Eighth-seed Air Force women’s basketball dropped a 60-46 contest to one-seed Boise State to get eliminated from the 2018 Mountain West Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament in the quarterfinal action on Tuesday afternoon at The Thomas & Mack Center. Freshman Kaelin Immel led the Falcons with 17 points.
Air Force struggled on the offensive end against top-seed Boise State, getting held to 24 percent shooting from the field. Boise State had runs in the second and third quarters to pull away with the win.
The Falcons hung tough early on against the Broncos trailing by one at 11-10 after the first quarter. The Broncos began to pull away in the second quarter, taking a 29-22 lead at halftime.
Boise State further extended its lead to 42-28 after the third quarter. The Falcons were unable to get enough offense going late as the Broncos advanced to the semifinal round with the win.
Immel paced the Falcons with 17 points. The freshman was 3 of 14 from the field but a perfect 10 of 10 from the free throw line. Immel went a perfect 18 of 18 from the free throw line in two games at the MW Championships. The Beaverton, Ore., native capped the 2017-18 season with 464 points, which is an Air Force Div. I era season record and the school’s all-time freshman scoring record.
Senior Erika Chapman added 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Freshman Emily Conroe added seven points and seven rebounds. Senior Dee Bennett also had seven rebound and a blocked shot.
Senior Cortney Porter scored four points and had three rebounds. Porter caps her Air Force career with a school Div. I season record 133 assists. Porter also appeared in her school-record 120th career game.
Riley Lupfer led Boise State with 19 points, connecting on 5 of 8 three’s. Marta Hermida scored 15 and Braydey Hodgins added 11.
“We struggled a little bit, just being able to score,” Air Force head coach Chris Gobrecht said. “I thought there was just two spurts, one in the second quarter, one in the third quarter, that cost us the game. We just never quite were able to recover from that. That being said, I thought we did battle really hard and continued to come after them.”
Air Force concludes the 2017-18 season with a 6-24 record and 5-13 mark in Mountain West play, good for a tie for eighth place. Air Force has increased its win total in each of Gobrecht’s three seasons at the helm. The Falcons graduate three seniors in Dee Bennett, Erika Chapman and Cortney Porter.
In the postgame interview, Gobrecht talked about the impact of her senior class.
“I just thanked them, told them that we loved them. What they deserve a lot of credit for is that they’ve been the ones out there digging up the ground and planting the seed. When we do have the success we anticipate having in the future for Air Force women’s basketball, it will have been built on the blood, sweat and tears of those seniors.”
“We’re very grateful to them. We’re grateful for their resiliency, for the way that they stuck with it, for their willingness to buy in and keep believing in the face of loss after loss after loss. Not too many young people can do that. They’re very special. They’re a big part of us getting where we believe we will be.”