Broncos face key WAC games at home this week, First up is Louisiana Tech at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday followed by New Mexico State o

Week 14 is big for the Broncos and their hopes of repeating as Western Athletic Conference champions. Boise State (15-6, 7-2 WAC), who is currently in second place in the league standings, is now home for five of their final seven contests beginning with two this week. The action begins with Louisiana Tech (10-11, 4-4 WAC) this Thursday night followed by New Mexico State (16-5, 6-2 WAC) on Saturday. Both games are scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (Mountain) tips in Taco Bell Arena.

Thursday is "Pack the House" and Dollar Night for Louisiana Tech . . .

Boise State has picked Thursday’s home game against Louisiana Tech as the Broncos’ "Pack the House" night. Tickets for the 7:05 p.m. (Mountain) tip in Taco Bell Arena are $1.00 per person, in addition, the first 500 people in the door will be given "Bronco Rally Towels."

The Western Athletic Conference Play Up Tour for Women’s Basketball will be at Thursday’s encounter between the Lady Techsters and Broncos as well. Fans can join the WAC before the game to pick up free WAC winter hats. The Play Up Tour is an effort to raise awareness of the WAC brand as well as reinforce the association between the conference members and the WAC.

The WAC Women’s Basketball Play Up Tour is in correlation with the NCAA’s Pack the House Challenge. The NCAA’s Pack the House challenge is an effort to grow the sport of women’s basketball and to further develop national grassroots programs aimed at increasing attendance and awareness. Between January 1 and February 17 NCAA member schools will compete against schools in their own conference as well as all Division I schools for a chance to be the 2008 NCAA Women’s Basketball Pack the House Challenge Champion.

Looking at the Boise State Broncos . . .

Entering the week Boise State has gone 15-6 overall and 7-2 in WAC action which places them in second place in the conference standings. They are currently one game behind Fresno State at 8-1 in league play. The Broncos have won seven straight, which began at La Tech Jan. 12, and have a 10-game home win streak in Taco Bell Arena going as well. Coincidentally, their last loss in the facility was to Louisiana Tech on Feb. 3, 2007 by the score of 79-63. Boise State’s last loss of this season was at New Mexico State on Jan. 10.

They returned three starters and seven letterwinners from last year’s championship team. They also 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 2-1 mark versus the PAC-10 and a 4-0 record against teams that went to postseason tournaments last year. The win over Nevada on Jan. 19 moved the Broncos’ record against 2007 postseason teams to 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 24 consecutive games and has led the Broncos in scoring 11 times this season. She enters this week second in the WAC in scoring at 17.0 points per game (NCAA 62nd) to go with 4.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists (WAC 2nd), and 2.1 steals (WAC t-8th). 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 eight times and is ranked sixth in the WAC at 14.8 points per game. She had recorded double-digit points in 17-of-21 games.

Senior forward Jackie Lee has turned it on in league action averaging of 10.4 points (WAC 18th) and 6.0 rebounds (WAC 10th) per game. Meanwhile junior forward Jenna Galassi has been a major factor in WAC competition as well averaging 11.2 points (WAC13th) and 4.6 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 74.2 points per game (NCAA 25th) on 40.2 percent (WAC 5th) shooting from the floor, 32.6 percent (WAC 5th) from three-point range, and 72 percent (WAC 2nd) from the foul line. In league games the Broncos are averaging 75.8 points (WAC 1st) per game and have scored 80 plus points in four of their last seven games. They are ranked 25th nationally for three-pointers per game at 6.9 per contest.

Defensively As A Team . . .

Defensively, Boise State allows 67.9 points per game to rank seventh in the league. Meanwhile, opponents have shot 39.1 percent (WAC 3rd) from the court and 31.6 percent (WAC 4th) from long range. Boise State is a +1.7 (WAC 5th) in rebound margin, 41 to 39.3 rpg. The Broncos are forcing 19.2 turnovers per game (WAC 4th) while giving it away 16.7 times per game (WAC 2nd), they are third in the WAC for turnover margin at +2.6.

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 seven consecutive games heading into this weekend’s action. The streak began on Saturday, Jan. 12 when Boise State defeated Louisiana Tech 85-68 in Ruston. 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. Recently, the Broncos traveled to Honolulu (Jan. 24) where they defeated the Hawaii Rainbow Wahine 77-73, followed by a big 82-62 win over WAC leaders Fresno State in Boise (Jan. 28). Last week concluded with two road wins at San Jose State 78-51 (Jan. 31) and 65-60 at Idaho (Feb. 2).


Game 22 Preview - Louisiana Tech at Boise State . . .

The Game . . .

