What’s Happening This Week For The Broncos . . .
With five games remaining in the regular season, Boise State (19-5, WAC 10-1) begins the final stretch with the first of three consecutive road games. The Broncos have one game on tap this week with a 2:00 p.m. (mountain) encounter in Fresno, California on Saturday with the Fresno State Bulldogs (13-10, WAC 6-4). Boise State will travel to Fresno State in search of their 20th win of the season. If the Broncos are successful it will be only the fourth 20-win season in the program’s 37 year history, with the last coming in 1993-94 when the team went 23-6. A win by Boise State would also effectively eliminate the Bulldogs from the regular season title race by putting the Broncos up five games with four left in the season.
Following this week’s game in Fresno, the Broncos will conclude the three-game road trip by traveling to San Jose State next Thursday (Feb. 22) and then Nevada on Saturday (Feb. 24).
What Happened Last Week For The Broncos . . .
The Broncos showed no signs of any lingering ill effects following their loss to Louisiana Tech in Boise on Feb. 3, as they bounced back with two dominating performances last week winning by an average of 26.5 points per game. Boise State cruised past in-state rival Idaho 70-40 in Moscow on Wednesday (Feb. 7) night, then followed that up with a commanding 82-59 victory over San Jose State in Boise on Saturday (Feb. 10). As has been the case all season, a balanced offensive attack and solid defense led to the two victories. Offensively, four Broncos averaged between 12.5 and 13 points per game last week. Michelle Hessing, Nadia Begay, and Jessica Thompson all averaged 13 points per game, while Jackie Lee recorded 12.5 ppg. Defensively, Boise State forced and average of 24 turnovers and out rebounded their opponents by 5.5 per game. The wins pushed the Broncos lead in the WAC standings to two games at 10-1, two games ahead of Louisiana Tech in second place at 8-3.
About The Broncos In 2006-07 . . .
Boise State entered league play with the best overall non-conference mark in the WAC at 9-4. They have since gone 10-1 in league games to move to 19-5 on the year, the best start for the Broncos overall since the 1993-94 season opened 20-4. Boise State has won 16 of their last 18 games. In Boise State’s ten league wins to date their average margin of victory has been 20 points per game. The Broncos experienced their largest home crowd, sixth largest all-time, since the 1993-94 season with 4,518 when they hosted Louisiana Tech on February 3. Boise State features the top ranked scoring offense and defense in the WAC entering this week’s games.
Who To Watch For The Broncos . . .
Boise State has two players averaging double-figure points led by sophomore guard Jessica Thompson at 14.8 points per game (4th in WAC) to go with 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 2.3 steals (3rd in WAC) per game. In 24 games she has recorded 19 games in double-figure points, seven with 20 plus points. Thompson is fourth in the conference for scoring during league competition at 16.5 points per game. Michelle Hessing, a senior center out of Boise, averages 11.8 points (12th in WAC) and 5.3 rebounds per game through the season. Sophomore point guard Tasha Harris is third in scoring at 9.7 points per game to go with 3.7 rebounds, and a team high 2.5 assists per game. On the glass, sophomore Rebecca Kepilino leads the team with 6.0 rebounds (11th in WAC) per game, followed by seniors Hessing at 5.3 and Jackie Thompson at 4.7 per game each.
Offensively As A Team . . .
Boise State is an up-tempo team who looks to push the ball up the floor. The Broncos have recorded 70 or more points 13 times this season going 12-1 in those contests. They have been held below 60 points only three times this season. The Broncos enter the week with the WAC’s top ranked scoring offense averaging 70.2 points per game while shooting 40.9 percent (1st in WAC) from the floor, 30 percent (5th in WAC) from beyond the arc, and 69.6 percent (4th in WAC) from the foul line. In league games they are averaging 72.8 points per game (1st in WAC). On the boards Boise State averages 39.9 rebounds per game ranking fourth in the WAC. They are a plus 10.1 (1st in WAC) in scoring margin, plus 3.6 (4th in WAC) in rebounding margin, and plus 4.0 (2nd in WAC) in turnover margin.
Defensively As A Team . . .
Defensively, Boise State features the top ranked scoring defense in the WAC allowing 59.6 points per game on the year. They are also number one in league competition allowing 56.1 points per game. On the year, they have held their opponents to 39 percent (4th in WAC) shooting from the hardwood and 30.7 percent (6th in WAC) from long range. The Broncos possess the top ranked rebounding defense in the league holding opponents to 36.3 rebounds per game. Boise State forces 19.2 turnovers per game in comparison to their giving it away 15.2 times per game. Boise State is ranked first in the WAC and 31st nationally (2/11/07 last national rankings released) for fewest turnovers per game. They also lead the WAC in assist/turnover ratio at 0.86.
SCOUTING GAME 25: Fresno State (13-10, WAC 6-4)
About The Boise State-Fresno Series . . .
This is the first meeting of the season between the two programs. Fresno State has won five straight over the Broncos and now owns a 9-6 advantage in the series. Boise State once controlled the series early on owning a 5-2 margin in the first seven games. The Broncos are 3-3 all-time in Fresno versus the Bulldogs, 1-2 in the Save Mart Center. Fresno State won both meetings last year 81-64 in Fresno (Feb. 4) and 65-55 in Boise (Feb. 26).
What’s Happened lately For The Bulldogs . . .
Fresno State enters the week tied with Nevada for third place three and half games back of Boise State at 6-4, the Bulldogs are 13-10 overall on the year. Fresno State will play at Hawaii Thursday night before returning home to host the Broncos Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs split a pair of road games last week defeating Nevada 86-81 in Reno on Thursday (Feb. 8) before falling at New Mexico State 67-63 on Saturday (Feb. 10).
Who To Watch For Fresno State . . .
The Bulldogs feature two of the WAC’s leading scorers averaging double-figure points on the year beginning with Chantella Perera at 15.3 points (3rd in WAC) per game to go with 4.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists (t-3rd in WAC) in 35.8 minutes of action per game. Tierra Wilson is second in scoring at 14.2 points (6th in WAC) to go with 6.1 rebounds (10th in WAC) per game. They also have four other players averaging between 6.6 and 6.9 points per game.
Fresno State As A Team . . .
Offensively, the Bulldogs possess the third ranked scoring offense in the WAC on the year averaging 65.7 points per game. They are second in field goal percentage at 40.8 percent, sixth in three-point percentage at 29.4 percent, and fifth in free throw percentage hitting 69.6 percent. Defensively, Fresno State is fourth in scoring defense allowing 64.7 points per game. On the boards they are ranked third in rebound offense averaging 40.8 rebounds per game. They are a +1.0 in scoring margin (4th in WAC), +4.3 in rebound margin (2nd in WAC), and -1.2 in turnover margin (6th in WAC).
More About Fresno State . . .
The Bulldogs returned three starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s 24-8 team that went 15-1 in league play to finish second in the standings. They also advanced to last year’s WNIT losing in the third round. Adrian Wiggins is in his second full season at the helm of the Bulldog program where he has gone 44-22 since assuming the leadership midway through the 2004-05 season. This year’s Bulldog team was forecast to challenge Louisiana Tech for the league title, picked to place second by both the WAC’s coaches and media.