Second Half of WAC Season Begins This Weekend...
► What’s Happening This Weekend
Boise State University’s (11-10, 4-3 WAC) WAC title defense hits the road for two games this weekend at seventh-place New Mexico State (6-15, 2-5 WAC) and fourth-place Louisiana Tech (11-10, 4-3 WAC), the Lady Techsters enter the week tied with the Broncos in the conference standings. Boise State defeated both teams two weeks ago in Boise handing NMSU a 63-48 defeat on Jan. 23 before downing La Tech 52-42 two days later on Jan. 25th. This weekend marks the midway point of the conference season with the league race still up for grabs.
This week’s action begins Friday with a 7:00 p.m. (Mountain) tip-off in the Pan American Center on the New Mexico State campus. The Bronco-Aggie game features the league’s fourth and fifth ranked scoring offenses on the year in NMSU (60.7 ppg) and Boise State (60.6 ppg) respectively. the Broncos lost both games at Las Cruces, N.M., last season including a 72-66 defeat in the WAC Tournament semifinals on March 14, 2008.
The weekend will conclude when Boise State takes on Louisiana Tech at 1:00 p.m. (Mountain) in the Thomas Assembly Center at Ruston, La. The Lady Techsters have the league’s second ranked scoring offense averaging 66 points per game on the season. Last year the Broncos became the first league opponent in La Tech history to defeat the Lady Techsters in Ruston in back-to-back seasons. Boise State’s 85-68 victory at La Tech in 2008 was the first victory of a 15-game win streak for the Broncos that ended with the loss to NMSU during the WAC Tournament.
► About The Broncos
The Broncos enter the week at 11-10 overall and 4-3 in WAC play, good for a fourth-place tie in the conference standings with Louisiana Tech. They look to rebound from a 77-45 loss at Nevada last Friday, Jan. 30, in Reno. Prior to that, Boise State recorded a pair of home victories over New Mexico State (62-48) and La Tech (52-42). This year has been hard for the Broncos who have been tough to beat at home going 8-3 in Taco Bell Arena, the three losses have been by an average of 5.7 points per game. Unfortunately, it has been a different story on the road as Boise State has struggled for consistency going 3-7.
● 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 74-42 while at Boise State and 470-169 in 22 seasons as a collegiate head coach. In competition versus New Mexico State he has gone 6-4, Presnell is 4-3 in games coached against Louisiana Tech.
● As a Team...
Offensively - The Broncos have struggled scoring averaging 60.6 points per game (5th WAC) while shooting 36.4 percent (8th WAC) from the floor, 25.5 percent (9th WAC) from the 3-point arc, and 65.7 percent (6th WAC) from the free-throw line.
Defensively - Boise State’s strength this year is defense allowing 62.1 points per game (6th WAC) while opponents have shot 36.9 percent (3rd WAC) from the floor and 27 percent (2nd WAC) from the 3-point line. On the glass, Boise State is out rebounded by an average of 1.6 per game (6th WAC), 40.8 (3rd WAC) to 42.4 (8th WAC) rebounds.
● Who To Watch...
Marisa Stotler - The sophomore forward currently leads the team in scoring and rebounding while coming in off the bench. She is averaging 9.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, 10th in the WAC on the glass.
Heather Pilcher - The freshman guard is second on the team in scoring at 9.2 points per game. The Lynwood, Calif., native has led the Broncos in scoring three times during league play.
Courtney VanBrocklin - The freshman guard is third in scoring adding 7.3 points while adding 4.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game (t-15th WAC).
Brittany Moore - The senior guard ranks fourth in scoring at 6.9 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 22 at New Mexico State on Friday (2/6/09)
Game 22 features the New Mexico State Aggies (6-15, 2-5 WAC) for a 7:00 p.m. (Mountain) tip-off in Las Cruces, N.M., on Friday. The Aggies, who are currently in seventh place in the standings, are coming into the weekend on a three-game road losing streak with losses at Boise State (63-48), at Idaho (70-49), and most recently at La Tech (77-51) last Friday, Jan. 30. All five of their league defeats have come on the road while they have won both home games against San Jose State (68-51) on Jan. 16 and over Fresno State (80-74) on Jan. 18. This weekend NMSU begins a stretch where they will host six of their last nine games to conclude the season.
