Amber Melgoza’s tying shot in the closing seconds was erased as the Broncos held off the Huskies 73-69 in the title game.
Down two points, Amber Melgoza streaked to the basket just as she did during a frantic fourth-quarter comeback.
The Washington sophomore guard had Marta Hermida on her heels and retreating. Melgoza dribbled hard into the Boise State guard and powered up for an off-balance shot before falling to the floor.
The whistle blew as the ball rattled in and Melgoza screamed in excitement — expecting a chance to go to the free-throw line for a one-point lead.
However, the Husky star was given a charge — her fifth foul — that wiped away the game-tying basket and sent her to the bench for good with 12.4 seconds left.
At the other end, the Broncos sank two free throws and beat Washington 73-69 in the championship game of the Husky Classic on Sunday.
“I think we should have won the game with (12) seconds left and Amber at the free throw line,” said UW coach Jody Wynn, who barked at the officials after the Melgoza’s last foul and needed to be restrained by two assistants.
Her sideline outburst left her shoeless and furious.
“They’re a little big and I stomped and one of them came off, and I just took the other one off,” Wynn said smiling. “I was irritated. Irate, I should say.”
Standing about 10 feet away, Wynn had a good view of Melgoza’s last foul, and she didn’t see a charge.
“I saw a block like I saw most of the night,” Wynn said. “I just think she has played very physical. And I don’t know if she gets to the free-throw line as much as she should be getting there.”
Melgoza entered the game with 62 free-throw attempts, which was second in the Pac-12 and tied for 21st nationally.
Against Boise State, Melgoza attempted 11 free throws — five more than her average — and sank nine, which accounted for a bulk of her 17 points.
Her success at the line nearly overshadowed a miserable shooting performance in which she was 4 of 17 on field goals and 0 for 2 on three-pointers.
Despite the spotty shooting, Melgoza had a big impact and finished with five rebounds and five assists, which offset five turnovers.
Sophomore guard Missy Peterson (17 points) cut UW’s deficit to 71-69 with 29 seconds remaining. The Huskies forced a turnover on the inbound pass before Melgoza had the ball in the paint.
Broncos guard Jayde Christopher blocked Melgoza’s shot on a play Wynn felt should have drawn a foul, and the Broncos believed was a travel infraction that wasn’t called.
After Braydey Hodgins missed two free throws at the other end, Melgoza barreled toward the basket with Hermida blocking her path.
“I’m going to be biased. I thought it was a travel even before the contact,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “That’s what I thought. I asked my coaches ‘Did they call a travel?’ And they said, ‘No they called a block.’
“They’re Pac-12 officials. It happens to all of us.”
Aside from the controversy at the end, Boise State controlled the game and led for 33 minutes and 34 seconds.
Washington fell behind by 13 points in the second quarter and rallied to go up by six in the third.
But the Broncos went back on top late in the period and never led by more than seven points the rest of the way.
Washington, which had its four-game winning streak snapped and fell to 7-4, had no answer for Boise State’s perimeter attack that converted 14 of 30 three-pointers.
Riley Lupfer, who scored a game-high 22 points, had seven three-pointers for the Broncos (8-2). Hodgins (19 points) sank four from downtown and Hermida (12 points) had three.
“They were able to get up a lot of threes without a hand up,” Wynn said. “That’s disappointing. … We obviously knew that they could shoot, and we obviously talked about that.
“But we just didn’t do what we do. We didn’t defend like we normally defend. They knocked down every open shot that they could get.”
Montana hangs on to beat St. Francis
Montana built a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter and saw nearly all of it erased before holding off St. Francis for a 79-77 victory and a third-place finish in the Husky Classic.
The Grizzlies went up 72-52 with 7:25 left and was comfortably in control.
The Red Flash went on a 26-5 run over the next 6:53 to cut its deficit to 78-77 after Jenna Mastellone (10 points) drained a three-pointer with 32 seconds left.
Senior forward Jace Henderson led Montana (5-4) with 18 points. Junior guard McKenzie Johnston added 15 and junior forward Emma Stockholm 14.
St. Francis (2-8) received 20 points from senior guard Jess Kovatch while senior forward Courtney Zezza had 15.
The Husky Classic all-tournament team included Washington’s Amber Melgoza, Boise State’s Riley Lupfer and Braydey Hodgins, who was the MVP, St. Francis’ Jess Kovatch and Montana’s Jace Henderson.