BOISE, Idaho (2/28/2008) - Ja'Lara Walker’s career night of 21 points and a school record 23 rebounds powered Boise State past a pesky San Jose State squad as the Broncos won their 12th game in a row 74-65 Thursday night in Taco Bell Arena at Boise. It is Walker’s third consecutive double-double while her 23 boards on the night broke a 33-year old school record for rebounds in a game dating back to February 27, 1975 when former Bronco Diane Westbrook had 21 against Eastern Oregon. The win gives Boise State sole possession of first place in the Western Athletic Conference at 12-2 in league, Fresno State was idle tonight to remain at 11-2.
The game was ugly from the Broncos perspective as they struggle to find any rhythm in the game. Credit San Jose State’s tenacity for causing Boise State trouble throughout the contest. Each time Boise State would run off a small scoring streak the Spartans countered pulling back into reach.
The first half was rough for the Broncos as they settled for a two-point, 37-35, lead over a team they dismantled by 27 on the road in their previous meeting. The half saw four ties and six lead changes before the Broncos seized control of the scoreboard. The period proved to be a battle between Boise State’s Ja'Lara Walker who secured her double-double in the opening 20 minutes with 12 points and 11 boards, and San Jose State’s Natalie White who scored 19 of her game-high 27 points in the first period.
Boise State never relinquished their advantage on the scoreboard in the final half and eventually stretched their lead to a game-high 16 points, 65-49, with 5:20 to play. However, like they had done all night the Spartans came fighting back cutting the lead to six points, 71-65, with 30 seconds left on the clock.
Ironically, Boise State ended up winning the game at the free-throw line in the final seconds after having their worst night of the season at the charity stripe hitting an embarrassing 46.2 percent of their attempts,12-of-26. After San Jose State had cut the lead to six the Broncos’ Harris stepped to the line and hit two foul shots giving the Broncos a eight-point, 73-65, lead with 26 seconds to play. After the Spartans miss fired on a shot, sophomore Ja'Lara Walker hit one-of-two free throws with 14 seconds showing to give the blue and orange the final nine-point victory margin at 74-65.
Harris was the only Boise State player not to struggle from the line in the game hitting seven-of-eight from the stripe. Boise State was the WAC’s top free-throw shooting team entering the game making 72.1 percent of their attempts on the year.
San Jose State had no answer for Walker in the game as she led the Broncos with 9-of-19 shooting from the floor on the night. In addition, to her record 23 rebounds she also tied the school record for offensive boards in a game with 11. Jessica Thompson was second in scoring with 17 points to go with seven rebounds, and team-highs for assists and steals with six and five respectively. Tasha Harris was the only other Bronco in double figure points Thursday night with 13 along with her two boards, five assists, and two steals. Jamia Malone finished with seven points followed by Sierra Moeller with six, Jackie Lee with five, Brittany Moore’s three, and Jenna Galassi’s two.
Natalie White ended the game leading San Jose State with 27 points, eight rebounds, one assists, and two steals. Sayja Sumler was second with eight points, followed by Christine Martin with seven, and Brittany Powell with six points and a team-high nine rebounds.
Boise State now leads the WAC at 12-2 while improving to 20-6 overall to record the first ever back-to-back 20-win seasons in program history and only the fifth all-time. The win also increases their home win streak to 15 games which would unofficially tie for the sixth longest active streak in the NCAA. Meanwhile, San Jose State falls to 2-25 overall and 1-13 in conference. The Broncos conclude the home portion of the regular season schedule this Saturday night when they host the Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine at 7:05 p.m. (Mountain) in Taco Bell Arena. There will be a short pregame ceremony honoring the program’s two seniors Jackie Lee and Amanda Stewart starting around 6:50 p.m.
Newspaper Box Score
San Jose State vs Boise State
02/28/08 7:00 pm at Boise, Idaho (Taco Bell Arena)
BOISE STATE 74, SAN JOSE STATE 65
SAN JOSE STATE (2-25, 1-13 WAC)
White, Natalie 8-17 7-8 27; Sumler, Sayja 3-8 2-4 8; Martin, Christine 3-11
1-2 7; Barnes, Myosha 3-8 0-0 6; Nichols, Emily 2-5 0-0 6; Powell, Brittany
3-4 0-0 6; Hicks, Alisha 1-4 3-3 5; Imaku, Brittany 0-3 0-0 0; Edinburgh,
Aumornai 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-61 13-17 65.
BOISE STATE (20-6, 12-2 WAC)
Walker, Ja'Lara 9-19 3-9 21; Thompson, Jessica 8-14 0-1 17; Harris, Tasha
2-11 7-8 13; Malone, Jamia 3-8 0-4 7; Moeller, Sierra 2-3 2-2 6; Lee, Jackie
2-8 0-0 5; Moore, Brittany 1-3 0-0 3; Galassi, Jenna 1-7 0-2 2; Rima,
Melissa 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 28-75 12-26 74.
San Jose State................ 35 30 - 65
Boise State................... 37 37 - 74
3-point goals--San Jose State 6-20 (White, Natalie 4-6; Nichols, Emily 2-5;
Martin, Christine 0-5; Barnes, Myosha 0-1; Imaku, Brittany 0-2; Sumler,
Sayja 0-1), Boise State 6-16 (Harris, Tasha 2-4; Malone, Jamia 1-3; Moore,
Brittany 1-2; Lee, Jackie 1-4; Thompson, Jessica 1-3). Fouled out--San Jose
State-None, Boise State-None. Rebounds--San Jose State 44 (Powell, Brittany
9), Boise State 51 (Walker, Ja'Lara 23). Assists--San Jose State 15 (Hicks,
Alisha 5), Boise State 16 (Thompson, Jessica 6). Total fouls--San Jose State
21, Boise State 14. Technical fouls--San Jose State-None, Boise State-None.