What’s Happening This Week For The Broncos . . .
Boise State (10-4, WAC 1-0) returns home to host long-time rival the Nevada Wolf Pack (7-7, WAC 1-0) Monday night at 8:04 p.m. (mountain) in a game that will be televised live by CSTV. Following the Nevada game the Broncos will hit the road for three games over the next 12 days beginning with New Mexico State this Thursday (Jan. 11), followed by games at Louisiana Tech on Saturday (Jan. 13). Boise State will then return home for a few days before heading to Hawaii for a game next Saturday (Jan. 20). Boise State will follow the two hardest WAC road trips over the next week and half with four straight at home Jan. 24 thru Feb. 3.
What Happened Last Week For The Broncos . . .
Boise State won only it’s second WAC opener in six years of membership last Thursday night in Logan, Utah with a exciting 80-70 win over the Aggies. The Broncos led most of the game by a three-to-seven point spread before pulling away down the stretch. Boise State gained a 13-point lead, the largest of the game, at 74-61 with 3:18 remaining then held the Aggies at arms length to claim the 10-point victory.
The Broncos had four players score double-figure points led by sophomore guard Jessica Thompson with 24, followed by 16 from Nadia Begay, and 13 each by Michelle Hessing and Jackie Thompson. Boise State shot the lights out against Utah State hitting 51.8 percent (29-of-56) from the hardwood, 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from behind the arc, and 93.8 percent (15-of-16) from the foul line.
About The Broncos In 2006-07 . . .
Boise State entered league play with the best overall non-conference mark in the WAC at 9-4. The Broncos are currently a half game out of first place in league play, tied with Nevada for third at 1-0 in WAC action. They follow Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State who lead the league (2-0) after sweeping two road games in the opening week over Hawaii and San Jose State.
Boise State features the WACs top scoring offense averaging 68.8 points per game. They also lead the league in scoring margin at +5.7 and fewest turnovers per game at 14.7. The Broncos are ranked in the top four in the conference in 13 statistical categories entering Monday’s game with Nevada. They are third in scoring defense allowing 63.1 points per game, second in field goal percentage at 40.2 percent, fourth in rebound offense at 39.7 per game, second in rebound defense allowing 37.0 boards per game, second in rebound margin at +2.7, and second in turnover margin at +2.9.
Who To Watch For The Broncos . . .
Boise State has two players averaging double-figure points led by sophomore guard Jessica Thompson at 14.2 points per game (4th in WAC) to go with 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.1 steals (5th in WAC) per game. In 14 games, she has recorded 11 games in double-figure points with a season high 25 at Oregon on Nov. 24. Michelle Hessing, a senior center out of Boise, averages 11.7 points (15th in WAC), 4.8 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, Oregon. Sophomore point guard Tasha Harris is third in scoring at 9.6 points per game to go with 3.3 rebounds, and a team high 2.6 assists (9th in WAC) per game. On the glass, sophomore Rebecca Kepilino leads the team with 5.7 rebounds per game (8th in WAC), followed by senior forward Jackie Thompson with 5.3 rpg.
Offensively As A Team . . .
Boise State is an up-tempo team who looks to push the ball up the floor. The Broncos have recorded 80 or more points in their last two contests and 70 plus points eight times. Boise State is 7-1 when scoring 70 or more points in a game. The Broncos enter the week with the WAC’s top ranked scoring offense averaging 68.8 points per game while shooting 40.2 percent (1st in WAC) from the floor, 28.4 percent (69-of-243) from beyond the arc, and 70.1 percent (204-of-291) from the foul line. On the boards Boise State averages 39.7 rebounds per game to rank fourth in the WAC. They are a plus 5.7 (1st in WAC) in scoring margin, plus 2.7 (2nd in WAC) in rebounding margin, and plus 2.9 (2nd in WAC) in turnover margin.
Defensively As A Team . . .
Defensively, Boise State features the third ranked scoring defense in the WAC allowing 63.1 points per game. They have also held their opponents to 40.5 percent shooting from the hardwood and 36 percent (81-of-225) from long range. The Broncos also possess one of the best rebounding defenses in the league holding opponents to 37 rebounds per game (2nd in WAC). Boise State forces 17.6 turnovers per game in comparison to their giving it away 14.7 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. They also lead the WAC in assist/turnover ratio at 0.9.
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 15: Nevada (7-7, WAC 1-0)
About The Bronco-Wolf Pack Series . . .
Boise State and Nevada (and Idaho) share a long history with each other that stretches four conferences. The rivalry started in the late 1980’s when both schools were in the old Mountain West Athletic Conference (MWAC) before it merged with the Big Sky Conference to form one league for both men’s and women’s athletics. They then later migrated, at different times, to the Big West Conference before ending up in the WAC together. The Nevada-Boise State series is the second oldest for the Broncos among current WAC members behind the Boise State series with in-state arch-rival Idaho. Monday night’s game between the Broncos and Wolf Pack will be the 33rd meeting of the series which has been dominated by Boise State which holds a 25-7 advantage in the all-time series.
The two programs have split the last four games in the past two seasons with the home team winning each time. Last year Boise State won 58-50 in Boise (Jan. 14) in the first encounter before Nevada gained it’s revenge by handing the Broncos a hard fought 73-67 defeat at Reno (Jan. 26) in the rematch. Boise State is 14-3 all-time in Boise against Nevada, the Wolf Pack’s last victory in Boise was Jan. 24, 1998 in a Big West Conference game by the score of 46-45.
What Has Happened Lately For Nevada . . .
The Wolf Pack defeated Idaho 78-68 on Saturday (Jan. 6) in Moscow, Idaho to open their league schedule. Prior to that, Nevada had lost two straight on the road to UNLV (77-63) on Dec. 30 and at San Francisco (65-55) on Tuesday, Jan. 2. Boise State defeated both UNLV (76-63) and San Francisco (80-58) on the road earlier this season. Nevada has won four of their last seven games entering Monday’s game.
Who To Watch For Nevada . . .
The Wolf Pack are led by two players averaging double-figure points. Dellena Criner, a sophomore guard, leads in scoring at 13.8 points per game (6th in WAC) to go along with 3.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 2.9 steals per game (1st in WAC). Senior guard Traci Graham is second in scoring at 13.1 points per game (9th in WAC) and contributes 2.3 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 2.4 steals per game (4th in WAC). One other player to watch is sophomore forward Brandi Fitzgerald the 2006 WAC Newcomer of the Year and a preseason All-WAC selection this year. She averages 9.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.0 steals per game.
Nevada As A Team . . .
Offensively, the Wolf Pack are second to Boise State in scoring offense at 68.6 points per game. They have shot 39.4 percent (3rd in WAC) from the floor, 30.9 percent (4th in WAC) from behind the arc, and 70.8 percent (2nd in WAC) from the charity stripe. Defensively, Nevada is seventh in scoring defense in the league allowing 67.9 points per game. Opponents have shot 46 percent from the floor and 35.6 percent from the three-point arc. On the glass, Nevada ranks second in rebounding offense at 36 boards per game while allowing 37.9 per game (3rd in WAC for rebounding defense). They lead the WAC in turnover margin at +4.79. They average 20.8 turnovers per game and force 25.6.
More About Nevada . . .
The Wolf Pack are in their seventh year of WAC membership. They return all five starters and 10 letterwinners from last year’s 13-17 squad that went 8-8 in league action to place tied for fourth in the league standings. Kim Gervasoni is in her fourth season at the helm of the Nevada program where she has gone 31-72 to date. This year’s Nevada team was picked to place third in the WAC coaches preseason poll and fourth in the media poll.