► What’s Happening
This weekend has Boise State University (5-5) traveling to Los Angeles for a one-game road trip to play at Loyola Marymount University (7-1) on Sunday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (Mountain) in Gersten Pavilion on the LMU campus. Sunday’s encounter is the return match between Boise State and Loyola Marymount following the Broncos’ 71-67 victory over the Lions in the season opener last year at Boise. The contest is also the first of three-straight games versus members of the West Coast Conference. The Broncos will play at Santa Clara University (1-8) next Saturday, Dec.20, followed by a home game Dec. 22 against Saint Mary’s College (1-8). Boise State went 1-2 versus these three schools last year, defeating LMU in Boise before dropping a pair of road games against the other two.
► The Record
The Broncos enter the week at 5-5 overall and are coming off a 65-58 home win over instate-rival Idaho State University Wednesday night. Boise State has won three of its last four games defeating Southern Utah University by 14, 74-60, in Boise on Dec. 1, followed by a 70-65 road victory at Montana State University Dec. 5, a 72-51 road loss at the University of Montana last Sunday, Dec. 7, and most recently Wednesday’s win over ISU.
► Injuries Make Impact on 2008-09 Campaign
Injuries to key players have thrown the two-time defending WAC champions into a period of adversity leaving the Broncos searching for a new identity in 2008-09. Boise State is now without the services of three starters. The first hit came before the season began when three-year starter senior Jessica Thompson had offseason surgery which has forced her to redshirt this season. The second hit came in the third game against Washington State when Tasha Harris, a four-year starter at the point and last year’s WAC leader in scoring, suffered a season and perhaps career ending injury. Both Thompson and Harris have scored over 1,200 career points and were All-WAC honorees last season, Harris was this year’s media selection for WAC Preseason Player of the Year. The third player out for the year is junior center Ja'Lara Walker who is out with a recurring knee injury. Her last action was against Utah Valley Nov. 29. The trio has a combined 200 starts: 97 by Harris, 83 by Thompson and 20 by Walker.
► Kepilino Returns to Active Roster
On a positive note, Boise State has Rebecca Kepilino back on a limited basis. She was a starter last year at power forward before suffering a season ending injury. Kepilino was a projected starter coming into this season but has struggled with her recovery. She saw her first action of the year at Montana playing nine minutes, she has now played in two games entering this weekend’s contest.
► New Look Broncos
The Broncos had eight returning letterwinners from last year’s championship squad entering the 2008-09 campaign. Injuries have since sidelined several entering this week’s games. At this time Boise State has four of those veterans available to them. The team currently has one active starter back from last year in senior Jenna Galassi who moved into that role following the injury to Kepilino early in the 2007-08 campaign. Joining her now in the starting lineup are three players who competed last year and one redshirt. Seniors Jamia Malone and Brittany Moore who played last year as reserve guards now find themselves in starting roles. Sophomore post Sierra Moeller, a reserve forward last season, has moved into the starting role at center following the loss of Walker. Meanwhile redshirt-transfer Janie Bos is the starting power forward. Entering this week they have a combined 81 starts at Boise State with Galassi accounting for 50.
► Looking at Boise State as a Team
Under head coach Gordy Presnell, Boise State has become a program that is at its best pushing the ball up the floor in a high paced contest. However, injuries have slowed that pace a bit in 2008-09. Offensively, the Broncos average 64.6 points per game while shooting 37.5 percent from the floor, 24.4 percent from the 3-point arc, and 63.3 percent from the free-throw line. Defensively, Boise State has allowed 66.4 points per game while opponents have shot 39.6 percent from the floor and 27.9 percent from the 3-point line. On the glass Boise State is nearly even with the opposition 40.7 to 41 (opponents) rebounds per game, -0.3 in rebound margin.
► Who to Watch for Boise State
The Broncos are currently led by a trio of underclassmen ranked in the top four for scoring on the team. Sophomore forward Marisa Stotler who leads the team coming in off the bench to average team-highs in scoring and rebounding at 11.1 points and 6.5 boards per game. She is followed by freshman guard Heather Pilcher at 8.6 points, 1.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. Meanwhile, senior point guard Jamia Malone ranks third in scoring at 6.5 points per game to go with 2.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.6 steals. Freshman Courtney VanBrocklin is fourth adding 6.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.
Looking at Game 11
► The Game Boise State at Loyola Marymount - Sunday (12/14/08)
Boise State travels to Los Angeles, Calif. for one game at Loyola Marymount Sunday afternoon. Tipoff with the Lions is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. (Mountain) in Gersten Pavilion on the campus of LMU. This is the first of three-consecutive contests against members of the West Coast Conference.
► A Quick Look at the Series
Sunday’s game with the Lions will be the fourth in the all-time series in which Boise State leads 3-0. This is a return game following the Broncos’ 71-67 victory over LMU in last year’s season opener at Boise.
► The Last Time They Met
BOISE, Idaho (11/9/2007) - Boise State opened the season with a hard fought 71-67 victory over Loyola Marymount. Junior point guard Tasha Harris led four Broncos in double figure scoring with 17 points. Boise State struggled early on but rallied from 10 points down midway through the first half to take an 11 point lead twice in the second period before settling on the four-point victory.
Boise State ended the game shooting 37.1 percent from the floor, 42.9 percent from beyond the arc, and struggled from the foul line hitting 55.6 percent. Loyola Marymount countered with 46.6 percent shooting from the court, 33.3 percent from three-point range, and 69.2 percent from the charity stripe.
► About Loyola Marymount
What’s Happened So Far - LMU enters the week at 7-1 overall and took this past week off for finals. They have won six straight most recently defeating Cal Poly on the road 86-77 Dec. 3, followed by a 84-68 home victory over UNLV their last time out on Dec. 6. The Lions lone loss of the year was to Arizona 93-88 in triple-overtime at Hawaii on Nov. 15. They have seven common opponents with Boise State, the Arizona loss and a win over Idaho State (69-55). They will play three other WAC members including a win over Hawaii on the road 63-47 to open the season, Fresno State next Thursday, and San Jose State on Dec. 28. The Broncos will played LMU’s conference rivals Santa Clara and Saint Mary’s in the next eight days.
What’s Back From Last Year - Loyola Marymount returns three starters and nine letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 15-15 overall and 7-7 in league to tie for fourth place.
Conference Preseason Poll - The league’s coaches picked the Lions to battle Gonzaga for the West Coast Conference title before settling on second place out of eight teams.
As a Team - Entering Sunday’s game Loyola Marymount averages a WCC high 76.0 points per game while allowing 65.8 (WCC 6th). They have shot 39.9 percent from the court, 32.5 percent from the arc, and 769.9 percent from the foul line.
Who to Watch - Renahy Young leads LMU in scoring at 17.6 points per game to go with 3.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists, followed by Lisa Helmers at 12.0 ppg and 3.6 rpg., Cassady Moore at 11.4 ppg, and Alex Cowling at 10.9 ppg.