► What’s Happening
Boise State University (9-8, 2-1 WAC) continues defense of its 2008 Western Athletic Conference regular season title when they travel to Utah State (7-10, 1-3 WAC) for a Saturday afternoon matinee, tip is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. (Mountain) in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum at Logan, Utah. The Broncos enter the game tied for third place in the league standings with Fresno State while the Aggies are seventh overall. Boise State has never lost to Utah State since the Aggies joined the conference for the 2005-06 season going 7-0 to date.
► The Broncos’ Record
The Broncos enter the week at 9-8 overall and 2-1 in WAC play. They are coming off a 70-61 home victory this past Monday, Jan. 12, night over Hawai’i. Prior to that they split a pair of road contests to open league action defeating the Idaho Vandals 60-56 before falling 62-52 to the Fresno State Bulldogs. Boise State finished its nonconference schedule with a home loss to the Arizona Wildcats on Dec. 29 giving the Broncos a 7-7 non-league mark.
► New Look Broncos
The Broncos had eight returning letterwinners and three starters from last year’s championship squad entering the 2008-09 campaign. However, injuries have since sidelined several Broncos including four players, two All-WAC performers in 2008, who were projected starters prior to the start of the season. Entering conference play Boise State has four of the eight returning veterans available to them, the other seven active players on the roster either redshirted (5) last year or are true freshmen (2).
► Revolving Lineup
To date, Boise State is on its sixth different starting lineup do primarily to injuries. At this point in the year 11 different Broncos have started at least one game this season. One active starter is back from last year’s lineup in senior forward Jenna Galassi. Joining her now in starting roles are senior point guard Jamia Malone, freshmen guards Heather Pilcher and Courtney VanBrocklin, and redshirt sophomore post Janie Bos. Entering this weekend the five have a combined 97 career starts at Boise State with Galassi accounting for 57.
► Looking at Boise State As A Team
Under head coach Gordy Presnell, Boise State has become a program that is at its best pushing the ball up the floor in a fast-paced contest. However, injuries have impacted that tempo preference a bit in 2008-09.
Offensively, the Broncos have struggled averaging 62.9 points per game (3rd WAC) while shooting 36.9 percent (7th WAC) from the floor, 26.9 percent (8th WAC) from the 3-point arc, and 64.8 percent (6th WAC) from the free-throw line.
Defensively, Boise State has allowed 63.5 points per game (5th WAC) while opponents have shot 37.3 percent (3rd WAC) from the floor and 27.1 percent (2nd WAC) from the 3-point line. On the glass, Boise State is out rebounded by an average of 1.4 per game (6th WAC), 40.9 (3rd WAC) to 42.3 (8th WAC) rebounds.
Note: statistical rankings are for all games unless noted otherwise.
► Who To Watch For Boise State
The Broncos are currently led by a trio of underclassmen ranked in the top four for scoring on the team.
Freshman guard Heather Pilcher now leads the team in scoring at 10.4 points per game (16th WAC) to go with 1.9 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.6 steals (10th WAC). The freshman from Lynwood, Calif., has led the Broncos in scoring during all three league games and is ranked third in the conference averaging 17.3 ppg.
Sophomore forward Marisa Stotler has struggled scoring lately slipping to second averaging 9.3 points per game while recording a team-high 6.5 rebounds per game (t-10th WAC).
Senior guard Brittany Moore ranks third in scoring at 7.5 points per game to go with 1.8 rebounds. She has missed the Idaho and Fresno State games because of injury but return against Hawaii in a reserve role. Prior to her injury versus Arizona on Dec. 29, she had led the Broncos in scoring during the previous four games averaging 16.8 points per game including a career-high 21 against Saint Mary’s on Dec. 22.
Freshman Courtney VanBrocklin is fourth in scoring adding 7.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists (13th WAC) and 1.5 steals per game (12th WAC).
Note: statistical rankings are for all games unless noted otherwise.
