Boise State rallies from 10 down to defeat Fresno State 69-63, keep WAC title hopes alive . . .

BOISE, Idaho - (3/1/2007) - The Boise State women refused to lose their dream of a league title Thursday night as they rallied from 10 points down several times to defeat Fresno State 69-63 in a crucial WAC basketball game at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. A loss would of cost them a share of the league regular season title, a win kept their hopes alive trailing Louisiana Tech by half a game heading into Saturday night’s finale against Hawaii. Sophomore point guard Tasha Harris led the Broncos with 18 points and a relentless effort in keeping the Broncos within reach until they made the final run that Fresno State had no answer.

Leading most of the game by as many as 10 points, Fresno State had answered every rally attempt the Broncos had made until the final four minutes of the game. Down by five, 59-54, with 4:16 to play Boise State began their final drive. Nadia Begay hit one of her three treys in the game from the right corner followed by two Jackie Lee free throws to tie the score at 59 all with three and a half minutes to play. The Bulldogs answered when Erica Henry hit a layup from the post to regain a two-point edge at 61-59 with 3:04 left in the game.

Boise State’s final push over the top came on a Michelle Hessing layup giving the Broncos their first lead since early in the first half at 62-61 with two minutes to go. Boise State then refused to lose that lead they fought so hard to get outscoring the Bulldogs 7-3 in the final two minutes including hitting five-of-six free throws, Jackie Lee was four-for-four, in the final 42 seconds to claim the 69-63 win.

Boise State was forced to overcome a poor first half that saw them start slow and struggle with their touch as they shot 31.4 percent from the floor in the first period while Fresno State hit 53.3 percent. The Bulldogs controlled the boards in the opening 20 minutes as well out rebounding the Broncos 26-to-16. The one thing that kept Boise State in the game was the turnover department that saw them force 14 first half Bulldog turnovers while giving it away one six times themselves.

Tasha Harris led the team in scoring for the second consecutive game with 18 points following a 23 point performance last Saturday at Nevada. In addition to her points, Harris had one rebound and three assists. Nadia Begay followed Harris in scoring at 12 points while adding five rebounds, one assist, and one steal. No other Bronco was in double-figure scoring but several were close as Boise State’s balanced offense came through once again as it has most of the season. Jenna Galassi recorded nine points and a team high six rebounds, followed by Jackie Lee with eight points and five rebounds, all in the second half, and Michelle Hessing with eight points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Rebecca Kepilino added four points, three rebounds, and a career high four blocked shots. The game saw the return of Jessica Thompson after missing the three previous games, she had two points and two rebounds in 15 minutes of action.

Tierre Wilson led Fresno State with 14 points and two rebounds before fouling out with a little more than three minutes to play. Paige Diggs was second in scoring with 11 points. On the glass, Brittani Green recorded a team high eight rebounds to go with four points, followed by Diggs with seven boards.

The Broncos ended the game shooting 39.3 percent (24-of-61) from the floor, 35.7 percent (5-of-14) from behind the arc, and 66.7 percent (16-of-24) from the foul line. Fresno State ended at 49.1 percent (27-55) from the floor, 29.4 percent (5-of-17) from three-point range, and struggled from the free throw line hitting 30.8 percent (4-of-13). Boise State dominated the boards in the second half pulling even with Fresno State at the buzzer at 36 each. The key in the game was 25 Bulldog turnovers accounting for a 26-to-eight Bronco advantage in points off turnovers.

The win snaps a three-game losing streak and gives the Broncos the 20-win season they have been looking for the last two weeks as they improve to 20-8 overall and 11-4 in WAC play. It is Boise State’s fourth 20-win season all-time and first since the 1993-94 team went 23-6. The loss drops Fresno State to 16-12 on the year and 8-7 in league. Next up for Boise State, a battle with Hawaii at 7:00 p.m. in Taco Bell Arena on Saturday in the regular season finale. At stake is a share of the WAC regular season championship, Louisiana Tech has already claimed part, and the number one seed into next week's WAC Tournament at Las Cruces, New Mexico.  It will also be Senior Day as they Broncos will honor their three seniors prior to the game.


Newspaper Box Score
Fresno State vs Boise State
03/01/07 7:00 p.m. at Boise, Idaho (Taco Bell Arena)


FRESNO STATE (16-12, WAC 8-7)
Wilson, Tierre 6-10 0-0 14; Diggs, Paige 5-8 0-4 11; Perera, Chantella 4-13
0-0 9; Henry, Erica 3-4 3-6 9; Thigpin, Jenny 4-5 1-2 9; Roberson, Andrea
3-7 0-1 7; Green, Brittani 2-6 0-0 4; Walker-Roche, Kendra 0-2 0-0 0; Jones,
Brittny 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-55 4-13 63.

BOISE STATE (20-8, WAC 11-4)
Harris, Tasha 7-15 2-4 18; Begay, Nadia 4-9 1-2 12; Galassi, Jenna 2-5 5-6
9; Lee, Jackie 1-3 6-6 8; Hessing, Michelle 4-7 0-0 8; Thompson, Jackie 2-3
0-0 4; Kepilino, Rebecca 1-7 2-4 4; Stewart, Amanda 2-3 0-0 4; Thompson,
Jessica 1-7 0-2 2; Walker, Ja'Lara 0-2 0-0 0; Reyes, Bridgette 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals 24-61 16-24 69.

Fresno State..................   39   24  -   63
Boise State...................   29   40  -   69

3-point goals--Fresno State 5-17 (Wilson, Tierre 2-3; Diggs, Paige 1-2;
Roberson, Andrea 1-3; Perera, Chantella 1-5; Walker-Roche, Kendra 0-2;
Green, Brittani 0-2), Boise State 5-14 (Begay, Nadia 3-7; Harris, Tasha 2-3;
Lee, Jackie 0-1; Thompson, Jessica 0-2; Galassi, Jenna 0-1). Fouled
out--Fresno State-Wilson, Tierre; Thigpin, Jenny, Boise State-None.
Rebounds--Fresno State 36 (Green, Brittani 8), Boise State 36 (Galassi,
Jenna 6). Assists--Fresno State 13 (Perera, Chantella 4), Boise State 11
(Harris, Tasha 3). Total fouls--Fresno State 21, Boise State 16. Technical
fouls--Fresno State-Wilson, Tierre, Boise State-None. A-930


» «