Boise State (3-4) heads north to the Big Sky state this weekend to renew old rivalries with Montana State University (2-3) and the University of Montana (?-?). The action begins with a 7:00 p.m. (Mountain) tip Friday night in Worthington Arena at Bozeman, Mont., against the Montana State Bobcats. The Bobcats are coached by Boise State alum Tricia (Bader) Binford who has turned the MSU program around since her arrival four years ago. The weekend’s schedule with conclude Sunday afternoon in Missoula, Mont., when the Broncos take on the always tough Montana Lady Griz in Dahlberg Arena, tip-off is 2:00 p.m. (Mountain).
The Broncos enter the week at 3-4 overall. Boise State has shown steady improvement since a rash of injuries hit the team since October. They snapped a four-game skid this past Monday night when they defeated Southern Utah by 14, 74-60, in Boise. The Broncos opened the season with two home wins over Seattle (66-56) and Portland (68-59) then went into a slump which corresponded with the loss of four-year starter Tasha Harris. The victories were followed by four defeats against Washington State (85-76) in Boise, at Washington (74-51) on Nov. 23, at Wyoming (62-55) Nov. 25, and to Utah Valley 73-70 in Boise on Nov. 29. Boise State lost the last two contests in the final minute of play.
Recently for Boise State
Last Saturday, Game 6 - Boise, Idaho (11/29/08) - A combined 32 points by the freshmen guard tandem of Courtney VanBrocklin and Heather Pilcher were not enough to carry Boise State as the Broncos fell in the final minute to Utah Valley 73-70. The Broncos rallied from nine points down in the second half to take a six-point 62-56 lead with 6:33 to play, only to let the game slip away at the end. Down four, 56-52, with 9:37 remaining, VanBrocklin scored four points of a 10-0 Bronco run that gave Boise State a 62-56 lead with 6:33 to go. Boise State then held the lead until the final minute when Utah Valley rallied regaining the advantage on a Sandy Marvin-Wall layup with 57 seconds remaining and the score reading 69-68. The final minute saw Boise State finish the game with two missed field goals and two turnovers. Meanwhile, Utah Valley held off the Broncos at the foul line as Asumi Nakayama hit four-of-four free throws in the last 30 seconds. VanBrocklin led Boise State with a career-high 19 points on six-of-nine shooting from the floor and seven-of-eight from the free-throw line. Pilcher tied her career-high for points with 13.
Last Monday, Game 7 - Boise, Idaho (12/1/08) - Freshman Heather Pilcher scored a career-high 19 points to lead Boise State to a dominating 74-60 victory over Southern Utah. The Broncos had been struggling this year hitting from the arc and free-throw line but came out firing, hitting 10-of-26 shots from 3-point range and 16-of-20 free throws. Boise state led on the scoreboard the entire 40 minutes. Senior Jamia Malone opened the game for Boise State by hitting her first three field goal attempts, all from behind the arc. With three and half minutes gone in the opening period she had given the Broncos a quick 11-6 advantage. They never looked back after that stretching the lead to 18 points twice in the opening 20 minutes, eventually taking a 11 point, 33-22, advantage into halftime. Up 39-28 with 16:25 to play in the second half, Boise State rolled off an 8-0 run to stretch their advantage to 19 points by the 11 minute mark, 47-28. The Broncos eventually claimed a game-high 23-point advantage at 50-37 with 7:18 remaining. Southern Utah made one final rally attempt before the game ended by hitting three 3-pointers and a pair of short shots to cut the deficit to 11 points 71-60 with 1:22 showing on the clock. That would be as close as the Thunderbirds would get as Boise State’s Heather Pilcher hit the final field goal of the game by either team from 3-point range with 33 seconds remaining for the final 74-60 victory margin.
Bronco Radio Information
Boise State women’s basketball returns to the radio for its 16th year. All of the Broncos’ regular and postseason games can be heard live over the Boise State Radio network. Doug Link, assistant sports information director, enters his 11th season providing the play-by-play for every contest. Each broadcast begins with a 15 minute pregame show and ends with a postgame wrap-up with head coach Gordy Presnell.
What’s Happening This Week
► Game 8 at Montana State - Friday (12/5/08)
Boise State heads to the state of Montana for a two-game road trip this week beginning with an encounter Friday night at Bozeman against Montana State, tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (Mountain) in Worthington Arena. The Bobcats are off to a 3-2 start and are coming off a eight-point, 90-82, shootout victory over Western Carolina in Bozeman last Saturday. Prior to that they lost at Gonzaga 100-47 and at Washington State 78-66.
