► What’s Happening
Boise State University’s women’s basketball team hits the road for a crucial two-game road trip this week when they travel to Louisiana Tech University and New Mexico State University. All three teams are in the middle of the pack in the Western Athletic Conference and fighting to keep in touch with the front runners in the league standings.
First up, the Broncos play Wednesday night at La Tech in Ruston with tip-off scheduled for 6:00 p.m. (Mountain) in the Thomas Assembly Center. This contest marks the end of the first round of conference games for Boise State and the Lady Techsters. The Broncos enter the game at 14-7 overall and 3-4 in league tied for fourth place. Meanwhile, La Tech enters the contest at 13-6 on the year and 4-3 in WAC play good for sole possession of third place. Boise State has won four consecutive games over La Tech and three straight in Ruston.
Both teams enter the encounter coming off home wins last Saturday with the Broncos defeating Utah State 70-63 and the Lady Techsters taking a 74-71 overtime thriller against Idaho.
The game features the WAC’s top-two scoring offenses with Boise State’s second-ranked offense averaging 71.8 points per game and seventh-ranked scoring defense 67.0, versus La Tech’s high powered top-ranked offense averaging 75.1 points per game and fourth-ranked defense that is allowing 64.2 ppg. It will also be a showcase for four of the WAC’s top-five scorers on the year in Boise State’s Tasha Harris (16.6 ppg) and Jessica Van Hoogen (15.4 ppg) ranked third and fifth respectively going toe-to-toe with the Lady Techsters’ Shanavia Dowdell (18.3 ppg) and Adrienne Johnson (15.8 ppg) ranked first and fourth in the league.
The second game of the road trip has the Broncos playing at New Mexico State at 4:00 p.m. (Mountain) on Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader in the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, N.M. The Aggies are currently tied with Boise State at 3-4 in league to go with a 13-8 overall mark. NMSU will play at San Jose State on Wednesday prior to hosting the Broncos on the weekend. Updated game notes will come out on Friday.
► Follow the Broncos on the Road: Radio and Internet Broadcasts
Boise State Radio carries every regular season and postseason game on the air beginning with a 15 minute pregame show. To tune into the action go to KBSU AM-730 in Boise, KEZJ AM-1450 in Twin Falls, and KBSK FM-89.9 in McCall. In addition, all games can be heard live on Boise State Radio’s website at http://radio.boisestate.edu/listenonline.html.
Scouting Game #22
Looking at Boise State
► The Broncos
Boise State enters the game at 14-7 overall and 3-4 in conference tied for fourth place in the standings. Boise State has been solid at home this year going 9-1, however, the road has been a different story. Boise State opened the year 4-0 on the road before dropping its last six road games and is now 4-6 away from Boise. They returned two starters and five letterwinners from the 2008-09 campaign that saw the Broncos go 16-15 overall and 9-7 in conference tying for fifth place.
► What’s Happened Recently
Boise State lost 73-66 at Fresno State last Wednesday, Jan. 27, followed by a come from behind 70-63 win at home over Utah State this past Saturday, Jan. 30.
The Broncos opened WAC play by losing the opener 87-83 in overtime to New Mexico State (Jan. 6) followed by a disappointing 64-52 defeat at Nevada (Jan. 9) and a second overtime loss on Jan. 16 at Idaho by the score of 84-81. Boise State had chances to win all three but lost them down the stretch.
Since then Boise State has won three of the last four contests including a home sweep of San Jose State 75-53 on Jan. 20 and Hawaii 73-64 on Jan. 23.
Fresno State Game Short Recap - Boise State’s Jessica Van Hoogen and Tasha Harris combined for 41 points in the loss at Fresno State. The Bulldogs scored the opening basket and never trailed in the game leading by as many as 13 points with 6:42 to play in the second half. However, the Broncos kept the game close throughout and tied the score up twice in the second period.
They came within four points late and had chances to get closer but came up short. In the end free throws and defensive rebounding cost the Broncos as the Bulldogs out scored Boise State 15 (15-of-18) to four (4-of-5) from the line and 19 to five on second chance points.
Utah State Game Short Recap - Boise State rallied from six points down with 8:50 remaining to defeat Utah State 70-63 in Boise. Rebecca Kepilino scored a season-high 17 points, 10 in the second half, to lead the Broncos to the come from behind victory. The game was close throughout the 40 minutes of action in a contest that saw seven ties and 10 leads changes. The game was one of swings as the Broncos opened a game-high 10-point, 44-34, lead by the 17:13 mark on the second period. Utah State battled back erasing the 10-point deficit with a 20 to six run that saw them go up a Utah State game-high six points, 56-50, with 8:50 remaining.
