What’s Happening This Week For The Broncos . . .
Boise State completes the regular season’s road schedule this week with games at San Jose State (3-24, WAC 2-11) on Thursday and at Nevada (13-12, WAC 7-5) on Saturday. They need one win to hit the 20-win plateau for the first time since the 1993-94 season and for the fourth time ever. The Broncos, who’s WAC lead has been cut to a half game over Louisiana Tech, will take on the San Jose State Spartans at 8:00 p.m. (mountain time) at the Events Center in San Jose, California Thursday night. Boise State has never won at SJSU going 0-5 at the Events Center to date. This week’s action concludes Saturday when Boise State meets the Nevada Wolf Pack at 3:00 p.m. (mountain time) at the Lawler Events Center in Reno. Boise State will wrap-up the regular season schedule next week when they host Fresno State and Hawaii in Taco Bell Arena.
What Happened Last Week For The Broncos . . .
Boise State suffered their second league loss of the season 69-61 at Fresno State on Saturday in their lone game of the week. The defeat was also their first league road loss after winning their first five to open conference action. The Broncos trailed most of the game by a nine to three point margin. Every time the Broncos made a run the Bulldogs answered. Boise State, playing without either of the Thompsons, cut the lead to one, 55-54, with 5:54 remaining but poor shooting (2-of-10), foul trouble, and turnovers in the final six minutes doomed them in the end.
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 10-2 in league games to move to 19-6 on the year, the best start for the Broncos overall since the 1993-94 season opened 23-4. Boise State has won 16 of their last 19 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 third in the conference for scoring during league competition at 16.5 points per game. Michelle Hessing, a senior center out of Boise, averages 11.9 points (12th in WAC) and 5.3 rebounds per game through the season. Sophomore point guard Tasha Harris is third in scoring at 9.9 points per game to go with 3.8 rebounds, and a team high 2.7 assists per game. On the glass, sophomore Rebecca Kepilino leads the team with 5.9 rebounds (11th in WAC) per game, followed by Hessing at 5.3, Jackie Thompson and Jackie Lee 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 69.8 points per game while shooting 40.7 percent (t-1st in WAC) from the floor, 30 percent (5th in WAC) from beyond the arc, and 68.9 percent (4th in WAC) from the foul line. In league games they are averaging 71.8 points per game (1st in WAC). On the boards Boise State averages 40 rebounds per game ranking fourth in the WAC. They are a plus 9.8 (1st in WAC) in scoring margin, plus 3.0 (4th in WAC) in rebounding margin, and plus 3.96 (1st in WAC) in turnover margin.
Defensively As A Team . . .
Defensively, Boise State features the top ranked scoring defense in the WAC allowing 60 points per game on the year. They are also number one in league competition allowing 57.2 points per game. On the year, they have held their opponents to 38.9 percent (4th in WAC) shooting from the hardwood and 30.5 percent (6th in WAC) from long range. The Broncos possess the third ranked rebounding defense in the league holding opponents to 37 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 33rd nationally (2/18/07 last national rankings released) for fewest turnovers per game. They also lead the WAC in assist/turnover ratio at 0.86.
What’s Back From 2005-06 . . .
Coach Presnell is in his second year at Boise State. The Broncos made an immediate improvement under the new coach’s leadership in his first season in 2005-06 going 15-15 overall, 6-10 in league action to place sixth, and advanced to the conference tournament’s semifinals. It was the first non-losing season for the Broncos in six seasons and the highest conference finish since the program joined the league for the 2001-02 campaign.
Boise State returns every impact player from last year’s squad including four starters, nine letterwinners, and a redshirt sophomore. Among the returners are the top five scorers and rebounders from a squad that scored the most points in eight years with 1,984 points (66.1 points per game) and set a school record for team rebounds in a season with 1,252. The Broncos return 90.5 percent of their points, 86.7 percent of the rebounds, 83.7 percent of the assists, and their entire scoring punch from outside the three-point arc. Boise State has led the league in three-point percentage in three of their first five seasons of membership including the last two years.
SCOUTING GAME 26: San Jose State (3-21, WAC 2-8)
About The Bronco-Spartan Series . . .
Thursday’s encounter will be the second of the season and 13th meeting in the series which San Jose State leads 9-3 all-time. Two weeks ago, Boise State defeated San Jose State 82-59 in Boise. Last year the Spartans won both games by an average of 5 points. San Jose State won the first encounter (Jan. 19) in California 63-57 then followed up with a 69-64 win in Boise on Feb. 1.
A Bronco Connection To San Jose State . . .
Boise State alum Abby Vaughan is in her first season as an assistant coach with San Jose State. Vaughan played shooting guard for the Broncos from 1999 to 2003 and finished as the all-time record holder for three-pointers made in a career with 260. She graduated from Boise State in 2003.
What Has Happened Lately For San Jose State . . .
