BOISE, Idaho (2/9/2008) - Boise State and New Mexico State battled each other to the end before the Broncos rallied from three down in overtime to defeat the Aggies 83-82 in a crucial Western Athletic Conference women’s basketball game in Taco Bell Arena at Boise. Tasha Harris led six Broncos in double figures with a team high 16 points. Boise State’s win gives them at least one victory over every conference member this season as they try to defend their league title from a year ago.
It was a classic college basketball game as two of the WAC’s top teams went at each other for 45 minutes with the result in question until the final buzzer sounded. The Aggies fought through travel problems that took half the team until 12:30 this afternoon to get to Boise, while the Broncos continue to be plagued by the flu bug. Neither team gave into their exhaustion as they left everything out on the floor Saturday night.
The first half saw New Mexico State claim a quick lead on a Niki Holt 3-pointer 45 seconds into the contest. Boise State responded with a Jackie Lee 3-pointer and a jumper by Jenna Galassi to take a 5-3 advantage. The Aggies then took the lead for the last time until late in the game with four straight points making the score 7-5 with 16:38 to go in the opening 20 minutes.
Boise State slowly pulled out to a 13-point lead, 30-17, with 6:41 to play in the half. Even though the Aggies came back to cut it to nine, 36-27, at the intermission, the Broncos were able to maintain the a lead most of the night. In the first half Boise State’s Jamia Malone and Jenna Galassi teamed up to keep the Broncos on top with a combined 21 points, 11 and 10 respectively. The host also managed to contain NMSU’s top players holding Sherell Neal, Anikia Jawara, and Madison Spence to a combined 10 points, they averaged nearly 37 together coming into the night.
The second period saw the Broncos storm out to a 15-point, 46-31, lead with 16:53 to play. They then kept a double-figure advantage until around the nine minute mark when the Aggies stepped it up and began to chip away at the Bronco lead. Slowly New Mexico State pulled closer to Boise State as the clock counted down the final nine minutes of regulation. They finally reclaimed the lead for the first time since early in the game with 3:28 to go when Irma Kmitaite-Smith hit a 3-pointer to give them a 69-66 lead. The final three and a half minutes then went back and forth.
The Broncos rallied in the closing seconds to pull ahead 75-73 with 17 seconds remaining when Jessica Thompson hit one-of-two free throws to extend a one point Boise State lead to two. The Aggies’ Hannah Spanich then drove the length of the floor off the inbound pass and pulled up for a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with nine seconds left for a one-point Aggie advantage at 76-75. Boise State drove down the floor where Harris was fouled with two seconds left. The 74 percent free-throw shooter stepped up to the line with a chance to give the Broncos the lead. She missed the first then hit the second tying the game at 76 apiece. Unfortunately, Boise State missed three free throws in the final two minutes, two with 17 seconds or less that could have won the game in regulation.
New Mexico State opened the overtime period by running out to a early five-point advantage, 81-76, with 3:15 to play on a 3-pointer by Monique Bribiescas and a pair of Neal free throws. Boise State responded by holding the Aggies to one point in the final 3:15 and outscoring them 7-1. The Bronco run started with a Harris 3-pointer followed by Sierra Moeller hitting one-of-two free throws with 1:37 on the clock to cut the score to 82-80 NMSU. Jessica Thompson then tied the game on a short jumper with 1:12 to go.
The final minute saw Moeller block a Neal shot with 47 seconds left and get the defensive rebound. Thompson then missed a jumper with 25 seconds to play, but recovered defensively to block Kimtaite-Smith’s attempt for the lead with eight seconds remaining. In addition, the blocked shot deflected off a Aggie out of bounds giving Boise State the ball.
Moeller was fouled quickly after Boise State inbounded the ball sending the true freshman out of Pierre, S.D. to the line for the potential go ahead points with six seconds remaining in overtime. Moeller, a 66 percent free throw shooter, stepped to the line with her team’s hopes resting on her shoulders and hit the first foul shot giving the Broncos a 83-82 lead. The second shot did not fall for Moeller as Kimtaite-Smith grabbed the defensive board for NMSU and passed it down the floor when the Aggies’ head coach called a quick time out with four seconds left.
On the ensuing inbound play the Aggies lobbed the pass from the right sideline into the low left post where Anikia Jawara skied for the ball. She spun an attempted a fade away jumper that was blocked out of bounds by Boise State’s Moeller with 0.5 seconds on the clock. After a long delay as the officials reviewed the replay monitor to check the time remaining and eventually adding three tenths of a second, 0.8, the Aggies failed to get a solid shot off on the next inbound pass as Boise State hung on for the thrilling victory.
