Broncos close regular season with two-game homestand against Fresno State Thursday and Hawaii Saturday, they need sweep to earn
What’s Happening This Week For The Broncos . . .
Boise State (19-8, WAC 10-4) completes the regular season schedule this week with home games against Fresno State (16-11, WAC 8-6) on Thursday and Hawaii (14-12, WAC 8-6) on Saturday. These two are among the hottest teams in the league heading into the final weekend, Fresno State has won three-straight while Hawaii is on a seven-game win streak and plays at Idaho Thursday night. Boise State still needs one victory to hit the 20-win plateau for the first time since the 1993-94 season and for the fourth time ever. More importantly, the Broncos need to sweep both games to earn a share of the WAC’s regular season title. One loss and Louisiana Tech wins it out right, two loses and the Broncos, who led the league the entire season until last week, could slip down to fifth place. Saturday’s game against Hawaii is Senior Day. The Broncos will honor their three outgoing seniors Michelle Hessing, Nadia Begay, and Jackie Thompson in a brief pregame ceremony.
What Happened Lately For The Broncos . . .
Boise State is currently on a three-game losing streak and have slipped into second place of the league standings behind Louisiana Tech at 11-4. The Broncos enter the week at 19-8 overall and 10-4 in conference play. Last week they lost a pair on the road at San Jose State 68-60 and at Nevada 81-70 in overtime. Prior to that, they lost the previous week at Fresno State 69-61. Their last win was in Boise on Feb. 10 over San Jose State 82-59. Boise State has been playing without leading scorer Jessica Thompson during the three-game losing streak who has been out do to illness.
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 10-4 in league games to move to 19-8 on the year, the best start for the Broncos overall since the 1993-94 season opened 23-4. 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 three 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 (4th 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 11.7 points (15th in WAC) and 5.2 rebounds per game through the season. Sophomore point guard Tasha Harris is third in scoring at 10.3 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 6.1 rebounds (11th in WAC) per game, followed by Hessing at 5.2 rpg and Jackie Lee at 4.7 per game.
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 69.4 points per game while shooting 40.2 percent (2nd in WAC) from the floor, 29.3 percent (5th in WAC) from beyond the arc, and 69.3 percent (4th in WAC) from the foul line. In league games they are averaging 70.9 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 8.4 (1st in WAC) in scoring margin, plus 2.4 (4th in WAC) in rebounding margin, and plus 3.5 (2nd in WAC) in turnover margin.
Defensively As A Team . . .
Defensively, Boise State features the top ranked scoring defense in the WAC allowing 61 points per game on the year. They are second in league competition allowing 59.6 points per game. On the year, they have held their opponents to 39 percent (5th in WAC) shooting from the hardwood and 30.6 percent (6th in WAC) from long range. The Broncos possess the third ranked rebounding defense in the league holding opponents to 37.5 rebounds per game. Boise State forces 19.1 turnovers per game in comparison to their giving it away 15.6 times per game. Boise State is ranked first in the WAC and 51st nationally (2/25/07 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 28: Fresno State (16-11, WAC 8-6)
About The Boise State-Fresno Series . . .
This is the second meeting of the season in two weeks between the Bulldogs and Broncos, with Fresno State winning the first meeting 69-61 in Fresno on Feb. 17. Fresno State has won six straight over the Broncos and now owns a 10-6 advantage in the series. Boise State once controlled the series early on owning a 5-2 margin in the first seven games. 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 Hawaii for fourth place in the WAC at 8-6 in league play and 16-11 overall. They have won three straight, all at home, entering Thursday’s game with Boise State. The Bulldogs’ three-game win streak began with their 69-61 victory over Boise State on Feb. 17, followed by wins last week over Louisiana Tech (72-57) and New Mexico State (63-57).
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 15.6 points (3rd in WAC) per game to go with 5.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists (6th in WAC). Tierra Wilson is second in scoring at 14.3 points (6th in WAC) to go with 6.2 rebounds (8th in WAC) per game. They also have four other players averaging between 6.1 and 7.1 points per game.
Fresno State As A Team . . .
Offensively, the Bulldogs possess the fourth ranked scoring offense in the WAC on the year averaging 65.9 points per game. They are first in field goal percentage at 40.7 percent, sixth in three-point percentage at 29.1 percent, and fifth in free throw percentage hitting 68.3 percent. Defensively, Fresno State is fourth in scoring defense allowing 64.5 points per game. On the boards they are ranked third in rebound offense averaging 41.1 rebounds per game. They are a +1.4 in scoring margin (4th in WAC), +4.0 in rebound margin (3rd in WAC), and -0.7 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 47-22 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.
SCOUTING GAME 29: Hawaii (14-12, WAC 8-6)
About The Bronco-Rainbow Wahine Series . . .
Boise State won the first meeting of the year between the two schools in Honolulu by the score of 62-53 on Jan. 20, it was the first time the Broncos had ever won on the islands over the Wahine. Hawaii leads the all-time series by a 9-4 margin. The series began when the Broncos joined the WAC with the 2001-02 season. The Broncos won two-of-three games with the Wahine last year as the two teams split the regular season series with the home team winning followed by Boise State’s 72-63 win over Hawaii at the WAC Tournament. Last year’s regular season results: BSU 83-75 in Boise on Jan. 23 and UH 72-67 in Honolulu on Feb. 11.
What Has Happened Lately For Hawaii . . .
Hawaii struggled early in the conference season going 1-6 to open league play. They then lost their head coach for medical reasons (will not return this season) and have since gone 7-0. Recently they have recorded wins in Honolulu over Fresno State (79-65) on Feb. 15, Utah State (79-63) on Feb. 18, and San Jose State (64-53) on Feb. 24. On Feb. 10 they defeated Louisiana Tech in Ruston 60-59.
Who To Watch For Hawaii . . .
Pam Tambini, a senior forward, leads the Wahine in scoring averaging 13.0 points per game (10th in WAC) to go with 6.9 rebounds (6th in WAC). Janevia Taylor is second in scoring at 11.1 points per game, followed by Tanya Smith at 10.8 points per game and a team high 9.0 rebounds per game (3rd in WAC).
Hawaii As A Team . . .
Offensively, Hawaii averages 63.6 points per game (5th in WAC) and allows 63.4 (3rd in WAC). The Rainbow Wahine shoot 39.8 percent (4th in WAC) from the floor, 31.3 percent (2nd in WAC) from behind the arc, and 64.7 percent (9th in WAC) from the charity stripe. They are the second ranked offensive rebounding team in the league at 41.5 boards per game. They also lead the league in team blocks per game at 4.7 and rank last in turnover margin at -4.00.
More About Hawaii . . .
Hawaii returned four starters and 11 letterwinners from last year’s 18-10 team that went 10-6 in league to place tied for 4th. Jim Bolla is in his third season where he has gone 35-37 overall, his collegiate coaching record is 335-157 in 17 years. He has taken a medical leave of absence from the team and will not return this year. Pat Charity is the interim head coach and has guided the Wahine to a 7-0 record since taking over. The Wahine were picked to place fourth by the league’s coaches and third by the media.
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