Courtesy of Braidon Nourse

LAS VEGAS – The closest game of the Mountain West Women’s Basketball Championship to this point by far. The score may not reflect it, but a 62-54 win for No. 6 Boise State over No. 3 Wyoming was played on a razor’s edge basically the entire way.

The winner just ended up being the one which thought it was best prepared for the moment.

“We have themes and something different almost all the time, and this whole last two weeks have been about embracing hard,” Broncos coach Gordy Presnell. “That’s what it is. There’s going to be hard things that happen. You have to embrace it and not back down from it.”

The highest hurdle was Wyoming’s Allyson Fertig, who nearly finished with a triple-double, notching 16 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks. The one-woman swat team tied the Mountain West tournament record for blocks in a game.

That was the first theme.

“She’s a great player, we all know that. She can score at all levels with the ball right now,” Broncos guard Mya Hansen said. “But we tried to have a physical presence in the paint, that’s what you saw from our posts. So we’re thankful they’re part of our team and thankful they showed up today, and we’re really proud of them.”

The Broncos are no stranger to the grind of a close game that is tight throughout, but doing the little things on a consistent basis can be all a team needs to close one out.

That thinking paid dividends for the Broncos, who, despite being down by three with five minutes to go, ended on a 15-4 run to put the finishing touches on the upset.

The collection and poise to hit shots in the pressure cooker while holding a formidable Cowgirls offense to just four points was the second theme.

“That’s March for you. It’s a great time to be in,” Hansen said. “Any time you can step on that court and be in a tournament game, we’ll always take advantage of that opportunity. I’m just thankful to be on that court and take advantage of those opportunities.”

Hansen led Boise State in the scoring column with 20. Ten of them came in the first quarter alone, including a deep 3 that sent herself into a frenzy.

In some ways, a reflection of the time her team had put into preparing for the big stage. An apt reaction to executing the plan, which tends to be the last theme.

“No next game is guaranteed when you’re in the tournament,” Hansen said. “So just take advantage of the opportunity when you can be here and try to give it my all and play whatever role they needed to be, and today that was a scoring role. So, I took advantage of that and did what I could to help the team win.”

The Broncos will head to their eighth Mountain West semifinal and their first since 2021. They will face San Diego State, which pulled off an upset – possibly of even more magnitude – over No. 2 New Mexico.

In many ways, the Broncos were playing like anybody in Vegas should: with house money. Their next theme, though, will be figuring out how to beat another team playing with nothing to lose.