Boise State Opens WAC Play with 60-56 Win at Idaho in Women's Basketball?
MOSCOW, Idaho (1/3/09) Freshman Heather Pilcher scored 16 points to lead Boise State University to a 60-56 road victory over arch-rival University of Idaho in the Western Athletic Conference opener for both schools Saturday in Moscow, Idaho. The Broncos opened defense of their 2008 WAC title by stretching their league win streak to a school record 15 games. Boise State never trailed during the game and led by as many as 14 points as they claimed their fifth-consecutive win over the Vandals.
Boise State opened the game with senior Jamia Malone hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to take a quick 6-2 lead over Idaho a minute into the contest. The Broncos would never trail during the game as they stretched their advantage to nine points, 20-11, with 10 minutes to play when Ainsleigh Sanders hit a short jumper then converted a free throw to complete a three-point play.
However Idaho battled back, Shaena-Lyn Kuehu nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner to complete a 13-5 run to pull the Vandals to within one at 25-24 with 3:02 remaining until half.
Boise State responded by scoring the last seven points of the period to take a 32-24 advantage into the break, Pilcher hit a trey followed by four straight Jenna Galassi free throws. Pilcher finished the half near perfect with 12 points on five-of-five shooting from the floor, went two-for-two from behind the arc, grabbed three boards, with one assist, one block, and three steals. The only mishaps were one turnover and missing two early free throw attempts.
The second period started with two quick Janie Bos field goals followed by a Jenna Galassi basket to spot the Broncos a game-high 14-point lead less than two minutes into the half. After Idaho cut its deficit to seven at 45-38 with 12:18 to play, the Boise State advantage would fluctuate between nine and four points the rest of the way.
The Vandals appeared to be building some momentum late when Yinka Olorunnife scored five-straight points pulling Idaho to within four points at 51-47 with 4:53 left. However, Boise State’s Pilcher hit a crucial mid-range jumper to snap the short Vandal run.
Pilcher, a freshman from Lynwood, Calif., continued to play hard for the Broncos making two crucial plays for the visitors down the stretch. Following a pair of Charlotte Otero free throws for Idaho and Pilcher missing a jumper, the freshman regrouped after the miss intercepting a pass and raced down court for a fast break layup giving Boise State a 55-49 lead with 2:23 showing on the clock.
Boise State finished the game holding off Idaho from the charity stripe with Janie Bos and Jamia Malone hitting five of eight free throws in the final minute to clinch the victory.
Pilcher finished the game with a team-high 16 points to go with four rebounds, one assist, one block, and a career-high five steals in 34 minutes. Senior Jamia Malone turned in a good game as well with 11 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Janie Bos recorded 10 points and seven boards, followed by Rebecca Kepilino with eight points and five boards, Jenna Galassi added six points, a team-high eight rebounds, and three assists.
Shaena-Lyn Kuehu led Idaho with 14 points and eight rebounds, while Yinka Olorunnife finished with 13 points and nine boards.
Boise State finished the game shooting 37 percent (20-54) from the floor, 35.7 percent (5-14) from the arc, and 71.4 percent (15-21) from the free-throw line. Idaho countered with 36.8 percent (21-57) from the court, 30.8 percent (8-26) from the 3-point line, and 42.9 percent (6-14) from the charity stripe.
The win improves Boise State to 8-7 overall and opens WAC play with a 1-0 mark. Meanwhile, Idaho falls to 3-9 on the season and 0-1 in league. The Broncos will now travel to central California for a Monday night encounter at Fresno State (9-4, 0-0 WAC). It will be a battle of champions as the Broncos and Bulldogs tied for last year’s conference title with 14-2 records. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. (Mountain) in the Save Mart Center at Fresno, Calif.
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