What’s Happening This Week For The Broncos . . .
Boise State (9-4) begins Western Athletic Conference (WAC) play this week on the road at Utah State (4-8). Tip-off on Thursday is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (mountain) at the Dee Glenn Spectrum (capacity 10,270) on the USU campus in Logan, Utah.
The Broncos In WAC Openers . . .
Boise State is 1-4 in WAC openers since joining the conference for the 2001-02 season. They have lost two straight openers entering Thursday’s game at Utah State. Their only victory was on Jan. 2, 2004 at home over UTEP, a member of the WAC at that time, by the score of 69-59. The last two-seasons have seen the Broncos open on the road to begin WAC play losing at UTEP in overtime 71-69 on New Year’s Day of 2005, followed by last year’s 75-61 defeat at Louisiana Tech on Jan. 5, 2006.
About The Utah State Series . . .
Boise State holds a 9-2 advantage in the overall series, including a sweep of last year’s games winning 70-38 in Boise on Jan. 12 and 72-55 in Logan on Feb. 23. Last year was the first for Utah State as members of the WAC.
About The Broncos In 2006-07 . . .
Boise State enters league play this week with the best overall mark in the conference at 9-4. They lead the WAC in eight statistical categories: scoring offense (67.9 ppg), scoring defense (62.5 ppg), scoring margin (+5.4), field goal percentage (.394), rebound defense (37.3 rpg), rebound margin (+3.3), fewest turnovers (14.9), and assist/turnover ratio (0.88). They are also ranked in the top three in four other categories, second in assists (12.9 apg) and turnover margin (+3.0), and third in rebounding offense (40.6 rpg) and three-pointers per game (4.8). College RPI ranks the Broncos 56th and 73rd in strength of schedule, while RPIRatings.com has Boise State at 57th and 59th (SOS) nationally out of 335 teams.
What’s Happened Lately For Boise State (9-4 ) . . .
The Broncos concluded the non-conference portion their schedule last Saturday with a wild 86-78 win at home over cross-state rival Idaho State in Taco Bell Arena. The victory moved Boise State’s overall record to 9-4 and 5-1 at home this season. Prior to the ISU game, Boise State competed at the "Duel in the Desert" in Las Vegas, Nevada, Dec. 20-21, where they defeated host UNLV 76-63 before falling to Purdue, ranked #13 at the time, 80-64 in the championship game.
Who To Watch For The Broncos . . .
Boise State has three players averaging double-figure points led by sophomore guard Jessica Thompson at 13.5 points per game (8th in WAC) to go with 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.3 steals (4th in WAC) per game. In 13 games, she has recorded 10 games in double-figure points with a season high 25 at Oregon on Nov. 24. Michelle Hessing, a senior center out of Boise, averages 11.6 points (14th in WAC), 4.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks (2nd in WAC) per game. The senior captain recorded a career high 22 points against Pittsburgh Nov. 25 in Eugene. Sophomore point guard Tasha Harris is third in scoring at 10.3 points to go with 3.4 rebounds, and a team high 2.7 assists (9th in WAC) per game. On the glass, sophomore Rebecca Kepilino leads the team with 5.9 rebounds per game (9th in WAC), followed by senior forward Jackie Thompson with 5.2 rpg (15th in WAC).
Offensively As A Team . . .
Boise State is an up-tempo team who looks to push the ball up the floor. The Broncos enter the week with the WAC’s top ranked scoring offense averaging 67.9 points per game while shooting 39.4 percent (1st in WAC) from the floor, 27.0 percent (62-of-230) from beyond the arc, and 68.7 percent (189-of-275) from the foul line. On the boards Boise State averages 40.6 rebounds per game to rank third in the WAC. They are a plus 5.4 (1st in WAC) in scoring margin, plus 3.3 (1st in WAC) in rebounding margin, and plus 3.0 (2nd in WAC) in turnover margin.
Defensively As A Team . . .
Defensively, Boise State features the top ranked scoring defense in the WAC allowing a league low 62.5 points per game. They have also held their opponents to 39.9 percent shooting (6th in WAC) from the hardwood and 35.8 percent (76-of-212) from long range. The Broncos also possess the best rebounding defense in the league holding opponents to 37.3 rebounds per game. Boise State forces 17.8 turnovers per game in comparison to their giving it away 14.8 times per game. Boise State is ranked first in the WAC and 21st nationally (as of 12/31/06, last national rankings released) for fewest turnovers per game.
What’s Back From 2005-06 . . .
Coach Presnell enters his second year at Boise State. The Broncos made an immediate improvement under the new coach’s leadership in his first season in 2005-06 going 15-15 overall, 6-10 in league action to place sixth, and advanced to the conference tournament’s semifinals. It was the first non-losing season for the Broncos in six seasons and the highest conference finish since the program joined the league for the 2001-02 campaign.
Boise State returns every impact player from last year’s squad including four starters, nine letterwinners, and a redshirt sophomore. Among the returners are the top five scorers and rebounders from a squad that scored the most points in eight years with 1,984 points (66.1 points per game) and set a school record for team rebounds in a season with 1,252. The Broncos return 90.5 percent of their points, 86.7 percent of the rebounds, 83.7 percent of the assists, and their entire scoring punch from outside the three-point arc. Boise State has led the league in three-point percentage in three of their first five seasons of membership including the last two years.
SCOUTING GAME 14: Utah State (4-8, WAC 0-0)
What Has Happened Lately For Utah State . . .
Utah State enters the week at 4-8 overall and are coming off a 58-42 win over Colgate last Saturday at the Iowa State Tournament. They have won two of their last four games including a 68-58 win over Portland at home on Dec. 20. In between the two wins were losses to Saint Louis 57-60 in Logan Dec. 22 and at Iowa State, 70-40, last Friday (Dec. 30).
Who To Watch For Utah State . . .
The Aggies are led by Taylor Richards at 11.0 points per game (t-15th in WAC) to go with 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists. Brittany Phillips is second in scoring at 9.5 points per game in addition to her team high 5.5 rebounds per game (13th in WAC).
Utah State As A Team . . .
Offensively, the Aggies average 57.6 points per game, last in the WAC, while shooting 36.5 percent from the floor, 26.7 percent (54-of-202) from behind the arc, and 69.4 percent (125-of-180) from the foul line. Defensively, Utah State allows 65.8 points per game (6th in WAC), 41.2 percent (7th in WAC) field goal shooting, and 28.3 percent (4th in WAC) shooting from beyond the arc. They average 35.9 rebounds (8th in WAC) and 19.0 turnovers (4th in WAC) per game.
More About Utah State . . .
Utah State is in their fourth year of women’s basketball since the sport was reinstated in 2003. The Aggies are in their second season as members of the WAC, joining the league along with Idaho and New Mexico State in 2005-06. Prior to that Utah State was a member of the Big West Conference. The Aggies return three starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s 3-24 squad that went 2-14 in league action placing 9th in the final standings. Raegan Pebley is in her fourth season at Utah State where she has gone 26-68 overall. The Aggies were picked to place ninth in this year’s WAC race by both the league’s coaches and media.