us on one of the timeouts.
‘’I’m proud of our kids. (Fresno State) is a very seasoned team. They’ve got one of the premier players in the whole west on their team. It’s just one of those things.
‘’But it will be a little while to get over the first 10 minutes. We worked so hard to prepare for this.’’
Boise State did block 12 shots in the game – seven by forward Lauren Lenhardt – to tie a MW Women’s Tournament record. … The Bulldogs’ 77 shots also were a tournament record – the mark had been held by New Mexico, which got 68 shots in a 2009 game against Colorado State. … Fresno State was never in danger of losing this game, but its 26-point lead did get cut to as few as 14 points in the second half. ‘’We had a pretty good idea how they were going to get back into the game at that point,’’ Pebley said. ‘’I just felt like where our offense was aggressive, we needed to manage the clock a little bit better. We were able to find and get quick shots, but not much time was coming off the clock, which gave them even more possessions in that second half. So, you know, probably the last four and a half minutes we slowed things down a little bit, were a little bit more deliberate. I think that helped us really just try to get to their fatigue a little bit.’’