After surrendering the 10-point lead it was Boise State’s turn to swing momentum its way. Down six, the Broncos picked up their pressure as they slowly cut into the deficit. Melissa Rima drained the second of two key 3-pointers from the left corner to give Boise State a 62-61 lead with 2:54 to go. Boise State finished the final two-plus minutes out scoring Utah State 8-0 down the stretch. Tasha Harris scored six of the final points with two jumpers and two free throws.
► Who to Watch
● Tasha Harris - The senior point-guard leads the team in scoring at 16.6 points (3rd in WAC, 87th nationally), 6.0 rebounds (11th in WAC), and a WAC third-best 3.2 assists. Harris ranks second all-time in career points at Boise State with 1,616 and first in career free throws made (443) and attempted (601). She is ranked first in the WAC for free throw percentage in league games at 85.4.
● Jessica Van Hoogen - The senior shooting-guard averages 15.4 points (5th in WAC), 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. She ranks third in career points at Boise State with 1,532.
● Janie Bos - The junior center is third on the team in scoring at 8.3 points to go with a team-high 6.3 rebounds (9th in WAC) per game.
● Rebecca Kepilino - The senior forward is fourth in scoring at 7.3 points while adding 5.0 boards. She has recorded double-figure points in four straight games and is averaging 12.2 points and 5.8 rebounds over the last five games while shooting 63 percent from the floor and 54.5 percent from the 3-point arc.
► As a Team
Offensively, the Broncos average 71.8 points per game (2nd in WAC, 39th nationally) while shooting 39.9 percent (6th in WAC) from the floor, 29.5 percent (7th in WAC) from the 3-point arc and 70.5 percent (3rd in WAC) from the free-throw line. On the glass, Boise State ranks second in the WAC 42.4 rebounds per game and gives up 38.4 (7th in WAC), for a plus 4.0 in rebound margin (3rd in WAC).
Defensively, the Broncos allow 67 points per game (7th in WAC) and hold opponents to 39.6 percent (6th in WAC) shooting from the floor and 28.6 percent (2nd in WAC) from the arc. Boise State is a plus 1.5 in turnover margin (2nd in WAC) committing a average of 17.4 per game while forcing 19 per game. Boise State is ranked 22nd nationally for steals per game at 11.2.
► The Head Coach
The Broncos are in their fifth year under the leadership of head coach Gordy Presnell. To date, he has gone 93-56 while at Boise State and is 489-180 in 22-plus seasons (2009-10 is his 23rd) as a collegiate head coach. He is 5-3 versus La Tech as Boise State’s head coach.
Looking at Louisiana Tech
► The Lady Techsters
La Tech enters the game at 13-6 overall and 4-3 in league good for third place. The Lady Techsters are coming into Wednesday’s game off a 74-71 overtime home victory over Idaho this past Saturday. Prior to that La Tech dropped a pair of road games 71-61 at Fresno State and 69-56 at Nevada. The Lady Techsters returned four starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s 21-13 campaign that saw them go 12-4 in league play to tie for first place.
► Who to Watch
On the year La Tech has three players averaging double-figure points. The WAC Preseason Player of the Year Shanavia Dowdell leads the conference in scoring and rebounding at 18.3 points and 11.9 boards per game. She is followed by Adrienne Johnson who adds 15.8 points (4th in WAC) and 6.8 rebounds, and Whitney Jones with 12.0 ppg.
► As a Team
The La Tech averages a league-high 75.1 points per game while allowing 64.2 points (4th in WAC). The Lady Techsters shoot a WAC-best 44.1 percent from the floor, 31.8 percent (6th WAC) from the 3-point arc, and 69.5 percent (5th in WAC) from the free-throw line.
► The Head Coach
The Lady Techsters are in their first full year under Teresa Weatherspoon as head coach. She took over the program last Feb. (2009) and is currently 22-8 at her alma mater. Wednesday’s game with the Broncos will be her first as head coach.
Looking at the Series
► Boise State Versus Louisiana Tech
Wednesday’s encounter between the Lady Techsters and Broncos will be the 21st in the series with La Tech holding a commanding 14-6 advantage. Louisiana Tech won the first nine contests of the series, however, Boise State has turned the series as of late winning four straight and five of the last six meetings. Boise State has won three-straight in Ruston. Last year the Broncos won 52-42 in Boise followed by a 66-61 victory at La Tech.
► Boise State Versus the WAC
Boise State is 64-69 all-time in WAC play. The Broncos are 115-100 all-time versus the current membership of the WAC and went 9-8 last year, including a first round loss at the WAC Tournament.