Broncos Regroup for Big 63-48 WAC Win Over New Mexico State?
BOISE, Idaho (1/23/09) Brittany Moore and Courtney VanBrocklin led a solid team effort with a combined 25 points in Boise State’s 63-48 victory over Western Athletic Conference rival New Mexico State in Taco Bell Arena Friday night at Boise. After a disappointing performance last Saturday at Utah State, the Broncos regrouped for tonight’s key WAC battle with NMSU pitting two of the three teams tied for fourth place in the standings against each other.
Boise State led nearly the entire game but for one moment in the first period when NMSU took a 6-4 advantage with 15:32 to play in the half. Boise State responded with a Brittany Moore 3-pointer from the top of the arc 56 seconds later giving the Broncos the lead for good at 7-6. Moore’s shot sparked an 11-0 Boise State run as the lead grew to 15-6 with 11:49 showing on the clock.
The Broncos opened the game shooting the ball well for the first 12 minutes hovering around the 41 percent mark while New Mexico State struggled throughout the opening 20 minutes. It was not until the final eight minutes of the half that Boise State started to cool off a bit. The Broncos went 2-for-13 from the floor to close the half as the Aggies slowly pulled to within five points twice, the last coming at 23-18 with 4:03 to play until halftime.
VanBrocklin gave the Broncos a much needed boost as the half closed. After Tyshae Walton missed a short jumper that would half cut the NMSU deficit to three points. VanBrocklin grabbed the rebound then drove the length of the floor pulling up for a quick 17-foot jumper. She made the shot and drew a foul on the Aggies’ Niki Holt with 50 seconds left. The freshman from Deming, Wash., stepped to the line and converted the old fashion three-point play to give Boise State an eight-point halftime lead at 26-18.
Both teams shot the ball better in the second period as the pace picked up. After the Broncos stretched their halftime advantage to 10 points, 30-20, a minute into the half, the Aggies came storming back with an 8-2 run to pull within four points at 32-28 with 16:30 to go.
After trading baskets for the next three minutes the Broncos slowly began to pull away from the Aggies. Up 40-36 with 13:13 remaining, Boise State went on a 12-4 run stretching the lead to 12 points, 52-40, with six and a half minutes left.
New Mexico State would never get closer than 10 points the rest of the way as the Broncos extended the lead to a game-high 16-point advantage twice, the last coming with 2:10 to play and the scoreboard reading 63-47. The Aggies recorded the only point in the final two minutes on a Madison Spence free throw with nine seconds remaining to make the final score 63-48.
Defense was big for Boise State again as they were able force the Aggies into five more turnovers, 21, than they average entering the game. That makes the 12th time this year that the Broncos have forced opponents into more giveaways than they averaged on the year. In addition, the WAC’s second best 3-point shooting team, NMSU, hitting 33 percent on the year was held 0-11 from behind the arc.
Brittany Moore led the Broncos in scoring with a team-best 13 points to go with three rebounds. Amazing considering the senior reinjured her knee Monday during practice and was questionable on whether she would even play entering the game. Freshman Courtney VanBrocklin continues to impress recording 12 points, a team-high eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals. What does not show up on the score sheet was how well she defended NMSU’s leading scorer holding Madison Spence six points below her average.
Marisa Stotler teamed up with Janie Bos to lead the Broncos in the post, a key entering the contest. Bos finished the game with 11 points and six rebounds, while Stotler added 10 points, six boards, one assist, and one steal. Jamia Malone ended with eight points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Kaitlyn Soto led New Mexico State with 11 points, two boards, three assists and one steal. No other Aggie hit double-figure points. Madison Spence finished with nine points, all in the second half, three rebounds, and one assist. Tabytha Wamper and Tyshae Walton each added eight points, while Niki Holt turned in a team-best 10 rebounds to go with six points.
Boise State finished the game shooting 39.7 percent (25-63) from the floor, 23.5 percent (4-17) from the arc, and 69.2 percent (9-13) from the free-throw line. NMSU hit 33.3 percent (20-60) from the court, zero percent (0-11) from behind the 3-point line, and 50 percent (8-16) from the charity stripe. Boise State ended the contest out rebounding NMSU 43-40.
The win extended Boise State’s home win streak against WAC members to 13 straight as the Broncos improved to 10-9 overall and 3-2 in league. The loss drops NMSU to 6-13 on the year and 2-3 in WAC action. Next up for the Broncos is Louisiana Tech (10-9, 3-2 WAC) at 2:00 p.m. (Mountain) in Taco Bell Arena at Boise. The Broncos and Bulldogs are now tied for fourth place in the standings.
Louisiana Tech lost an 18-point second half lead Friday night at Idaho before defeating the Vandals 67-63 in overtime. Coincidentally, the Lady Techsters are the last WAC team to defeat Boise State in Boise, downing the Broncos 79-63 on Feb. 3, 2007. Note of interest, the two teams joined the WAC together in 2001. Since then the two have won outright or shared every conference regular season title with La Tech winning the first six and Boise State the last two, they shared the title in 2007.
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