BOISE – Things were a little shaky there for a while.
But thanks to a dominating second half, the Boise State women’s basketball team still rolled as expected Wednesday night at Extra Mile Arena. The Broncos blew out San Jose State 73-42 win to keep themselves amongst the top of the Mountain West Conference standings.
“I just got kind of mad. I think we all did. It’s like, ‘Come on guys. We’re better than this,’” Boise State senior point guard Mary Kay Naro said. “So we just put a lot more effort into the way we played. And that translated for us out on the floor.”
Naro was the one who eventually woke Boise State (15-8 overall, 6-4 MW) up. With the game deadlocked at 33-33 at the four-minute and 19-second mark of the third quarter, she grabbed the rebound off of a missed layup by San Jose State’s Sabrina Ma. Naro then booked it up the floor and didn’t stop until laying the ball off the glass just six seconds later.
The play ended up jumpstarting an 11-0 run to finally give the Broncos some much-needed separation. They hadn’t led by more than six points, which came during the first two minutes of the game, and actually trailed the Spartans (6-16, 1-9), who are the second-worst team in the league, on five separate occasions.
“I think we just kind of dug down and got after it,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “I think the second half is as (good) as we’ve played all year.”
It saw Boise State outscore San Jose State 44-13, including 29-4 in the fourth quarter, for the biggest point differential in a half this season. Forty of those points came in the last 14 minutes alone.
“I’ve never seen that really,” said sophomore guard Natalie Pasco about the sudden 31-point swing. “I looked up in the fourth quarter and I was like, ‘Oh!’”
She played the biggest part in what surprisingly turned out to be the Broncos second 30-plus point win of the year against a Mountain West Conference opponent. They beat Utah State 76-41 on Jan. 20.
The Boise State sophomore guard scored 11 of her game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter. She really opened the floodgates for the Broncos by going 3-of-5 from the field and a perfect 4-for-4 at the charity stripe.
“When she shoots it, I think it’s going in regardless of how she shoots it,” Naro said. “She does a great job just getting open and getting a shot off. And it’s nice as a point guard to just have someone that reliable around you. When you have a knockdown shooter like that, it’s like, ‘Alright, I got to get her the ball because this is a bucket.’”
It came after Pasco, like the rest of the team, really struggled for the first 25 minutes of play. Boise State’s leading scorer (14.4 points per game) had just three points on 1-of-7 (14.3%) shooting with a little more than two minutes left in the third quarter. But she broke out of her slump with a layin just seconds later.
Pasco only missed two shots the rest of the game.
“I definitely try to just stay calm and confident in my shooting,” Pasco said. “I’m capable of shooting the ball well. So I try not to let it get in my head and just keep playing my game.”
Tatum Thompson posted her second-straight double-digit game with 14 points off the bench. The sophomore was just coming off being the first Boise State player in more than a year to be named the Mountain West Player of the Year. She earned the honors Monday after a career-high 21 points during a 60-50 win over Fresno State a week ago.
Senior forward Abby Muse also reached double figures with 10 points. But the most impressive stat line of the night might have belonged to Naro with seven points, eight assists, three steals and three rebounds. It marks back-to-back games for her with at least eight assists.
“Just tremendous,” Presnell said. “We’ve probably had quicker players, but I don’t know if we’ve had anyone quicker to a 50/50 ball. If it’s laying on the ground and she’s racing, she’s getting it.”
The Broncos racked up a few milestones on the night as well. Presnell moved into a tie with former Utah coach Elaine Elliot for second all-time in Mountain West wins (130).
“I think I’m 97-years-old,” Presnell said with a laugh. “(So) no one’s been around as long as I have.”
And senior forward Elodie Lalotte became just the 14th Boise State player ever to reach 600 career rebounds. She finished with seven boards to go along with her eight points on the night.
“That just shows her effort on the floor, especially tonight,” Naro said. “I thought she was a beast. She was everywhere on the defensive end. She did such a great job down there. So it’s really cool that she accomplished that.”
The Broncos will host second-place Wyoming (14-8, 9-2) right back at Extra Mile Arena Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. (MT).