Tricia (Bader) Binford to lead Bobcats against alma mater Boise State
Montana State is coached by Boise State great Tricia (Bader) Binford who is in her fourth season at the helm of the Bobcat program. Binford wore the Bronco uniform 1991-96 and played with current Boise State assistant Heather Sower. Binford, a member of Boise State’s athletic hall of fame, is the only alum to ever play in the WNBA where she competed for five years for Utah and Cleveland franchises. The one-time Boise State assistant (1999-01) is 0-1 all-time versus Boise State as a head coach. The Broncos defeated her 2005-06 MSU squad 66-52 in Bozeman the last time the two schools met in women’s basketball.
A Quick Look at Montana State
The Bobcats are charter members (1962) of the Big Sky Conference. As a Team - Entering Friday’s game, Montana State averages 76.4 points per game while allowing 81.8. Who to Watch - The Bobcats have four players averaging double-figure points on the season. Katie Bussey leads at 11.8 points per game followed by Jenny Heringer and Sarah Strand at 11.2 ppg each, and Nubia Garcia at 10.8 ppg and a team-high 8.4 rebounds per game. What’s Back From Last Year - Montana State returns three starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 18-13 overall, ranked 11th most improved program in the nation, and 11-5 in league to place third. Preseason Polls - The league’s preseason polls both have the Bobcats pegged to place third in this year’s Big Sky race.
A Quick Look at the Boise State-Montana State Series
Friday’s contest renews an old rivalry between these former conference opponents and a series that Montana State holds a slime lead in all-time 26-23. The two programs were once members of the old Northwest Women’s Basketball League (1977-82), followed by the Mountain West Athletic Conference (1982-88), and then the Big Sky Conference (1988-96). Boise State left the Big Sky in the summer of 1996 for the Big West Conference ending the league affiliation between the two programs. The two schools did not play each other again until the 2005 game in Bozeman when the Broncos won 66-52, both Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell and Montana State head coach Tricia Binford were in their first years at the respective schools.
► Game 9 at Montana - Sunday (12/7/08)
Boise State will conclude its road trip to the state of Montana Sunday afternoon at Missoula against the University of Montana, tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (Mountain) in Dahlberg Arena. The Lady Griz are off to a 4-2 start and are coming off a eight-point, 60-52, win at Oregon Thursday night in Corvallis, Ore. Prior to that they played in a tournament at Cancun, Mexico where they defeated Illinois 59-57 in overtime then lost two straight versus Maryland (71-58) and South Dakota State (64-59).
A Quick Look at Montana
The Lady Griz are charter members (1962) of the Big Sky Conference. As a Team - Entering Sunday’s game, Montana averages 60.3 points per game while allowing 57.3. Who to Watch - Montana is led by two players averaging double-figure points in Mandy Morales at 16.2 points per game followed by Sonya Rogers at 10.5 ppg. Britney Lohman leads on the glass with a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game. What’s Back From Last Year - Montana returns four starters and nine letterwinners from last year’s Big Sky championship squad that went 25-7 overall and 13-3 in league. Preseason Polls - The league’s preseason polls both picked the Lady Griz to repeat as champions in this year’s conference race.
A Quick Look at the Boise State-Montana Series
Montana has dominated this series leading 37-14 all-time. Sunday’s contest renews the old rivalry between these former conference opponents. The two programs were once members of the old Northwest Women’s Basketball League (1977-82), followed by the Mountain West Athletic Conference (1982-88), and then the Big Sky Conference (1988-96). Boise State left the Big Sky in the summer of 1996 for the Big West Conference ending the league affiliation between the two programs. The two schools have played periodically since then with Boise State winning the most recent encounter last year on Nov. 11 in Boise by the score of 70-64.
Last Year’s Encounter
Last year Boise State was led by three players in double-figures, two with double-doubles. Tasha Harris scored a team-high 25 points followed by Jessica Thompson with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Rebecca Kepilino with 11 points and 10 boards. Montana was led by Mandy Morales with 28 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. The game was close throughout with the Broncos taking a seven-point lead into the break 33-26. Boise State held on for the victory matching each Montana rally with a run of its own to take the six-point 70-64 victory in Taco Bell Arena.
While Morales leads the Lady Griz this season, things have not gone so well for Boise State’s leaders from last year’s contest. Unfortunately for the Broncos, Harris and Thompson are out for the 2008-09 year while Kepilino has yet to play this season.