● The Head Coach - New Mexico State is in its sixth season under the direction of head coach Darin Spence. He currently owns a 74-97 record with the Aggies and a 391-177 overall collegiate head coaching mark. Spence is 4-6 versus the Broncos.
● As a Team - Entering this weekend, New Mexico State possesses the WAC’s fourth ranked scoring offense averaging 60.7 points per game while shooting 36.9 percent (7th WAC) from the floor, 30.2 percent (3rd WAC) from the arc, and 68.5 percent (2nd WAC) from the foul line. Defensively they allow 68.8 points per game (8th WAC) while opponents have shot 42.3 percent (8th WAC) from the court and 35.3 percent (8th WAC) from behind the 3-point line. They are sixth in rebounding averaging 37.2 boards per game while opponents grab 40.9 per game (7th WAC).
● Who to Watch - Sophomore guard Madison Spence leads the Aggies and is ranked third in the WAC for scoring at 14.2 points per game on the year, she is sixth in league games scoring 14.0 points per game. Spence is followed by sophomore Danisha Corbett at 11.4 points per game (13th WAC).
● What’s Back From Last Year - The Aggies returned two starters and seven letterwinners from last year’s 23-9 squad that went 11-5 in the WAC to place third.
● Conference Preseason Polls - The league’s coaches and media picked New Mexico State to place fifth in this year’s WAC race.
● A Quick Look at the Series...
Friday’s game will be the 19th edition of the NMSU-Boise State series which the Broncos hold a slim lead 10-8 all-time. Boise State leads 5-2 in WAC regular season games and 8-0 in games played at Boise. NMSU leads 7-3 in contests played at Las Cruces and 1-0 on neutral site floors. Boise State won the first encounter of 2009 in Boise 63-48. Last year the Aggies took two-of-three games versus the Broncos as the teams split the regular season series, home team won both, while NMSU defeated Boise State 72-66 in the WAC Tournament semifinals at Las Cruces, N.M., on the Aggies’ home court.
● The Last Time The Aggies and Broncos Met...
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 Boise. 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 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 eventually took an eight-point lead, 26-18, into halftime.
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.
Brittany Moore led the Broncos in scoring with a team-best 13 points, freshman Courtney VanBrocklin recorded 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Marisa Stotler teamed up with Janie Bos to lead the Broncos in the post with 11 and 10 points respectively.
Kaitlyn Soto led New Mexico State with 11 points, no other Aggie hit double-figure points. Madison Spence finished with nine points, all in the second half. Tabytha Wamper and Tyshae Walton each added eight points, while Niki Holt turned in a team-best 10 rebounds to go with six points.
► Scouting Game 23 at Louisiana Tech on Sunday (2/8/09)
Game 23 pits the two teams tied for fourth place against each other as the Broncos travel to play at Louisiana Tech (11-10, 4-3 WAC) for a 1:00 p.m. (Mountain) tip-off in Ruston, La., on Sunday. The Lady Techsters will entertain Idaho on Friday night before hosting Boise State on Sunday afternoon. La Tech enters the week coming off a 77-51 victory over New Mexico State in Ruston last Friday, Jan. 30. Prior to that they split road games defeating Idaho 67-63 in overtime on Jan. 23 before falling 52-42 at Boise State on Jan. 25. As usual La Tech is tough to beat at home in the Thomas Assembly Center where they have gone 2-1 in WAC games and 8-2 overall this season, they are 375-34 all-time in the TAC.
● The Head Coach - The Lady Techsters are in their fourth season under the guidance of head coach Chris Long. He has accumulated a 70-43 overall record at Louisiana Tech, which is also his career coaching mark. Long is currently 3-4 versus the Broncos.
● As a Team - Entering this weekend, Louisiana Tech has the WAC’s second ranked scoring offense averaging 66.0 points per game while shooting 39.4 percent (2nd WAC) from the floor, 28.7 percent (8th WAC) from the arc, and 56 percent (9th WAC) from the foul line. Defensively they allow 60.8 points per game (4th WAC) while opponents have shot 35.4 percent (1st WAC) from the court and 25.1 percent (1st WAC) from behind the 3-point line. They lead the conference in rebounding averaging 45.1 boards per game while allowing opponents 43.1 per game (9th WAC).