Thursday’s encounter has the WAC’s traditional power Louisiana Tech (10-11, 4-4 WAC) invading Taco Bell Arena for a 7:05 p.m. (Mountain) tip. The game pits the two defending conference champions against each other after tying for the regular season title in 2007 with 12-4 marks. The Lady Techsters have either won outright or shared the WAC title in the previous six seasons. The match-up is big for both squads who are attempting to repeat as champions.

The Broncos (7-2 WAC) need a win to stay within reach of Fresno State (8-1 WAC) at the top of the conference standings while a loss by Louisiana Tech (4-4 WAC) would virtually eliminate them from contention with five league defeats.

The Last Time (Game 15): Broncos storm past Louisiana Tech on the road 85-68 . . .

RUSTON, Louisiana (1/12/08) - Boise State snapped a two game losing streak by storming past Louisiana Tech 85-68 on the road in Ruston, Louisiana. Jackie Lee scored a season high 18 points to lead five Broncos in double-figure scoring as Boise State became the first team in Lady Techster history, all conferences, to win two consecutive conference games on the road at Louisiana Tech. The Broncos won last year’s meeting in Ruston 68-47 to snap a 15-year home win streak in league contests for the Lady Techsters.

The Broncos came out fired up and stormed into the lead early. Boise State led most of the half eventually pulling away late in the first half with a 7-0 run to give them a 10-point 30-40 led at intermission. The run continued into the second period with Boise State scoring the first five points to take a quick 15 point led, 45-30. The Broncos never looked back as the Lady Techsters would get no closer than 12 points the rest of the game. Boise State slowly pushed the tempo up and stretched the lead to a game high 22 points, 80-58, with 3:49 left on the clock.

For Boise State it was an overall good team effort as five Broncos hit double-digit points and a sixth just missed. Lee led the team with 18 points to go with six rebounds. Amanda Stewart recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and a team high 11 rebounds, while Jamia Malone matched Lee’s points with 14 of her own. The Broncos top scorers on the season Tasha Harris and Jessica Thompson each scored 10 points. Harris also recorded five boards, one assist, and one steal, while Thompson added four rebounds, two assists, one block, and four steals. Jenna Galassi chipped in nine points, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Melissa Rima also had a solid outing contributing six points, four boards, one assist, and one block,

Louisiana Tech was led by four players in double figure points. Nastassja Levingston scored 17 points, all in the first half. Shanavia Dowdell also recorded 17 points to go with eight rebounds. JoKierra Sneed added 11 points and a team high 10 rebounds as she netted the double-double. Tarkeisha Wysinger contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.

Boise State shot 43.8 percent (32-73) from the floor, 33.3 percent (9-27) from the arc, and 70.6 percent (12-17) from the free-throw line. Louisiana Tech made 37.9 percent (25-66) from the court, 30 percent (6-20) from 3-point range, and 57.1 percent (12-21) from the charity stripe. The Broncos out rebounded the WAC’s top rebounding team 49-39, which included 22 offensive boards for Boise State.

The Series . . .

Thursday’s encounter will be the 18th all-time in the series. Louisiana Tech has dominated the series owning a 14-3 advantage all-time. However, the Broncos have won tow of the last three meetings. They split last season’s series with the Broncos handing the Lady Techsters their first home league loss in 15 years by the score of 68-47. Louisiana Tech gain a measure of revenge in the second meeting of 2007 defeating Boise State 79-63 in Boise. Earlier this season Boise State won game one of 2008 in Ruston by the score of 85-68. The Broncos became the first conference team, all conferences, in Louisiana Tech history to win in consecutive years in Ruston.

Scouting Louisiana Tech . . .

The Lady Techsters enter the game in fifth place of the WAC standings at 4-4 and 10-11 overall. They come to Boise off a loss Monday night to Fresno State, 82-63, in Ruston.

The Lady Techsters have gone 53-29 in three seasons under the direction of head coach Chris Long. They returned no starters and six letterwinners from last season’s WAC championship team that went 12-4 in league and 17-13 overall. The 2007-08 Louisiana Tech team was picked to place third by the conference’s coaches and second by the media.

Statistically For The Lady Techsters . . .

As a Team: Louisiana Tech entered the week with the fifth ranked scoring offense in the WAC averaging 68.3 points per game while giving up 66 ppg (WAC 4th). They have been shooting 39.6 percent (WAC 6th) from the floor, 30.3 percent from 3-point range (WAC 8th), and 65.4 percent (WAC 6th) from the free-throw line. Opponents have shot 39.1 percent (WAC 4th) from the court and 34.2 percent (WAC 7th) from the arc. The Lady Techsters are averaging a league best 44.6 boards per game.

Who to Watch: Louisiana Tech is led by three players averaging double-digit points. JoKeirra Sneed averages a team high double-double 15.0 points (WAC 5th) and 10.1 rebounds (WAC 2nd) per game. Shanavia Dowdell is second in both categories averaging 11.9 points (WAC 11th) and 7.8 rebounds (WAC 4th). Meanwhile, Whitney Jones chips in with 10.6 points per game.


