LAS CRUCES, N.M. Second-seeded Boise State defeated seventh-seeded Utah State, 61-47, in Wednesday night's quarterfinal action of the Western Athletic Conference women's basketball tournament at the Pan American Center.
Junior Tasha Harris had 19 points with eight rebounds as the Broncos led for most of the game. For the third straight season, the Broncos advance to the semifinals, where they will take on third-seeded New Mexico State today.
The seventh-seeded Aggies tried to continue the magic that the seventh seed has carried, as Boise State's win was the first by a second-seed in the last three WAC Tournaments.
Boise State had two other players in double figures, as Jessica Thompson tallied 17 and Jackie Lee added 13. Harris pulled down a game-leading eight rebounds, helping the Broncos to a 40-37 rebounding advantage, including 18 on the offensive glass that led to a 24-10 second-chance points margin.
Senior guard Jamelah Brown was the only Aggie in double figures, posting 10 points, while fellow senior, forward Jenny Gross tallied nine to go with a tying junior guard Danyelle Snelgro for team rebounding honors with six each. Gross' six rebounds pushes her career total to 446, ending tied for 10th on USU's career rebounds list with former teammate Jessica Freeman (2003-06).
The Aggies' third senior, guard Taylor Richards, tallied four points while battling foul trouble all night. Richards did dish out a game-high five assists, adding to her school record as she ends her USU career with 371 assists. Richards also owns the USU Three-Pointers Made record with 91 and came up three steals shy of a piece of her third USU career record finishing second behind Margaret Johns' school record of 175 swipes from 1980-83.
It wasn't exactly a hot shooting night by either team as Boise State hit 35.0 percent (21-of-60), including 5-of-20 (25.0 percent) from three-point range, while Utah State drained 33.3 percent (17-of-51) field goal shooting, making just 3-of-17 (17.6 percent) behind the arc.
At the free throw line, BSU hit 83.3 percent (10-of-12) while USU made 75.0 percent (15-of-20) of its shot at the free pitch stripe.
After leading 17-12, Boise State went on an 11-2 run to take a 28-14 lead, capped by a bucket by Harris at 7:35. The Aggies responded with a 9-0 spurt of their own, as Richards returned to the court after sitting on the bench with foul trouble. Richards sparked the streak with a pair of free throws and Gross capped it with a layup to pull USU within, 28-23.
The Broncos led, 33-28, at the half, but the Aggie defense came out of intermission with a five-minute lockdown on Boise State, not yielding a point while Gross and junior forward Ndoumbe Diop hit layups to pull USU within 33-32. Diop ended the night with seven points.
After the Broncos bucked their way to a 39-32 lead, the Aggies scored five-straight points on a three-pointer by freshman guard Jade Hatchett and a Gross layup, cuing a Boise State timeout. That would be the closest the Aggies would get as the Broncos soon went on an 11-0 run, during which Thompson scored seven-straight points, and USU didn't threaten again.
TCU 60, AIR FORCE 47: At Las Vegasm Adriane Ross scored a game-high 16 points as the Lady Frogs advanced to the Mountain West Conference tournament semifinals with a win over the Falcons. TCU will face the winner of Wednesday's late game between San Diego State and Wyoming in the semifinals on Friday.