● Who to Watch - Junior Shanavia Dowdell leads the WAC in scoring and is second in rebounding averaging 15.2 points and 9.1 boards per game. She is followed by sophomore Adrienne Johnson at 14.0 points per game, while sophomore Whitney Jones adds13.9 each time out. They are ranked fourth and fifth in the WAC for scoring respectively.
● What’s Back From Last Year - The Lady Techsters returned three starters and 10 letterwinners from last year’s 16-15 squad that went 9-7 in the WAC to place tied for fourth. They were tied with Nevada for most experienced squads returning from 2007-08.
● Conference Preseason Polls - The league’s coaches and media both picked Louisiana Tech to place third in this year’s WAC race.
● A Quick Look at the Series...
Sunday’s game will be the 20th edition of the La Tech-Boise State series which the Lady Techsters had dominated until recently owning a 14-5 advantage over the Broncos. The series began when both teams joined the WAC for the 2001-02 campaign. Louisiana Tech won nine straight to open the series and 13 of the first 14 encounters. However, Boise State has won four of the last five including a sweep in last year’s series and the first meeting of 2009 in Boise on Jan. 25 by the score of 52-42. The Broncos began their school-record-tying 15-game win streak at Louisiana Tech last year by the score of 85-68, then won the rematch in Boise 70-54. Boise State enters this week with a three-game win streak going against La Tech and winners of the last two meetings in Ruston.
● The Last Time The Lady Techsters and Broncos Met...
BOISE, Idaho (1/25/09) - Boise State used a 16-3 run midway through the second half to break open a close game and claim a 10-point 52-42 victory over Western Athletic Conference rival Louisiana Tech in Boise. The game was not pretty as neither team shot the ball well and combined for 40 turnovers leading to a low score. Boise State entered the game needing a strong performance by its post players to counter La Tech’s strength. Sophomores Janie Bos (13 pts, 6 rbs) and Marisa Stotler (12 pts, 8 rbs) gave the Broncos what they needed combining for 25 points and 14 rebounds down low to lead the home team to its third-consecutive win over the Lady Techsters.
The first half was tight from the tip as neither team could get any momentum going. The contest was a five point or less game throughout the first 20 minutes with Boise State taking a 20-19 lead into halftime.
The second half started with the Lady Techsters taking a 23-22 lead at the 16:52 mark. La Tech’s first lead since midway through the first half up 13-12 with 11 minutes to go. The one-point second half advantage three minutes into the period was the last time the visitors would lead. The Broncos responded with a 16-3 run to take a game-high 12-point 38-26 lead with just under nine minutes to play.
However, the Lady Techsters would not fold using a 13-3 run to pull within three points, 42-39, at the 3:13 mark. Boise State’s field goal shooting woes continued late as they went two-for-nine and turned the ball over six times in the final nine minutes of the game. Their free throw shooting is what saved the Broncos in this game as they closed the contest hitting 10-of-14 from the charity stripe, including four different Boise State players combining for eight-of-10 free throws once La Tech had pulled to within three-points.
Janie Bos led Boise State in scoring with 13 points, followed by Marisa Stotler with 12 points and a team-best eight rebounds. Louisiana Tech was led by two players in double-figure scoring beginning with a team-high 14 points and six rebounds by Adrienne Johnson. Shanavia Dowdell added 10 points, while Tiawana Pringle collected a team-best nine rebounds to go with seven points.
► Radio Broadcasts
Boise State Radio carries every regular season and postseason game on the air beginning with a 15 minute pregame show. Boise State assistant sports information director Doug Link is in his 11th year as the voice of Boise State Women’s Basketball providing the play-by-play for each broadcast. 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.
► Games on the Internet
Fans can log on to BroncoSports.com and watch all home games. By becoming a Bronco Vision premium subscription member, Boise State fans will receive access to live games, past games, seasonal highlights, special features and interviews that can only be seen by paying the membership price of $9.95 per month or $69.95 per year. Bronco Vision members will need a high speed internet connection. Live stats can be found at BroncoSports.com to follow the game on game tracker. In addition, all games can be heard live on Boise State Radio’s website at http://radio.boisestate.edu/listenonline.html.