Game 23 Preview - New Mexico State at Boise State . . .

The Game . . .

Boise State’s week continues with a 7:05 p.m. (Mountain) tip with the New Mexico State Aggies in Taco Bell Arena. The game is important for both teams as they battle for the number two spot in the WAC standings. The Broncos (7-2 WAC) and the Aggies (6-2 WAC) need a win to stay within reach of Fresno State (8-1 WAC) at the top of the conference standings.

The Aggies will play at Idaho on Thursday before traveling to Boise for Saturday’s meeting with the Broncos. NMSU won the first encounter of the season with Boise State in Las Cruces by the score of 79-65 on Jan. 10. However, the Aggies have never won in Boise going 0-6 all-time. Boise State’s last loss this year was the defeat at New Mexico State during the second week of conference action, they have ran off seven straight wins since then.

The Last Time (Game 14): Broncos fall at New Mexico State 79-65 . . .

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - For the second game in a row the Broncos dug themselves a big hole then battled back only to fade down the stretch and lose 79-65 at New Mexico State Thursday night. Tasha Harris’ team high 17 points were not enough to propel the Broncos to a victory as the team struggled to get any kind of shot to fall for them.

NMSU broke a one point, 33-32, game at the half open in the second half taking a 16-point, 59-43, with 9:13 to play. The Broncos then rolled off a 18-3 run to pull within one, 62-61, with 4:27 left. Unfortunately, Boise State faded after that turning it over and missing their free throws down the stretch. NMSU closed the game on a 17-4 run including hitting nine-of-11 free throws.

Tasha Harris was the only Bronco to hit double-figure points with 17 to go with three boards and three assists. Brittany Moore was second in scoring with nine, followed by eight from Jessica Thompson. Amanda Stewart recorded a career high 10 rebounds and six points.

The Aggies had four players in double-digit scoring led by Madison Spence with 19. Sherell Neal added 14 points and 18 rebounds, followed by Anikia Jawara with 14 points and Monique Bribiescas with 10.

Boise State shot 35.9 percent from the floor, 25 percent (6-24) from the arc, and struggled at the line hitting 61.9 percent (13-21) free throws. NMSU hit 46.6 percent from the floor, 46.7 percent (7-15) from 3-point range, and 75 percent (18-24) from the charity stripe.

The Series . . .

Saturday’s encounter will be the 17th all-time in the series. These two programs were once rivals in the Big West Conference for four seasons (1996-2000) before the Aggies left for the Sun Belt Conference.

Boise State swept three games last year over the Aggies to take a 9-6 lead in the series. Last season the Broncos won 66-52 in Las Cruces (Jan. 11), 77-59 in Boise (Feb. 1), and 49-46 in the WAC Tournament championship game in Las Cruces (March 10). This year NMSU gained a measure of revenge with a 79-65 win over Boise State on Jan. 10 in Las Cruces.

Scouting New Mexico State . . .

The Aggies enter the week in a tie for third place with Nevada in the WAC standings at 6-2 and 16-5 overall. They opened league play with three straight victories over Idaho, Boise State and Utah State all in Las Cruces. They then dropped a game at Louisiana Tech 57-50, defeated Utah State on the road, before losing at Nevada in overtime 83-76 on Jan. 26. They have now won two consecutive with home wins over Hawai’i 71-53 (Jan. 31) and San Jose State 71-60 (Feb. 2).

New Mexico State is in its fifth season under the direction of Darin Spence where he has accumulated a 61-78 record. The Aggies returned four starters and nine letterwinners from last year’s 13-18 team that place seventh in the conference with a 6-10 mark. The 2007-08 NMSU team was picked to place in the middle of the pack in both WAC preseason polls, the coaches projected them fifth while the media tabbed them fourth.

Statistically For The Aggies . . .

As a Team: New Mexico State features the WAC’s fourth ranked scoring offense on the year averaging 68.5 points per game while giving up a league best 62.0 ppg. They have been shooting 41.6 percent (WAC 2nd) from the floor, 33.3 percent from 3-point range (WAC 2nd), and 70.9 percent (WAC 3rd) from the free-throw line. Defensively, opponents have shot 35.4 percent (WAC 1st) from the court and 24.5 percent (WAC 1st) from the arc. The Aggies are averaging 41.7 boards per game (WAC 3rd).

Who to Watch: New Mexico State is led by first team Preseason All-WAC honoree Sherell Neal. The senior forward averages 14.3 points per game (WAC 7th) to go with 9.8 rebounds (WAC 3rd), both are team highs. Anikia Jawara is second in scoring at 12.1 points per game (WAC 10th)followed by Madison Spence at 10.2 ppg (WAC 16th).

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