For the first time in over 13 years Boise State had six players in double-figure points including all five starters. Harris led the pack with her team high 16 points to go with four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Starting center sophomore Ja'Lara Walker added a career high 15 points, four boards, one assist, and one block; followed by Jenna Galassi with 13 points, seven rebounds, one assist, as well as, career highs for blocks and steals with two and four respectively. Jackie Lee added 12 points, one rebound, and two steals. Jamia Malone finished with 12 points, four boards, three assists, and two steals. Jessica Thompson had 10 points, four rebounds, a career high nine assists, tied her career best for blocks with three, and had two steals. Moeller finished with three points, four rebounds, and two BIG blocks. Melissa Rima who had a solid defensive night added two points, two rebounds, and one assist. Meanwhile Brittany Moore, the latest victim of the flu, managed three rebounds in seven minutes.
Hannah Spanich led the Aggies with a team best 19 points along with two rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and three steals. Sherell Neal was second in scoring with a double-double on 15 points and a team high 13 boards, followed by Irma Kmitaite-Smith with 12 points.
Boise State finished the game shooting 42.6 percent (29-68) from the floor, 38.1 percent (8-21) from beyond the arc, and 65.4 percent (17-26) from the free-throw line. New Mexico State countered with 43.3 percent (29-67) shooting from the court, 43.8 percent (7-16) from the arc, and 85 percent (17-20) from the charity stripe. They tied on the glass with 41 rebounds each.
The victory avenges Boise State’s last loss of the season, 79-65 at NMSU on Jan. 10, and keeps the Broncos in the WAC title hunt at 9-2 in league play while improving them to 17-6 overall on the year. The win also keeps Boise State’s two streaks intact with nine consecutive wins and 13 straight victories at home. The loss drops New Mexico State to fourth place at 7-3 in conference action and 17-6 overall. Up next for the Broncos is a huge road game at Nevada (16-6, 7-2 WAC) this coming Thursday at 6:00 p.m. (Pacific). The Wolf Pack where at Hawaii Saturday night.
Newspaper Box Score
New Mexico State vs Boise State
02/09/08 7:00 pm at Boise, Idaho (Taco Bell Arena)
BOISE STATE 83, NEW MEXICO STATE 82 overtime
NEW MEXICO STATE (17-6, 7-3 WAC)
Spanich, Hannah 4-8 9-10 19; Neal, Sherell 6-12 3-4 15; Kmitaite-Smith, Irma
4-11 2-2 12; Jawara, Anikia 3-10 2-2 8; Walton, Tyshae 3-8 1-2 7; Spence,
Madison 3-8 0-0 6; Bribiescas, Monique 2-4 0-0 6; Corbett, Danisha 2-2 0-0
4; Holt, Niki 1-2 0-0 3; Palmer, Brittany 1-2 0-0 2; Denning, Carla 0-0 0-0
0. Totals 29-67 17-20 82.
BOISE STATE (17-6, 9-2 WAC)
Harris, Tasha 4-13 6-8 16; Walker, Ja'Lara 6-7 3-3 15; Galassi, Jenna 6-10
1-3 13; Lee, Jackie 4-8 0-0 12; Malone, Jamia 4-8 2-3 12; Thompson, Jessica
4-14 2-3 10; Moeller, Sierra 0-3 3-6 3; Rima, Melissa 1-2 0-0 2; Moore,
Brittany 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 29-68 17-26 83.
New Mexico State.............. 27 49 6 - 82
Boise State................... 36 40 7 - 83
3-point goals--New Mexico State 7-16 (Kmitaite-Smith, Irma 2-4; Bribiescas,
Monique 2-3; Spanich, Hannah 2-4; Holt, Niki 1-1; Spence, Madison 0-3; Neal,
Sherell 0-1), Boise State 8-21 (Lee, Jackie 4-6; Malone, Jamia 2-5; Harris,
Tasha 2-5; Thompson, Jessica 0-4; Moore, Brittany 0-1). Fouled out--New
Mexico State-None, Boise State-None. Rebounds--New Mexico State 41 (Neal,
Sherell 13), Boise State 41 (Galassi, Jenna 7). Assists--New Mexico State 16
(Neal, Sherell 5), Boise State 17 (Thompson, Jessica 9). Total fouls--New
Mexico State 20, Boise State 16. Technical fouls--New Mexico State-None,
Boise State-None. A-1304