What’s Happening This Week For The Broncos . . .
Boise State (11-4, WAC 2-0) hits the road for two key early WAC games this weekend. The Broncos will face the two teams tied with Boise State at the top of the conference standings at 2-0. Up first for the Broncos are the Aggies of New Mexico State (7-7, WAC 2-0) on Thursday night in Las Cruces, New Mexico, tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (mountain) in the Pan American Center. The road trip ends Saturday night when Boise State travels to five-time conference champion Louisiana Tech (7-8, WAC 2-0).
What Happened Lately For The Broncos . . .
Vs. Utah State (1-4-07): 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.
Vs. Nevada (1-8-07): The Broncos moved to 2-0 on the year in league play and 11-4 overall this past Monday night when they rallied past Nevada in the second half to claim a hard fought 68-65 win at home in Boise. After struggling to hit their shots in the first half shooting 31 percent from the floor, Boise State shot 59.1 percent from the court, 66.7 percent from three-point range, and 87.5 percent from the foul line in the second period to propel them to the victory. The win moved the Broncos to 2-0 in WAC play for the first time since joining the league six years ago for the 2001-02 season.
About The Broncos In 2006-07 . . .
Boise State entered league play with the best overall non-conference mark in the WAC at 9-4. They have since gone 2-0 in league games to move to 11-4, the best start since the 1993-94 season. The Broncos enter this week tied for first place with New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech at 2-0 after week one. Boise State plays both of those schools on the road this weekend followed by a long trip to Hawaii next Saturday. Once the Broncos get through this three-game stretch the schedule will improve with Boise State hosting seven of their last 11 contests at Taco Bell Arena.
Boise State features the WACs top scoring offense averaging 68.7 points per game and the third ranked scoring defense allowing 63.2 per game. They also lead the league in scoring margin at +5.5 and fewest turnovers per game at 15.2. The Broncos are ranked in the top four in 13 WAC statistical categories entering Thursday’s game at New Mexico State. Some of their top rankings include: second in field goal percentage at 40.4 percent, fourth in rebound offense at 38.9 per game, second in rebound defense allowing 36.9 boards per game, third in rebound margin at +2.0, and second in turnover margin at +3.07.
Who To Watch For The Broncos . . .
Boise State has three players averaging double-figure points led by sophomore guard Jessica Thompson at 14.7 points per game (4th in WAC) to go with 3.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 2.3 steals (t-4th in WAC) per game. In 15 games she has recorded 12 games in double-figure points, five with 20 plus points, with a season high 25 at Oregon on Nov. 24. Michelle Hessing, a senior center out of Boise, averages 11.5 points (15th in WAC), 4.8 rebounds, and 1.3 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 10.1 points per game to go with 3.3 rebounds, and a team high 2.5 assists (9th in WAC) per game. On the glass, sophomore Rebecca Kepilino leads the team with 5.5 rebounds per game (13th in WAC), followed by senior forward Jackie Thompson with 5.2 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 two of their last three 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 68.7 points per game while shooting 40.4 percent (2nd in WAC) from the floor, 28.9 percent (73-of-253) from beyond the arc, and 70.4 percent (224-of-318) from the foul line. On the boards Boise State averages 38.9 rebounds per game to rank fourth in the WAC. They are a plus 5.5 (1st in WAC) in scoring margin, plus 2.0 (3rd in WAC) in rebounding margin, and plus 3.1 (2nd in WAC) in turnover margin.
Defensively As A Team . . .
Defensively, Boise State features the third ranked scoring defense in the WAC allowing 63.2 points per game. They have also held their opponents to 40.8 percent shooting from the hardwood and 35.7 percent (87-of-244) from long range. The Broncos also possess one of the best rebounding defenses in the league holding opponents to 36.9 rebounds per game (2nd in WAC). Boise State forces 18.3 turnovers per game in comparison to their giving it away 15.2 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 0.86.
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 16: New Mexico State (7-7, WAC 2-0)
About The Bronco-Aggie Series . . .
Boise State and New Mexico State have been members together of two different conferences going back to the Big West Conference from 1996-2000. The Aggies moved to the Sun Belt Conference in 2000-01 while the Broncos left for the WAC in 2001-02. Last year the Aggies joined the WAC rekindling the rivalry. Thursday’s game will be the 13th in the series which is currently tied at six wins apiece. The two met three times last season with the home team winning in the regular season contests, NMSU won 61-60 in overtime in Las Cruces and Boise State won 72-45 in Boise. However, the rubber match in the WAC semifinals went to the Aggies by one point, 60-59, in Reno, Nevada. Boise State is 1-5 all-time at New Mexico State. Their lone win in Las Cruces came on Feb. 6, 1998 by the score of 70-66.