Game 18 at Utah State
► The Game Saturday (1/17/09)
The 17th edition of the Boise State-Utah State series is scheduled to tip at 3:00 p.m. (Mountain) in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on the USU campus in Logan Saturday afternoon. It will feature a Bronco squad trying to overcome adversity do to key injuries versus a Aggie team that has shown major improvement this season. Boise State has the league’s third ranked offense (67.4 ppg) and fourth ranked defense (63.5 ppg), and is led by underclassmen in freshman Heather Pilcher (10.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg), sophomore Marisa Stotler (9.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg), and freshman Courtney VanBrocklin (7.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg). Meanwhile, Utah State brings the conference’s eight ranked offense (57.1 ppg) along with the top defense (59.2 ppg), and is led by upperclassmen in senior Danyelle Snelgro (13.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg), senior Ana Pares (13.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg), and junior Lydia Whitehead (9.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg).
► A Quick Look at the Series
Saturday’s game in Logan, Utah will be the 17th all-time in the series which is led by Boise State 14-2. It will be the first of two meetings this year between the Aggies and Broncos. Boise State swept three games over Utah State last year including a WAC Tournament quarterfinal contest in Las Cruces, N.M. The Broncos have won 11-straight over the Aggies.
► Last Year
▪ In Boise (1/17/08) - Tasha Harris and Jessica Thompson each scored 19 points to led Boise State past Utah State 85-77 in a shootout. The game was close initially before the Broncos took control late in the first half. The Aggies, who were led by then seniors Jamelah Brown with 24 points and Jenny Gross with 17 points and a team-high 10 rebounds tried to rally late pulling to within six points in the closing minutes. However, Boise State converted 12-of-16 free throws in the final two minutes to hold off Utah State for the win.
▪ In Logan (3/1/08) - Boise State clinched a share of its second-consecutive WAC title with a 65-57 victory at Utah State in the regular season finale. Boise State led the entire night except for a 41-40 deficit with 12:04 to play. Jamia Malone then hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a Boise State 15-3 run that gave the Broncos momentum and eventually the victory. Tasha Harris led the Broncos with 18 points followed by Jackie Lee’s 13. Utah State was led by Taylor Richards with 14 points while Jenny Gross added her second double-double against BSU of the season with 12 points and 11 boards.
▪ In Las Cruces, N.M. (3/17/08) - Number two seeded Boise State opened the defense of its 2007 WAC Tournament championship with a 14-point, 61-47, victory over Utah State (seventh seed) in the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, N.M. After Utah State opened the game with a three-point play, the Broncos took the lead and never trailed again taking a 33-26 lead into halftime. The Broncos pulled away from the Aggies midway through the second half as Tasha Harris (19) and Jessica Thompson (17) combined for 36 points to lead Boise State to the victory. In the final 10 minutes of regulation Boise State stretched the lead to double-figures with a game-high 15-point lead coming with 59 seconds remaining. Jamelah Brown was the only Aggie to reach double-figure points with 10, followed by Jenny Gross with nine.
► Scouting Utah State
Head Coach - Utah State is in it’s sixth season under head coach Raegan Pebley who is 49-108 at the school. Since she was hired to bring women’s basketball back to Utah State with the 2003-04 season, she has gone 0-7 versus Boise State. What’s Happened So Far - The Aggies have gone 7-10 overall and 1-3 in WAC play. They are coming in off a 56-49 home loss to Nevada Wednesday, Jan. 14, night in Logan. Prior to that, USU split a pair of home games defeating New Mexico State 72-58 before dropping a heartbreaker in overtime 90-82 to Louisiana Tech last Saturday. As a Team - Entering Saturday’s game, Utah State is a -2.2 in scoring margin (5th WAC) averaging 57.1 points per game (8th WAC) while allowing 59.2 ppg (1st WAC). They have shot 38.4 percent (4th WAC) from the court, 28.6 percent (4th WAC) from the arc, and 62.7 percent (7th WAC) from the foul line. Who to Watch - Senior Danyelle Snelgro leads the Aggies averaging 13.4 points (7th WAC) and 4.2 rebounds per game. Senior Ana Pares is second in scoring at 13.3 ppg (9th WAC), followed by junior Lydia Whitehead at 9.6 ppg (18th WAC) and 6.5 rpg (9th WAC). What’s Back From Last Year - The Aggies returned two starters and six letterwinners from last year’s 9-20 squad that went 5-11 in the WAC to place seventh. Conference Preseason Polls - The league’s coaches picked Utah State to place sixth in this year’s WAC race, while the media pegged them seventh.