Boise State to Face Nevada in WAC Quarterfinals...

GOBRONCOSDOTCOM
GOBRONCOSDOTCOM

GOBRONCOSDOTCOM
► What’s Happening This Weekend

Boise State University (16-14, 9-7 WAC) opens the Western Athletic Conference Tournament as the number six seed and will face host University of Nevada (16-13, 10-6 WAC) in the quarterfinals at 7:00 p.m. (Mountain) Wednesday night in the Lawlor Events Center in Reno. It will be the third quarterfinal game of the day and the first of the evening session.      

Both teams were WAC regular season title contenders until the second to last weekend of the campaign. Nevada finished tied with Idaho for third place while Boise State finished tied for fifth place with Utah State.

The regular season series was split with the home team winning each contest. Nevada dominated Boise State in the first meeting at Reno on Jan. 30 by the score of 77-45. Meanwhile, the Broncos won the last encounter in Boise 75-74 on Feb. 22.

This will be the first ever meeting between the Wolf Pack and Broncos at the WAC Tournament. Interestingly enough, these two schools have been in four different leagues together off and on since 1987. However, they have never met in a conference tournament game until this year.
    

► About The Broncos

The Broncos enter the week at 16-14 overall and 9-7 in WAC play to finish tied for fifth place in the conference standings with Utah State. Boise State enters the tournament off back-to-back losses and have gone 2-4 in its last six contests. Last Saturday the Broncos lost the regular season finale 58-56 at home to Idaho. Prior to that they finished a two-game road trip defeating San Jose State 56-45 on Feb. 27 before losing a disappointing game at Hawaii 68-67 on March 1, a contest they led by 17 points at halftime.

●    The Broncos’ History at the WAC Tournament...
Previous seven years - The Broncos are 9-6 all-time at the WAC tournament and have never lost a tournament opener going 7-0 in their first games. Boise State has advanced to the semifinals each of the last three years and won it all in 2007 defeating New Mexico State 49-46 in Las Cruces, N.M.

●    Trio Earns WAC Postseason Honors...
Senior Jenna Galassi and freshmen Heather Pilcher and Courtney VanBrocklin were all named to WAC postseason teams for the first time in their careers.  Galassi was named to the WAC’s all-defensive team while Pilcher and VanBrocklin made the all-freshmen team.

●    Streak Comes To A End...
League Titles - The Broncos entered the season as two-time defending WAC champions. They battled adversity all year long and surprisingly still harbored hopes of a three-peat until the second to last weekend of the campaign. The loss at Hawai’i on March 1 ended all possibilities of repeating as champions.  

●    The Man In Charge...
Gordy Presnell - The Broncos are in their fourth year under the leadership of head coach Gordy Presnell. To date, he has gone 79-46 while at Boise State and 475-173 in 22 seasons as a collegiate head coach. In competition versus Nevada he has gone 5-3.

●    As a Team...
Offensively - The Broncos have struggled scoring this season averaging 61.6 points per game (4th WAC) while shooting 36.7 percent (8th WAC) from the floor, 26.6 percent (9th WAC) from the 3-point arc, and 66.8 percent (6th WAC) from the free-throw line.

Defensively - Boise State is allowing 62.5 points per game (6th WAC) while opponents have shot 37.8 percent (3rd WAC) from the floor and 27.9 percent (2nd WAC) from the 3-point line. On the glass, Boise State averages 40.9 (3rd WAC) while allowing opponents 41.8 (9th WAC) per game.

●    Who To Watch...
Marisa Stotler - The sophomore forward currently leads the team in scoring while coming in off the bench. She is averaging 9.6 points and a second-best 6.0 rebounds per game, 12th in the WAC on the glass. However, she has not played since injury during San Jose State game on Feb. 13.

Heather Pilcher - The freshman reserve guard is a 2009 WAC All-Freshmen Team honoree and ranks second on the team in scoring at 9.0 points per game. The Lynwood, Calif., native has recorded 14 double-figure-point games and has led the Broncos in scoring four times during league play.

Brittany Moore - The senior guard ranks third in scoring at 8.4 points per game. She missed the Idaho and Fresno State games in early January because of injury but returned against Hawaii on Jan. 12 in a reserve role. She returned to the starting lineup at Nevada on Jan. 30. She has led team in scoring four times during league play.

Courtney VanBrocklin - The freshman reserve guard is also a 2009 WAC All-Freshmen Team honoree. She ranks fourth in scoring on the team at 7.4 points per game while adding 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game. She has led the team in scoring four times and has eight games in double-figures.

Note: statistical rankings are for all games unless noted otherwise.


► Scouting Game 31    at Nevada Wednesday (3/11/09)

Game 31 features the number six seeded Boise State Broncos (16-14, 9-7 WAC) against the tournament host and three seed Nevada Wolf Pack (16-13, 10-6 WAC). Both teams entered the final game of the season tied for third at 9-6 when Nevada defeated Hawai’i 75-57 at home while the Boise State lost a close 58-56 contest in Boise to the Idaho Vandals. The Wolf Pack and Broncos split the regular season series with the home team winning each time. These two have never met in a postseason tournament of any kind until Wednesday’s encounter at the Lawlor Events Center.  

