BOISE, Idaho - (1/8/2007) - It was not pretty but the Boise State Broncos rallied from 11 down to defeat Nevada 68-65 in a WAC women’s basketball game at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. A last second three-point heave by Nevada’s Dellena Criner from just above the opposite three-point arc was waved off by the officials for not beating the buzzer as the Broncos held on for the win. Sophomores Jessica Thompson and Tasha Harris led the Broncos over the Wolf Pack with 22 and 17 points respectively.
The first half saw the Broncos struggle with Nevada’s high pressure defense which forced 10 Boise State turnovers, from a team that averaged only 14.7 per game entering the night’s contest. Add to the Wolf Pack’s defensive intensity a poor shooting performance and the Broncos found themselves down 11 points with three minutes left in the first half. However, they began their rallied before the halftime horn behind seven unanswered points from Harris and Jess Thompson to close within four, 30-26, at the intermission.
Boise State had trouble making shots in the first 20 minutes of play as they ended the first half shooting 31 percent (9-of-29) from the floor, 28.6 percent (2-of-7) from three-point range, and 54.5 percent (6-of-11) from the foul line. Tasha Harris had the team high in points at the break with nine points followed by eight from Jessica Thompson.
Meanwhile, Nevada shot well in the first period and led most the way on 48.1 percent (13-of-27) shooting from the hardwood and hit 36.4 percent (4-of-11) from behind the arc. They did not attempt a free throw in the opening half. However, the Wolf Pack managed to turn Boise State’s 10 turnovers into 13 points.
After the poor shooting performance in the first half, Boise State rallied in the second to shoot 59.1 percent from the floor, 66.7 percent from three-point range (2-of-3), and 87.5 percent (14-of-16) from the charity stripe to claim the win. The second period was close from the start and saw five ties and seven lead changes during the half.
Boise State scored the first five points of the half on a Jessica Thompson three-pointer and a Michelle Hessing mid-range jumper to take a 31-30 lead one minute into the period. The Wolf Pack rallied to regain the lead seconds later on one of Dellena Criner’s 10 field goals in the game giving Nevada a 32-31 advantage. They then maintained a one to six point lead for the next eight minutes before the Broncos tied the game at 46 all with 10:36 to go on the clock.
The two teams then traded six lead changes and three ties until the Broncos surged ahead for good at 56-55 on a pair of Jessica Thompson free throws with 5:47 remaining. Boise State eventually pulled out to a five-point lead twice, the first at the 1:39 mark with the score 64-59 and the last with 37 seconds left and the Broncos up 66-61.
The Broncos had to withstand some sloppy play in the final minute as Nevada tried to rally. After Tasha Harris hit two free throws with 37 seconds left to give the Broncos a five point lead, Nevada’s Criner hit a short left side jumper to cut the Boise State lead to three points at 66-63. On the ensuing in bounds play the Broncos nearly turned it over as a pass was knocked loose under the Wolf Pack basket. Harris grabbed the loose ball for Boise State and was immediately fouled.
The sophomore from Longmont, Colorado then hit one-of-two free throws with 20 seconds left making the score 67-63 in favor of Boise State. Nevada responded quickly on a Bre’Anna Henry layup with eight seconds remaining to make it a two-point game.
Once again the in bounds play went to Boise State’s Tasha Harris. The Wolf Pack fouled her with 1.5 seconds left sending the Bronco point guard to the line one more time. Harris hit the first then missed the second putting Boise State up three at 68-65. Nevada controlled the rebound then put the ball in Criner’s hands. She turned and launched the ball from just above the three-point line in the back court, then watched as the ball went through the hoop potentially tying the game at 68 all.
The officials went to the scorers table to review the play which initially only had 1.5 seconds to get off from the rebound to the shot. The amazing shot was waved off when it was ruled after the buzzer giving the Broncos an extremely hard fought win over the Wolf Pack at 68-65.
The victory moves the Broncos into a three-way tie for first place with New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech at 2-0 in league play. It is the first time in six years of WAC membership that the Boise State women have started league play at 2-0. They are now 11-4 on the year heading into a tough two-game road trip this weekend beginning with New Mexico State Thursday followed by Louisiana Tech on Saturday. The win over Nevada was only the second win for a home team in the league’s opening weekend that saw the road teams win seven-of-nine games.
Newspaper Box Score
Nevada vs Boise State
01/08/07 8:04 pm at Boise, Idaho (Taco Bell Arena)
BOISE STATE 68, NEVADA 65
NEVADA (7-8, WAC 1-1)
Criner, Dellena 10-16 2-3 24; Fitzgerald, Brandi 4-12 1-3 10; Henry,
Bre'Anna 2-4 4-5 8; Harris, Brandi 2-3 0-0 5; Graham, Traci 2-11 0-0 5;
Sitton, Andrea 2-2 0-0 4; Hammond, Marissa 1-2 0-0 3; Price, Mikail 1-1 0-0
2; Lombardi, Marianne 1-1 0-0 2; Preslar, Jessica 0-1 2-2 2; Janisyte,
Evelina 0-0 0-0 0; Feest, Coty 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-54 9-13 65.
BOISE STATE (11-4, WAC 2-0)
Thompson, Jessica 7-14 6-6 22; Harris, Tasha 5-12 6-9 17; Kepilino, Rebecca
3-9 3-4 9; Hessing, Michelle 3-6 3-3 9; Galassi, Jenna 2-3 1-1 5; Thompson,
Jackie 1-1 1-2 3; Begay, Nadia 1-5 0-0 3; Stewart, Amanda 0-0 0-0 0; Reyes,
Bridgette 0-0 0-0 0; Lee, Jackie 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 22-51 20-27 68.
Nevada........................ 30 35 - 65
Boise State................... 26 42 - 68
3-point goals--Nevada 6-19 (Criner, Dellena 2-5; Fitzgerald, Brandi 1-4;
Harris, Brandi 1-1; Graham, Traci 1-6; Hammond, Marissa 1-1; Preslar,
Jessica 0-1; Feest, Coty 0-1), Boise State 4-10 (Thompson, Jessica 2-3;
Begay, Nadia 1-3; Harris, Tasha 1-3; Lee, Jackie 0-1). Fouled
out--Nevada-Graham, Traci, Boise State-None. Rebounds--Nevada 36 (Henry,
Bre'Anna 7), Boise State 28 (Thompson, Jessica 5; Hessing, Michelle 5).
Assists--Nevada 8 (Fitzgerald, Brandi 2; Criner, Dellena 2), Boise State 11
(Thompson, Jessica 4). Total fouls--Nevada 23, Boise State 14. Technical
fouls--Nevada-Lombardi, Marianne, Boise State-None. A-415