Broncos Close Three Game Homestand with Portland State, Then Travel to Idaho State...

► What’s Happening This Weekend
Boise State University’s women’s basketball team closes a three-game homestand to open the season this Thursday when it host Portland State University (2-0) at 7:00 p.m. (Mountain) in Taco Bell Arena. They will then start a stretch of six-consecutive road games over the next three weeks when they travel to Pocatello, Idaho, to play instate-rival Idaho State University (0-2) at 3:30 p.m. (Mountain)  Saturday in Reed Gym. 

Both opponents are members of the Big Sky Conference and are two of the four teams from that league that Boise State will play this season. The Broncos have never lost in Boise to Portland State gong 16-0 versus the Vikings on their home floor (Bronco Gym and Taco Bell Arena). Boise State is 17-10 in Pocatello against Idaho State all-time.
► What’s Happened Recently
Boise State opened the 2009-10 regular season by sweeping a pair of home games last weekend over Western Oregon University (76-40) and Weber State University (66-58).

The Broncos won their first two contests by an average of 22 points and trailed for a total of 34 seconds in those two games. They scored the first basket against WOU and never trailed during the 40 minutes of the game. Versus Weber State the Wildcats scored the opening two points 12 seconds into the contest before Boise State hit a 3-pointer to take the lead and never looked back after that.

Senior Tasha Harris led the team during the opening weekend averaging 16.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals. She was followed by freshman Julia Marshall who added 10 points, 3.5 boards, and 1.0 assists per game. 

► Broncos on the Radio
Boise State women’s basketball will once again be on Boise State Radio (KBSU AM 730 in Boise, KEZJ Am 1450 in Twin Falls and KBSK FM 89.9 in McCall) this winter for the 17th season in a row.  Doug Link, Boise State Assistant Sports Information Director, returns for his 12th season as the voice of the Broncos providing the play-by-play for each contest. The broadcasts will begin 15 minutes before tip with a short pregame talk with head coach Gordy Presnell.

Looking At Boise State

► Boise State’s Leaders - Senior Tasha Harris leads  the Broncos statistically averaging 16.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game. Freshman Julia Marshall is second adding 10.0 points and 3.5 boards, followed by Jessica Van Hoogen at 7.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game.

► Boise State as A Team - The Broncos average 71.0 points while allowing 49 for a scoring margin of 22 points per game. Boise State shots 42 percent from the floor, 17 percent from the arc and 77 percent from the free-throw line. On the glass, Boise State averages 42.5 rebounds per game and gives up 30.5, it is a plus 12.0 in rebound margin.

► Season Openers - Boise State opened the season at home last Friday defeating Western Oregon 76-40 for their fourth opening day victory in a row. Last year Boise State defeated Seattle University 66-56 in Taco Bell Arena.

► Boise State Picked Third in Preseason Polls - The Boise State women’s basketball team was picked to place third in the 2009-10 Western Athletic Conference race this winter as voted on by both the league’s coaches and media.

The coaches voting showed the expectation of a tight race for the regular-season title as the Broncos received 53 points in the coaches’ poll to finish a close third behind defending champion Fresno State (60) and Louisiana Tech (58).  Boise State did receive one first place vote following five for Fresno State and three for La Tech. The Broncos, who battled through a rash of injuries and the loss of four starters in 2008-09 but still managed to record a winning record with a 9-7 league mark and a 16-15 overall record, finished ahead of Idaho and New Mexico State in the voting who each tallied 39 points, Nevada (28), Utah State (24), then Hawai’i and San Jose State with 12 apiece.

Boise State tallied 136 points in the media poll to finish a distant third behind Louisiana Tech (180) and Fresno State (167). The Lady Techsters received 14 first place votes compared six for Fresno State and one for Boise State. The Broncos were followed in the media voting by Idaho (114), Nevada (104), New Mexico State (100), Utah State (72), Hawai’i (46) and San Jose State (26). 

► What’s Back From 2008-09 - Boise State returns two starters and five letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 16-15 overall and 9-7 in Western Athletic Conference play tying for fifth place. Junior forward/center Janie Bos started all 31 games for the Broncos followed by junior forward Melissa Rima who started the last 10 games of the year at the wing. Joining those two are sophomore guard Heather Pilcher, who started seven contests and scored a team-high 280 points, senior forward Rebecca Kepilino, and sophomore forward Stacie Gross

► Broncos Welcome Back a Pair of Redshirt Seniors - Boise State returns one of the top back courts in the league from 2007-08 in redshirt-seniors Tasha Harris and Jessica (Thompson) Van Hoogen. Both sat out last year with injuries and return this year for their final campaign in the blue and orange. Both are former All-WAC honorees and preseason WAC Players of the Year, as well as, 1,200-point scorers to rank sixth and seventh respectively on the Bronco scoring charts. In addition, they both made this year’s preseason All-WAC teams.

