The Boise State Broncos have a lot to prove. You’d think the defending Mountain West Conference and tournament champions, who have made three NCAA appearances in the last four years, would be able to start the season riding the wave of being on top — watching their backs instead of gunning for an opponent in front of them.
But the Broncos have their work cut out for them tonight against Louisville, and rightfully so. Last season, Louisville knocked the Broncos out of the first round of the NCAA tournament, beating them 72-42.
After a less than stellar regular-season performance, the Broncos were stuck with a 16 seed heading into the NCAAs, hence, the matchup with top-seed Louisville. Fans might remember that the Broncos stuck with Louisville pretty well for the first half, and that was without any traditional post players after Marijke Vanderschaaf and Brooke Wheeler were both out with season-ending injuries.
After the first half, though, things went downhill. Louisville, led by Asia Durr (a projected #1 pick in the WNBA draft), ran away with the game. So, the question everyone is asking is: Do the Broncos stand a chance against Louisville this season?
With a talented and athletic freshman class, the now-eligible transfer point guard Jayde Christopher, the sharp shooting of junior guard Riley Lupfer and solid senior leadership in Marta Hermida and Joyce Harrell, the Broncos are perhaps better poised than ever to give Louisville a run for their money.
The Broncos head into their matchup with Louisville undefeated and on a three-game winning streak, having beaten Southern Oregon 91-46, topping CSUN 74-63 and dominating Northwest Christian 93-26.
Aside from Louisville, the Broncos’ biggest problem may be deciding who gets playing time. A deep pool of talent means competition for starting spots is high, and that almost any player on the bench might see playing time on any given night, as has been the case already this season.
Harrell has been integral to each win, having made major strides since last season, while fellow senior Hermida has improved her three-point shooting, helping the Broncos edge out opponents. Other standouts include freshmen Rachel Bowers and Jade Loville, as well as point guard Jayde Christopher.
If the Broncos’ early-season play has proven one thing, it’s that the hype surrounding this season’s squad is real. Boise State is in a better position than ever to contend against Louisville. If their shots are falling, the Broncos should be able to hang with the Cardinals.
The Broncos host the Cardinals tonight! Here’s how to watch:
Boise State Broncos vs. Louisville Cardinals
When: Monday, Nov. 19, at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Taco Bell Arena, Boise, ID | TICKETS
How to watch: Mountain West Digital Network