What Has Happened Lately For New Mexico State . . .
The Aggies opened WAC play last week by sweeping two on the road. They defeated Hawaii, 58-51, on Thursday in Honolulu then followed up with a 59-48 victory at San Jose State on Saturday. They have won five of their last seven games including victories over Colorado State (71-55) on Dec. 29, at Wichita State (72-69), and at home over Southern Utah (59-57). The two losses in that stretch were home defeats to New Mexico (65-45) on Dec. 19 and BYU (60-43) on Dec. 6.
Who To Watch For New Mexico State . . .
The Aggies are led by three players in double-figure scoring. Sherell Neal leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 15.4 points (2nd in WAC) and 9.0 rebounds (3rd in WAC) per game. Cecilia Russell-Nava is second at 12.8 ppg and 2.5 rpg, followed by Anikia Jawara with 11.2 ppg and 6.6 rpg.
New Mexico State As A Team . . .
Offensively, the Aggies average 59.4 points per game (8th in WAC) shooting 36.8 percent from the floor, 31.1 percent (69-of-222) from beyond the arc to rank third, and 65 percent (147-of-226) from the charity stripe. Defensively, they are giving up a WAC second best 63 points per game and holding opponents to 38.4 percent (2nd in WAC) from the floor and 31.8 percent (6th in WAC) from three-point range. On the glass, the Aggies have been out rebounded by two and half per game and averaged 37.4 boards per game.
More About New Mexico State . . .
The Aggies returned three starters and five letterwinners from last year’s 10-20 squad that went 5-11 in league play to place tied for seventh in the standings. Darin Spence is in his fourth season at New Mexico State where he has gone 39-62 overall. This year’s New Mexico State team was picked to place seventh again by both the conference’s coaches and media.
SCOUTING GAME 17: Louisiana Tech (7-8, WAC 2-0)
About The Bronco-Lady Techster Series . . .
Louisiana Tech has dominated the series to date holding a solid 13-1 advantage in the series which began when both schools joined the WAC for the 2001-02 season. The Lady Techsters swept both games last year winning 75-61 in Ruston then 72-59 in Boise. The Broncos lone win came in Boise on Jan. 27, 2005 by the score of 62-59.
What Has Happened Lately For Louisiana Tech . . .
As usual the Lady Techsters have played a challenging schedule and enter the week at 7-8 overall. They swept last week’s road trip to open conference action defeating San Jose State 65-52 and Hawaii 64-53. They have won five of their last six games including victories over Mississippi State (60-54), Alabama (66-57), and Rice (86-58). The lone loss was against Louisiana State (61-44) on Dec. 30 in New Orleans.
Who To Watch For New Mexico State . . .
The Lady Techsters are led by Ty Moore averaging team highs for points and rebounds at 12.7 points and 9.3 boards per game. Shan Moore is second averaging 12.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Both were All-WAC second team honorees in 2006.
Louisiana Tech As A Team . . .
Offensively, Louisiana Tech features the fourth ranked scoring offense in the league averaging 63.7 points per game. They have shot 37.7 percent from the floor (5th in WAC), a league best 33.5 percent (53-of-158) from behind the three-point line, and 63.5 percent from the foul line (9th in WAC). Defensively, the Lady Techsters have the top scoring defense allowing 62.3 points per game, while holding their opponents to 37.4 percent (1st in WAC) from the hardwood and 28.8 percent (3rd in WAC) from behind the arc. They lead the WAC in offensive rebounding grabbing a conference high 41.3 boards per game while allowing 41.1 per game (8th in WAC).
More About Louisiana Tech . . .
Louisiana Tech is one of the traditional powers in women’s basketball nationally. They have won five straight WAC titles since joining the league in 2001-02. The Lady Techsters return three starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s team that won the conference going 15-1 in league and 26-5 overall. They advanced to the NCAA tournament as the WAC’s representatives. Chris Long is in his second year as head coach at Louisiana Tech where he has a 33-13 overall record. The Lady Techsters were picked to repeat as WAC champions by both the league’s coaches and media.
Louisiana Tech When Playing At Home . . .
The Lady Techsters have been extremely tough to beat at home in the Thomas Assembly Center over the years. When it concerns league competition they have not been beaten in 15 years owning a home conference win streak of 111 consecutive games. Their last loss in Ruston was on January 30, 1992 to New Orleans 69-54 when Louisiana Tech was a member of the Sun Belt Conference.