► Harris Given Sixth Year - Tasha Harris has been a major factor in Boise State’s resurgence over the past four years as a three-year starter at point guard. Last year the fifth-year senior opened the 2008-09 campaign averaging a WAC best 22 points per game. Unfortunately, she suffered a season ending injury one minute into the second half of the third game against Washington State. In May of 2009, the NCAA granted Harris a medical hardship clearing the way for her to return this year, her sixth at Boise State. 

► Six New Faces Join the Broncos in 2009-10 - One junior college transfer (Nicole Brady) and five true freshmen (Lauren Lenhardt, Julia Marshall, Taylor McGilbra, Kinzi Poteet, and Stephanie Storms) joined the Broncos this fall. They combined for 29 points and 16 rebounds during the Broncos lone exhibition game this year against LCSC last week.

► Four Years at .500 or Better - Since head coach Gordy Presnell took over the Boise State program in the summer of 2005 the Broncos have recorded four-consecutive years at .500 or better. They were 15-15 in his first year, 24-9 in 2006-07, 24-8 in 2007-08, and 16-15 in 2008-09. Prior to Presnell’s arrival Boise State had not experienced a winning season in seven years, since the 1998 team went 19-11 and advanced to the WNIT.  

► Recent Success - The Broncos won the WAC regular season title in 2007 (12-4) and 2008 (14-2). They also won the 2007 WAC Tournament crown and have advanced to postseason national tournaments in 2007 (NCAA) and 2008 (WNIT).   

► The Head Coach - Gordy Presnell:  The Broncos are in their fifth year under the leadership of head coach Gordy Presnell. To date, he has gone 81-47 while at Boise State and 477-174 in 22 seasons as a collegiate head coach.

Scouting Game #3 Vs. Portland State

► Scouting The Vikings -  Portland State enters the week at 2-0 overall coming off a pair of home victories over Washington (67-66) and Western Oregon (75-65).

► Statistically In 2009-10 -  They are led in scoring by Kelli Valentine averaging team-highs for points and rebounds at 15.0 and 9.0 respectively. Claire Faucher played only in one game over the weekend but scored 14 points against Washington to go with five rebounds, she is followed by Eryn Jones at 12.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. The Vikings average 71.0 points per game while allowing 65.5 for a scoring margin of plus 5.5 per game. On the boards they are a plus one bringing down 38.5 compared to giving up 37.5 rebounds per game.   

► About Portland State -  The Vikings are in their third year under the direction of head coach Sherri Murrell who is 47-19 at PSU and 194-212 in 14+ years as a head coach. Portland State is a member of the Big Sky Conference where they were picked by both the league’s coaches and media to win the regular season title. They return three starters and 11 letterwinners from last year’s 23-10 campaign, they went 14-2 in conference to place second and advanced to the WNIT where they went 1-1.

► The Series -  The two programs were once league rivals in the  Northwest Women’s Basketball League (1977-82) and the Mountain West Athletic Conference (1982-1986), both leagues are now defunct. Boise State currently holds a 25-11 lead in the all-time series dating back to Feb. of 1974. The last time these two teams met was in Boise on Dec. 1, 2004 when the Broncos won 68-33, that is also the current win streak in the series.  Boise State has never lost in Boise to Portland State going 16-0 all-time at home.

Scouting Game #4 Vs. Idaho State

► Scouting The Bengals -  Idaho State enters the week at 0-2 overall coming off a pair of road defeats at Saint Mary’s (76-69) and at California (100-43). The Bengals play at Nebraska Thursday before hosting the Broncos on Saturday. 

► Statistically In 2009-10 -  They are led in scoring by Oana Iacovita averaging 12.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. She is followed by Kaela Oakes who adds 12.0 points and 5.5 boards each time out. The Bengals are averaging 56 points per game while allowing 88 for a scoring margin of minus 32 per game. On the boards they are a minus 18.5 bringing down 32.5 compared to giving up 51 rebounds per game.   

► About Idaho State -  The Bengals are in their second year under the direction of head coach Seton Sobolewski who is 11-22 at ISU. Idaho State is the third of four Big Sky Conference members the Broncos will play this year. The Bengals were picked to place fifth in the league race by the coaches and fourth by the media. They return two starters and four letterwinners from last year’s 11-20 campaign, they went 7-9 in conference to place fourth.

► The Series -  Boise State and Idaho State are longtime rivals having played 62 times previously with the Broncos holding a commanding lead in the series at 44-18. They were once league rivals in the  old Mountain West Athletic Conference (1982-1986) which later became to Big Sky (1986-96). The series dates back to Feb. 1971. The last time these two teams met was in Boise on Dec. 10, 2008 when the Broncos won 65-58. Boise State has won six straight and is 17-10 all-time in Pocatello. 

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