Boise State Travels to WAC Leading Nevada for Friday Afternoon Showdown...
► What’s Happening This Weekend
Boise State University (11-9, 4-2 WAC) continues defense of its 2008 Western Athletic Conference regular season title with one game this weekend when they travel to Reno, Nev., for a Friday afternoon matinee versus WAC leading University of Nevada (11-7, 5-0 WAC). Tip for this game featuring the first place Wolf Pack and second place (three-way-tie) Broncos is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. (Mountain) in the Lawlor Events Center. Boise State has won two in a row over Nevada, but the Wolf Pack are undefeated in conference at 5-0 and 7-1 at home this season. Boise State enters the week coming off a pair of home victories over New Mexico State (63-48) and Louisiana Tech (52-42). The Broncos are led by three underclassmen in freshmen guards Heather Pilcher (9.4 points, 1.8 rebounds) and Courtney VanBrocklin (7.7 points, 4.2 rebounds), and sophomore forward Marisa Stotler (9.2 points, 6.4 rebounds). Meanwhile, Nevada is coming off three-consecutive road wins over Utah State (56-49), Hawaii (69-50), and San Jose State (66-52). The Wolf Pack are led by three seniors including the WAC’s second ranked scorer on the year in Dellena Criner averaging 15.0 points per game and 3.8 rebounds. She is followed by classmates Brandi Jones (9.6 points, 5.8 rebounds) and Cherlanda Franklin (7.9 points, 7.3 rebounds).
► About The Broncos
The Broncos enter the week at 11-9 overall and 4-2 in WAC play, good for a second-place tie in the conference standings. They look to continue their success coming off a pair of home victories over New Mexico State and La Tech last weekend. The Broncos won by an average of 12.5 points per game last week, rebounding for the wins following their worse game in Presnell’s tenure the week before at Utah State where they lost 58-44 to a much improved Aggie squad. The Broncos have now gone 8-3 at home this year and have extended their home-win streak versus WAC opponents to 14 straight.
The Man In Charge...
● Gordy Presnell - The Broncos are in their fourth year under the leadership of head coach Gordy Presnell. To date, he has gone 74-41 while at Boise State and 470-168 in 22 seasons as a collegiate head coach. In competition versus the Nevada Wolf Pack he has accumulated a 4-2 mark.
As a Team...
● Offensively - The Broncos have struggled scoring averaging 61.4 points per game (4th WAC) while shooting 36.7 percent (8th WAC) from the floor, 25.9 percent (9th WAC) from the 3-point arc, and 65.3 percent (6th WAC) from the free-throw line.
● Defensively - Boise State’s strength this year is defense allowing 61.3 points per game (4th WAC) while opponents have shot 36.4 percent (2nd WAC) from the floor and 26.1 percent (2nd WAC) from the 3-point line. On the glass, Boise State is out rebounded by an average of 1.6 per game (7th WAC), 40.9 (3rd WAC) to 42.5 (8th WAC) rebounds.
Who To Watch...
● Heather Pilcher - The freshman guard has recently earned a starting role and now leads the team in scoring at 9.4 points per game (21st WAC) and is the second highest ranked freshman in the conference. The Lynwood, Calif., native has led the Broncos in scoring three times during league play.
● Marisa Stotler - The sophomore forward has begun to turn the corner in scoring lately and is a potent threat to opponents off the bench. She is currently second on the team in scoring averaging 9.2 points per game while recording 6.4 rebounds per game, second on the team and ninth in the WAC on the glass.
● Courtney VanBrocklin - The freshman has worked her way into the starting lineup as the third guard. At the moment she is ranked third on the team in scoring adding 7.7 points while adding 4.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists (15th WAC) and 1.5 steals per game (13th WAC).
● Brittany Moore - The senior guard ranks fourth in scoring at 7.3 points per game. She missed the Idaho and Fresno State games because of injury but returned 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.
Note: statistical rankings are for all games unless noted otherwise.
► Scouting Game 21 at Nevada on Friday (1/30/09)
Game 21 features the WAC leading Nevada Wolf Pack (11-7, 5-0 WAC) for a 1:00 p.m. (Mountain) tip in Reno on Friday. The Wolf Pack currently have a two game lead in the standings over the rest of the conference. Nevada went 6-7 in nonconference action before rolling off a five-game win streak to start league play. They opened WAC action with a home sweep of Louisiana Tech (64-57) and New Mexico State (61-56), recently they have won three straight road games over Utah State, Hawaii, and San Jose State.
● The Head Coach - Nevada is in its first season under the direction of head coach Jane Albright who came to the school via Wichita State where she recorded a 48-95 five-year mark. Currently she is 11-7 overall at Nevada and 408-319 overall in 24 years as a collegiate head coach.
● As a Team - Entering this weekend, Nevada possesses the WAC’s third ranked scoring offense averaging 62.1 points per game while shooting 37.7 percent (5th WAC) from the floor, 28.3 percent (6th WAC) from the arc, and 69.1 percent (1st WAC) from the foul line. Defensively they allow 61.4 points per game (5th WAC) while opponents have shot 38.7 percent (5th WAC) from the court and 32.6 percent (5th WAC) from behind the 3-point line. They are fourth in rebounding averaging 40.2 boards per game while opponents grab 38.1 per game (3rd WAC).
● Who to Watch - Senior guard Dellena Criner has been one of the premiere players in the WAC since arriving at Nevada, she leads the Wolf Pack in scoring at 15.0 points per game (2nd WAC) while adding 3.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists (1st WAC). Senior Brandi Jones (formerly known as Fitzgerald) is second in scoring at 9.6 points per game to go with 5.8 rebounds, while senior Cherlanda Franklin leads on the boards averaging 7.3 rebounds per game (3rd WAC) in addition to 7.9 points.
● What’s Back From Last Year - The Wolf Pack returned the most experience in the league from last year with four starters and 10 letterwinners back from an 18-12 squad that went 9-7 in the WAC to place tied for fourth.
● Conference Preseason Polls - The league’s coaches and media picked Nevada to place fourth in this year’s WAC race.
► A Quick Look at the Series
Friday’s game will be the 37th edition of the Nevada-Boise State series which the Broncos have dominated holding a 28-8 all-time advantage. The Broncos lead 10-4 in WAC regular season games, 16-3 in games played in Boise, 11-5 in games at Reno, and 1-0 in neutral site contests. Boise State swept the series last year winning 82-74 in Boise and 80-69 in Reno. These two programs have a long history together as members of four different leagues dating back to the old Mountain West Athletic Conference (1987-88), Big Sky Conference (1988-92), Big West Conference (1996-00), and most recently the WAC (2001-present).
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