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Coleman's buzzer beater hands Mountain West title to Boise

Boise State forward A'Shanti Coleman (42) and guard Riley Lupfer (21) embrace in celebration after their 62-60 win over Nevada in an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Mountain West Conference tournament Friday, March 9, 2018, in Las Vegas.

L.E. Baskow, Associated Press

The Boise State women’s basketball team knew it wouldn’t get a single-digit seed for the NCAA Tournament, but when their first-round draw appeared on the television, there was noticeable surprise.

The Broncos were given a No. 16 seed and will play No. 1 Louisville at 10 a.m. MT Friday at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

“That’s a little bit disappointing,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “But we have to treat it as an opportunity and go back there and represent Boise State and our program and ourselves and do the very best we can and see where we end up.”

Louisville (32-2) beat Notre Dame 74-72 to claim the ACC Tournament championship on March 4. The Cardinals were ranked No. 3 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll and feature one of the top players in the country in junior guard Asia Durr.

Durr was named the ACC Player of the Year and averages 18.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

“She’ll probably be the first pick in the (WNBA) draft and maybe the player of the year in the country. Who knows?” Presnell said. “She’s had just an incredible year, so we will do our very best to compete against her and let her know where Boise is from.”

The Broncos (23-9) swept the Mountain West regular-season and tournament titles to advance to the Big Dance for the third time in four years and fifth time in program history. Their previous appearances came in 1994, 2007, 2015 and 2017, but the Broncos are still looking for their first win in the tournament.

They had hopes of drawing a lower seed — possibly as low as No. 14 — but the selection committee instead paired them against a No. 1 seed.

“They probably don’t even know where Boise’s at. They’ve probably never been over here,” Boise State guard Riley Lupfer said. “I think just playing a new team, we can run all the plays that we ran in the beginning of the season plus now. I just think playing a new team is good for us.”

A’Shanti Coleman’s buzzer-beating putback against Nevada on Friday gave the Broncos a 62-60 victory in the Mountain West Tournament championship game at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, pushing their win streak to 10 games.

They’ll hope to take some of that momentum into their first-round showdown against Louisville. Last season, UCLA defeated the Broncos 83-56 in their tournament opener.

“Everything’s against us, but we can play as tough as we can,” said Boise State senior Shalen Shaw, who will be making her third NCAA Tournament appearance. “My freshman year we played a really good game against Tennessee, so we can play with those big teams.”


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