The game was a shootout in which the Broncos used a 17-4 run early in the second half to erase a double-digit first half deficit and take a 51-48 lead with 13:38 to go in the game. Unfortunately, Southern Utah rallied to reclaim the score advantage down the stretch, then held on for the four-point win.
"I was proud of the way the team played tonight and how they fought back from a slow first half," head coach Gordy Presnell said. "We are a young team and we are going to make mistakes, but we will learn from them and improve as we move forward. I thought that Miquelle (Askew) had a great game tonight with her double-double, we are going to need her to play hard this year for us to be successful."
In addition to her first career double-double the sophomore center tied her career-high for points with 18 and just missed tying her rebound high which is currently 12. The South Jordan, Utah, native shot 50 percent (6-12) from the floor and went 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
Boise State featured a youthful starting lineup with three sophomores in Askew, Lexie Der and Keiahnna Engel, as well as two true freshmen in Yaiza Rodriguez, at the point, and Brooke Pahukoa.
Four Broncos finished in double figure points Friday night with Lexie Der contributing 13 along with five rebounds, one assist and career-best six steals.
Kayla Reinhart came in off the bench to match Der's 13 points and add four rebounds, one assist and one steal. Rodriguez was the fourth Bronco in double digits with 12 points to go with her three boards, team-high (tied) four assists and one steal. Pahukoa finished her first career start with four points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal.
Every Bronco who played scored in the contest including freshman Tonishia Childress with eight points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Junior Brandi Henton chipped in with nine points and tied for the lead in assists with four.
Engel was plagued with foul trouble most of the night and finished with six points, three boards, two assist, one block and one steal.
Kenna McDavis the fourth freshman to debut tonight against the Thunderbirds added three points and two rebounds.
Both teams experienced foul trouble in the game during both halves in a contest that featured a combined 55 fouls and 79 free throw attempts.
Askew and Engel fouled out for Boise State, while Der, Brooke Pahukoa and Henton each had four by the end of the night. The Broncos shot 88.6 percent from the charity stripe making 31-of-35 free throws.
Meanwhile, Southern Utah hit 79.5 percent (35-44) and finished with four players all having four fouls called on them. The teams struggled with new rules for the year in which an effort is being made to aide offenses and eliminate contact such as hand checks.
"I thought the officials did what they have been asked to do and call the contact," said Presnell. "We are going to have to adjust to the way the game is going to be called this year as they try to eliminate the hand checks and the powers that be have told the officials to call the touch fouls on a regular basis."
Boise State started the game by taking the early lead and held an 11-9 advantage at the 12:41 mark of the opening period. The Broncos then began to struggle with turnovers and fouls as the Thunderbirds stormed out to a game-high 13-point lead on three occasions late in the period before settling for a 10-point, 44-34, lead at the break.
The Broncos came out of the locker room to open the second period on a 17-4 run to take a three-point lead on a Rodriguez trey with 13:38 to play. Boise State held onto the score advantage for the next four minutes as the teams traded baskets.
Eventually, Southern Utah's experienced squad made up of primarily seniors and juniors took over as the Thunderbirds regained the lead on a Hailey Mandelko jumper with 8:47 showing on the clock.
They never relinquished the advantage again as they kept Boise State at a two to five point distance most of the way. Boise State did tie the game late at 82 all on a Askew layup but the Broncos could not get over the hump as SUU held on for the win.