Big weekend for the Broncos and their title defense...
Week 13 is a busy one for Boise State (13-6, 5-2 WAC) with three games on the schedule. The action began with a home 82-62 victory over Western Athletic Conference leader Fresno State (11-9, 6-1 WAC) Monday night in Taco Bell Arena. The action continues with the Broncos hitting the road for two games at San Jose State (2-17, 1-5 WAC) on Thursday and at Idaho (2-17, 1-6 WAC) on Saturday. Both opponents have been showing steady improvement since the beginning of the season. The two games mark the midway point of the conference season and are key for the Broncos’ hopes of repeating as WAC champions.
The Broncos have won five straight games and are currently third in the WAC standings. They head first to San Jose State for a 8:00 p.m. (Mountain) tip Thursday night. The Events Center in San Jose, Calif. is the only arena in the conference that Boise State has never won 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 between the Gem State’s arch-rivals is at 8:00 p.m. (Mountain) at the Cowan Spectrum in Moscow, Idaho.
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 five consecutive games heading into this weekend’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 Jan. 17, followed by a hard fought 82-74 win over Nevada on Jan. 19. This past week the Broncos traveled to Honolulu where they defeated the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine 77-73, followed by Monday’s (Jan. 28) big 82-62 win over WAC leaders Fresno State in Boise.
Looking at the Boise State Broncos . . .
Entering the week Boise State has gone 13-6 overall and 5-2 in WAC action which places them third place in the conference standings. They returned three starters and seven letterwinners from last year’s 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 duo have both reached the 1,000 career points milestone this season. Harris starts at the point guard position where she has scored double-figure points in 22 consecutive game and has led the Broncos in scoring 11 times this season. She enters this week second in the WAC in scoring at 17.3 points per game (NCAA 72nd) to go with 4.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists (WAC 2nd), and 1.9 steals (WAC 11th). 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 sixth in the WAC at 14.7 points per game. She had recorded double-digit points in 15 games.
Senior forward Jackie Lee has recorded an average of 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in league competition, while junior forward Jenna Galassi has averaged 11.3 points and 4.1 boards during conference.
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 on the year averaging 74.5 points per game (NCAA 26th) on 40.4 percent (WAC 5th) shooting from the floor, 32.9 percent (WAC 4th) from three-point range, and 70.7 percent (WAC 4th) from the foul line. In league games the Broncos are averaging 77 points per game and have scored 80 plus points in four of their last five games. They are ranked 22nd nationally for three-pointers per game at 6.9 per contest.
Defensively As A Team . . .
Defensively, Boise State allows 69.2 points per game to rank eighth in the league. Meanwhile, opponents have shot 39.8 percent (WAC 4th) from the court and 31.6 percent (WAC 4th) from long range. Boise State is a +1.2 (WAC 5th) in rebound margin, 40.9 to 39.7 rpg. The Broncos are forcing 19.3 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 +3.0.
Game 20: Scouting the San Jose State Spartans...
The Series . . .
Thursday’s encounter will be the 15th meeting all-time in the series with the Spartans holding a 10-4 lead. The two teams met three times last season with Boise State winning two. The Broncos won the first meeting 82-59 in Boise, then San Jose State won the second 68-60 in San Jose, followed by a Bronco win in the WAC Tournament quarterfinals in Las Cruces, N.M. by the score of 81-64.
A Quick Look At San Jose State . . .
The Spartans enter the week at 2-17 overall and 1-5 in conference. They are currently in eighth place in the WAC standings. They enter the Thursday’s game coming off 1-2 record last week when they lost twice to Fresno State (81-63 in Fresno, 83-65 in San Jose) and defeated Idaho 53-46 in between the two games against the Bulldogs. The only other win this season was over Cal State Northridge 59-55 on the road.
San Jose State is in its first season under the direction of Pam DeCosta. Coach DeCosta came to SJSU via Lynn University where she went 45-66 in four seasons. The Spartans returned all five starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s 5-27 team that went 3-13 in conference to place tied for eighth. The 2007-08 San Jose State team was picked to place eighth in the WAC by the league’s coaches while the media tabbed them ninth.
Statistically For The Spartans . . .
As a Team: San Jose State features the WAC’s eighth ranked scoring offense averaging 58.4 points per game while giving up 70.6 (WAC 9th). They have been shooting 38.5 percent (WAC 7th) from the floor, 30.7 percent from 3-point range (WAC 7th), and 55.6 percent (WAC 9th) from the free-throw line. Opponents have shot 43.6 percent (WAC 7th) from the court and 34.4 percent (WAC 7th) from the arc. The Spartans are averaging 36.3 boards per game (WAC 6th).
Who to Watch: San Jose State is led by Natalie White who averages 16.5 points per game to rank third in the WAC for scoring. The junior guard also averages a team high 5.7 rebounds (WAC 10th) and 1.0 assists. No one else averages double figure scoring for San Jose State. Brittany Powell is second in scoring at 7.9 points per game followed by Myosha Barnes with 7.3 ppg.
Game 21: Scouting the Idaho Vandals...
The Series . . .
Saturday’s encounter will be the 60th meeting all-time in the series which the Broncos hold a 33-26 lead. Boise State swept their arch-rivals last season defeating the Vandals 85-55 in Boise (Jan. 27, 2007) followed by a 70-40 win in Moscow (Feb. 7, 2007).
A Quick Look At Idaho . . .
The Vandals enter the week at 2-17 overall and 1-6 in WAC play. They lost a pair of road games last week falling to San Jose State 53-46 on Thursday (Jan. 24) followed by a 68-53 defeat at Hawai’i on Saturday (Jan. 26). The lone WAC win so far was their last home game when they won in overtime against Utah State by the score of 70-64.
Idaho is in its seventh season under the direction of Mike Divilbiss who has accumulated a 80-111 record at the school. The Vandals returned three starters and six letterwinners from last year’s 6-22 team that placed tied for eighth in the conference with a 3-13 mark. The 2007-08 Vandals were picked to place last in this year’s league race by the WAC coaches while the media tabbed them eighth.
Statistically For The Vandals . . .
As a Team: Idaho features the WAC’s ninth ranked scoring offense averaging 53.4 points per game while giving up 67.9 (WAC 6th). They have been shooting 35.4 percent (WAC 9th) from the floor, 25.3 percent from 3-point range (WAC 9th), and 61 percent (WAC 8th) from the free-throw line. Opponents have shot 40.9 percent (WAC 5th) from the court and 34.7 percent (WAC 8th) from the arc. The Vandals are averaging 34.9 boards per game (WAC 8th).
Who to Watch: Idaho is led by Preseason All-WAC Second Team honoree Katie Madison. The sophomore forward averages 12.6 points per game (WAC 9th) along with 6.4 rebounds (WAC 7). Yinka Olorunnife is second in scoring at 10.2 points (WAC 18th) and a team high 6.5 rebounds per game (WAC 6th).