The Spartans have played only one game since meeting the Broncos in Boise on Feb. 10. San Jose State lost to Nevada 70-52 this past Saturday in San Jose dropping their third straight game. They enter the week at 3-24 overall and 2-11 in league play tied with Idaho for eighth place.
Who To Watch For The Spartans . . .
San Jose State has two active players that average double-figure points on the year. Natalie White leads at 11.9 points (13th in WAC) per game to go with 3.3 rebounds, followed by Brittany Powell at 11.2 points and a team high 6.3 rebounds (9th in WAC) per game on the year.
San Jose State As A Team . . .
Offensively, the Spartans average a league low 57.3 points per game while shooting 35.6 percent (9th in WAC) from the court, 24.9 percent (9th in WAC) from the three-point arc, and 66.1 percent (6th in WAC) from the foul line. Defensively, San Jose State allows 69.9 points per game (8th in WAC), while teams have shot 39 percent (5th in WAC) from the floor and 27 percent (1st in WAC) from behind the arc.
More About San Jose State . . .
San Jose State returned one starter and seven letterwinners from last year’s 13-15 squad that went 8-8 in league play to finish tied for fourth. Currently, Derrick Allen is serving as the San Jose State interim head coach taking over the program Dec. 2. This year’s Spartan team was picked to place sixth in the 2006-07 conference race by both the league’s coaches and media.
SCOUTING GAME 27: Nevada (13-12, WAC 7-5)
About The Bronco-Wolf Pack Series . . .
Boise State and Nevada (and Idaho) share a long history with each other that stretches four conferences. The rivalry started in the late 1980’s when both schools were in the old Mountain West Athletic Conference (MWAC) before it merged with the Big Sky Conference to form one league for both men’s and women’s athletics. They then later migrated, at different times, to the Big West Conference before ending up in the WAC together. The Nevada-Boise State series is the second oldest for the Broncos among current WAC members behind the Boise State series with in-state rival Idaho. Saturday afternoon’s game between the Broncos and Wolf Pack will be the 34th meeting of the series which has been dominated by Boise State which holds a 26-7 advantage in the all-time series.
Boise State won the first game of the year in Boise Jan. 8 by a close 68-65 margin. The two programs have split the past two seasons with the home team winning each time. Last year Boise State won 58-50 in Boise (Jan. 14) in the first encounter before Nevada gained it’s revenge by handing the Broncos a hard fought 73-67 defeat at Reno (Jan. 26) in the rematch. Boise State is 15-3 all-time in Boise against Nevada, the Wolf Pack’s last victory in Boise was Jan. 24, 1998 in a Big West Conference game by the score of 46-45. The Broncos are 10-4 all-time in Reno against the Wolf Pack, their last win in Reno was three years ago by the score of 89-66 on Jan. 17, 2004.
What Has Happened Lately For Nevada . . .
Since opening league play at 6-1, the Wolf Pack have struggled recently snapping a four-game losing streak last Saturday in San Jose when they defeated the Spartans 70-52. They split two games last week losing 59-44 at Utah State on Thursday prior to traveling to San Jose. Nevada enters the week at 13-12 overall and 7-5 in WAC play, tied for third place with Fresno State.
Who To Watch For Nevada . . .
The Wolf Pack are led by two players averaging double-figure points. Dellena Criner, a sophomore guard, leads in scoring at 14.3 points per game (5th in WAC) to go along with 3.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.8 steals per game (1st in WAC). Senior guard Traci Graham is second in scoring at 13.2 points per game (9th in WAC) in addition to contributing 2.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 2.2 steals per game (6th in WAC). One other player to watch is sophomore forward Brandi Fitzgerald the 2006 WAC Newcomer of the Year and a preseason All-WAC selection this year. She averages 8.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.3 steals (4th in WAC) per game.
Nevada As A Team . . .
Offensively, the Wolf Pack are second to Boise State in scoring offense at 67.8 points per game. They have shot 39.9 percent (4th in WAC) from the floor, 30.2 percent (4th in WAC) from behind the arc, and 71.9 percent (3rd in WAC) from the charity stripe. Defensively, Nevada is seventh in scoring defense in the league allowing 66.1 points per game on the season. Opponents have shot 44.7 percent from the floor and 35 percent from the three-point arc. On the glass, Nevada ranks seventh in rebounding offense at 35.4 boards per game while allowing 37.8 per game (4th in WAC for rebounding defense). They are second in the WAC for turnover margin at +3.88. They average 20 turnovers per game and force 23.8.
More About Nevada . . .
The Wolf Pack are in their seventh year of WAC membership. They return all five starters and 10 letterwinners from last year’s 13-17 squad that went 8-8 in league action to place tied for fourth in the league standings. Kim Gervasoni is in her fourth season at the helm of the Nevada program where she has gone 37-77 to date. This year’s Nevada team was picked to place third in the WAC coaches preseason poll and fourth in the media poll.