●    The Series - Wednesday’s game will be the 39th edition of the Nevada-Boise State series which the Broncos have dominated holding a 29-9 all-time advantage. Overall, the Broncos lead 11-5 in WAC regular season games, 17-3 in games played at Boise, 11-6 in games at Reno, and 1-0 in neutral site contests. Boise State swept the series in 2008 winning 82-74 in Boise and 80-69 in Reno. These two programs have a long history together as members of four different leagues dating back to the old Mountain West Athletic Conference (1987-88), Big Sky Conference (1988-92), Big West Conference (1996-00), and most recently the WAC (2001-present).

●    First Meeting of 2009 - RENO, Nev. (1/30/09) - Nevada took control of the game early with a 12-0 run and never looked back. It was a game where nothing went right for the Broncos as the Wolf Pack cruised to a 32-point victory, 77-45. Boise State shot 29 percent from the floor and 15 percent from the arc. Nevada hit 48 percent from the court and 44 percent from the 3-point line. Marisa Stotler was the only Bronco to reach double-figure points with 12 to go with five rebounds. Meanwhile, Dellena Criner led three Nevada players in double-digit scoring with 20 points followed by Johnna Ward with 14 and Brandi Jones with 11.

●    Second Meeting of 2009 - BOISE, Idaho (2/22/09) - Boise State defeated Nevada 75-74 in an exciting back and forth encounter in Taco Bell Arena. Boise State rallied from five-down to take a 73-70 lead with 46 seconds to play. Down 75-74 the Wolf Pack had a chance to win on their final possession with under five seconds to play, but a Dellena Criner turnover as she drove the key and the recovery by Boise State’s Rebecca Kepilino as time ran out secured the victory for the Broncos. The game saw 11 ties and 19 lead changes as neither team led by more than seven points during the game. Boise State had three players record double-figure points led by Brittany Moore with 14 followed by Courtney VanBrocklin’s 13 and Melissa Rima’s 12, Jenna Galassi had a team-best 11 rebounds. Nevada also had three in double-digit scoring led by Johnna Wards 19 while Shavon Moore added 16 and Cherlanda Franklin’s 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

●    2009 Series Standouts - Marisa Stotler had 12 points and five rebounds for Boise State in the first encounter but missed the second game do to injury. Other leaders for Boise State versus Nevada were freshman Heather Pilcher averaged 9.5 points and two boards per game, while Melissa Rima added 8.5 points and 5.0 boards, and Jenna Galassi who chipped in 8.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Three Wolf Pack players averaged double-figure points versus the Broncos this year led by Johnna Ward at 16.5 points per game. She was followed by Dellena Criner at 14.0 points and 5.5 rebounds, and Cherlanda Franklin with 11.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per outing, Brandi Jones and Shavon Moore averaged 9.5 and 9.0 points per game respectively.

► Scouting Nevada...

●    The Wolf Pack - Nevada finished the regular season at 16-13 overall and 10-6 in conference to tie for third place. They enter the WAC Tournament winners of their last two contests defeating Idaho 57-39 in Moscow, Idaho and Hawaii 75-57 in Reno. The Wolf Pack went 11-3 at home in the Lawlor Events Center losing only to BYU 81-63, Fresno State 63-60 and Utah State 63-52.  

●    The Head Coach - Nevada is in its first season under the direction of head coach Jane Albright who came to the school via Wichita State where she recorded a 48-95 five-year mark. Currently she is 16-13 overall at Nevada and is 1-1 versus the Broncos.

●    As a Team - Entering this weekend, Nevada possesses the WAC’s third ranked scoring offense averaging 62.2 points per game while shooting 38.4 percent (4th WAC) from the floor, 28.9 percent (7th WAC) from the arc, and 67.3 percent (4th WAC) from the foul line. Defensively they allow 60.2 points per game (3rd WAC) while opponents have shot 38.8 percent (5th WAC) from the court and 34.1 percent (7th WAC) from behind the 3-point line. They are fourth in rebounding averaging 40 boards per game while opponents grab 36.8 per game (3rd WAC).   
   
●    Who to Watch - Senior guard Dellena Criner is the two-time WAC Defensive Player of the Year and has been one of the premiere players in the WAC since arriving at Nevada. She leads the Wolf Pack in scoring at 14.3 points per game (t-3rd WAC) while adding 3.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists (1st WAC). Senior Brandi Jones (formerly known as Fitzgerald) is second in scoring at 8.3 points per game to go with 5.4 rebounds, while senior Cherlanda Franklin leads on the boards averaging 6.8 rebounds per game (5th WAC) in addition to 8.2 points.   

●    What’s Back From Last Year - The Wolf Pack returned the most experience in the league from last year with four starters and 10 letterwinners back from an 18-12 squad that went 9-7 in the WAC to place tied for fourth.  

●    Conference Preseason Polls - The league’s coaches and media picked Nevada to place fourth in this year’s WAC race.