Week 13 is a busy one for Boise State (12-6, 4-2 WAC) with three games on the schedule. The action begins with a home game against Western Athletic Conference leader Fresno State (11-8, 6-0 WAC) Monday night in Taco Bell Arena, followed by two road games at San Jose State (2-17, 1-5 WAC) on Thursday and at Idaho (2-17, 1-6 WAC) on Saturday.
Monday’s game is big for the Broncos who are trying to catch the undefeated Bulldogs at the top of the conference standings. Boise State, who is currently tied for third place, opened their WAC schedule at Fresno State on Jan. 5 losing a 10-point decision 73-63. The Broncos have won four straight entering the game while the Bulldogs are undefeated at 6-0 but have yet to play on the road against a team in the top half of the conference.
After the Fresno State game, the Broncos hit the road again this time heading for a 8:00 p.m. (Mountain) game at San Jose State on Thursday. The Events Center in San Jose, Calif. is the only arena in the WAC that Boise State has never won in going 0-6 to date against the Spartans on their home floor. The road trip continues with a Saturday night encounter at the University of Idaho. Tip-off for the 60th meeting with the arch-rival Idaho Vandals at the Cowan Spectrum in Moscow, Idaho is also 8:00 p.m. (Mountain).
Lately For The Broncos...
Boise State opened conference action going 1-2 on the road. The Broncos started off with two disappointing conference games to open league play at Fresno State 73-63 and at New Mexico State 79-65. In both games the Broncos dug themselves a huge hole then battled back only to fade down the stretch.
The Broncos have now won four consecutive games heading into this week’s action. On Saturday, Jan. 12, Boise State regrouped to defeat Louisiana Tech 85-68. They became the first league opponent in Lady Techsters history to win in Ruston in two consecutive seasons.
Boise State then won two at home 85-77 over a pesky Utah State squad on Thursday, Jan. 17, followed a big 82-74 win over previously undefeated (in league) Nevada on Saturday, Jan. 19. This past week the Broncos traveled to Honolulu where they defeated the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine 77-73.
Looking at the Boise State Broncos . . .
Entering the week Boise State has gone 12-6 overall and 4-2 in WAC action which places them in a tie for third place with New Mexico State in the conference standings. They returned three starters and seven letterwinners from last year’s Western Athletic Conference championship team. They also add added eight new faces to the squad. After struggling initially going 3-3 early, the Broncos slowly found their way finishing the non-conference slate at 8-4. Included in Boise State’s non-conference results is a 4-0 record against teams that went to postseason tournaments last year. Including their win over Nevada on Jan. 19, the Broncos’ record against 2007 postseason teams is now 5-0 (3-0 vs. NCAA Tournament and 2-0 vs. WNIT).
Boise State is the defending Western Athletic Conference champions after going 12-4 in league play last season. They set a school record for overall wins after finishing 24-9 during the 2006-07 campaign highlighted by the WAC’s regular season and tournament titles, and a NCAA Tournament first round appearance where they lost 76-67 to George Washington. This year’s Boise State team was picked to repeat their conference championship in 2008 by both the league’s coaches and media.
Who To Watch For The Broncos . . .
Boise State has arguably the best backcourt combination in the Western Athletic Conference in juniors Tasha Harris and Jessica Thompson. The two guard combo enters the week ranked second and fifth respectively in the WAC for scoring and average a combined 32 points per game, or 43 percent of Boise State’s total of 74.1 per game.
Harris starts at the point guard position where she has scored double-figure points in every game and has led the Broncos in scoring 10 times. She enters this week second in the WAC in scoring at 16.9 points per game (NCAA 93rd, as of 1/22/08) to go with 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists (WAC 3rd), and 2.0 steals (WAC t-10th). Harris was also a 2007 WAC Preseason All-WAC Second Team honoree.
Thompson is the WAC’s Preseason Player of the Year. The junior starts at the shooting guard position where she has led the team in scoring seven times and is ranked fifth in the WAC at 14.9 points per game. She had recorded double-digit points in 15 games.
Offensively As A Team . . .
Boise State is an up-tempo team who looks to push the ball up the floor. The Broncos feature the WAC’s top ranked scoring offense averaging 74.1 points per game (NCAA 29th, as of 1/22/08) on 39.7 percent (WAC 5th) shooting from the floor, 32.4 percent (WAC 4th) from three-point range, and 70.3 percent (WAC 4th) from the foul line. They are ranked 27th nationally (as of 1/22/08) for three-pointers per game at 6.9 per contest. They are ranked third in the conference for offensive rebounds per game pulling down 16.1 each time out.
Defensively As A Team . . .
Defensively, Boise State allows 69.6 points per game to rank eighth in the league. Meanwhile, opponents have shot 40.2 percent (WAC 4th) from the court and 31.1 percent (WAC 3rd) from long range. Boise State is a +1.7 (WAC 5th) in rebound margin, 41.5 to 39.8 rpg. The Broncos are forcing 19 turnovers per game (WAC 4th) while giving it away 16.4 times per game (WAC 2nd), they are third in the WAC for turnover margin at +2.6.