Women's Basketball to Play Lewis-Clark State in Exhibition on Sunday...

GOBRONCOSDOTCOM
GOBRONCOSDOTCOM

GOBRONCOSDOTCOM
Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (Mountain) in Taco Bell Arena.

The public will get their first chance to see the Boise State University women’s basketball team this Sunday afternoon when they host Lewis-Clark State College at 2:00 p.m. in Taco Bell Arena. The Broncos are expected to battle for their third Western Athletic Conference title in four years this winter. They were picked by the league’s coaches to place a close third in the preseason poll behind Fresno State and Louisiana Tech.

Boise State returns a solid core group from last year and welcomes back redshirt-seniors Tasha Harris and Jessica (Thompson) Van Hoogen. In all, seven veterans return for the 2009-10 campaign and are joined by six new talented faces.

Among the five returners who played in 2008-09 is Janie Bos. The 6-2 junior forward was one-of-two players to start in all 31 games last season. She is joined by four other veterans from last year’s campaign, two of which started at least seven games. Junior Melissa Rima started at small forward in the final 10 games last year and had a total of 11 starts overall in the 28 games played. Meanwhile, sophomore Heather Pilcher played in all 31 games with seven starts at the shooting guard position. The fourth veteran is senior Rebecca Kepilino who returned last year from a season ending injury the previous season to play in 22 contests at forward. Kepilino is healthy this year and looking strong in preseason workouts. The final player back is sophomore Stacie Gross who played limited minutes in a reserve forward role during 2008-09, but has made steady improvement and will figure into the Bronco lineup this year.

The return of Harris and Van Hoogen gives the team a solid core group again, providing optimism for this winter’s campaign. Both are previous All-WAC honorees and have been voted Western Athletic Conference Preseason Players of the Year during their careers. After missing the 2008-09 campaign with injuries they are now healthy and ready to show why they have been considered one of the best back-court tandems in the conference, if not in the west. The league’s coaches agree naming them both to the 2009 Preseason All-WAC team.

Joining the seven experienced players on this year’s roster are six newcomers, one junior college transfer and five true freshmen. The transfer is Nicole Brady a 6-0 forward who earned honorable mention All-American honors at Salt Lake Community College as a sophomore last year. She is joined by freshmen Lauren Lenhardt a 6-2 forward (Eagle, Idaho), Julia Marshall a 5-9 guard (Wichita, Kan.), Taylor McGilbra a 5-9 guard (Houston, Texas), Kinzi Poteet a 6-2 forward (Grandview, Wash.), and Stephanie Storms a 5-5 guard (Alpharetta, Ga.). The talented class of newcomers will need to make an immediate contribution if the team is to be successful this year.

Sunday will be the team’s first real test to see how far they have come during preseason workouts. There have been a lot of new pieces to work into the team lineup as the staff has worked to build team chemistry. The lone exhibition contest for the Broncos on Sunday will give the staff and boosters a good look at the team as they prepare for the season opener next Friday versus Wester Oregon University.  

 
Previewing the Lewis-Clark State Warriors...

This is the third year in a row that the two squads have met in an exhibition game in Taco Bell Arena. It is a solid match-up featuring one of the WAC’s powers versus a NAIA traditional power-house. The Warriors are regulars in the NAIA national rankings and postseason tournament. The Warriors return eight players from last year’s squad that won Frontier Conference Tournament title. Lewis-Clark State has had 17-straight seasons of 20-plus wins, made 13 trips to the NAIA National Tournament in the last 14 years, have appeared in eight of the last 10 Frontier Conference Tournament championship games, and have won five conference titles in the 10 years the school has been a part of the league.

Entering the weekend the Warriors are currently ranked 16th nationally in the NAIA and are coming off a 67-56 road upset of No. 10 Azusa Pacific on Thursday night. They are now 2-0 on the season and will play at Cal Baptist on Friday before traveling to Boise for their Sunday encounter with the Broncos.