► What’s Happening
This weekend has Boise State University (5-6) traveling to northern California for a one-game road trip to play at Santa Clara University (1-9) in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. (Mountain) in the Leavey Center on the SCU campus. The contest is the second of three-straight games versus members of the West Coast Conference. The Broncos will return to Boise Saturday night following the game to prepare for Monday’s, Dec. 22, home game against Saint Mary’s College (1-9) at 7:00 p.m. (Mountain) in Taco Bell Arena. Boise State went 0-2 versus these two schools last year dropping a pair of road games. The Saint Mary’s contest Monday will conclude Boise State’s pre-Christmas schedule.
► The Record
The Broncos enter the week at 5-6 overall and are coming off a tough 72-68 road loss at Loyola Marymount University last Sunday in Los Angeles. Prior to that they won 65-58 at home over instate-rival Idaho State University on Dec.10. Boise State has won three of its last five games defeating Southern Utah University 74-60 in Boise on Dec. 1, a 70-65 road victory at Montana State University Dec. 5, a 72-51 road loss at the University of Montana Dec. 7, and most recently the home win over Idaho State followed by the loss at LMU.
► 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.
► 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 weekend they have a combined 86 starts at Boise State with Galassi accounting for 51.
► 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 impacted that a bit in 2008-09. Offensively, the Broncos average 64.9 points per game while shooting 37.9 percent from the floor, 24.7 percent from the 3-point arc, and 63.6 percent from the free-throw line. Defensively, Boise State has allowed 66.9 points per game while opponents have shot 39 percent from the floor and 27.5 percent from the 3-point line. On the glass, Boise State is out rebounded by an average of 1.2 per game, 40.7 to 41.9 (opponents) rebounds.
► 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 averages team-highs in scoring and rebounding at 10.6 points and 6.4 boards per game. She is followed by freshman guard Heather Pilcher at 8.6 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. Meanwhile, senior point guard Jamia Malone ranks third in scoring at 6.6 points per game to go with 2.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.5 steals. Freshman Courtney VanBrocklin is fourth adding 6.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.
Looking at Game 12
► The Game Boise State at Santa Clara - Saturday (12/20/08)
Boise State travels to Santa Clara, Calif., for one game at Santa Clara Saturday afternoon. Tipoff with the SCU Broncos is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. (Mountain) in the Leavey Center. This is the third of four contests for Boise State against members of the West Coast Conference this fall. They have gone 1-1 to date defeating Portland in Boise 68-59 and losing last Sunday at Loyola Marymount 72-68.
► A Quick Look at the Series
Saturday’s game with Santa Clara will be the sixth in the all-time series in which SCU leads 4-1. Boise State lost 73-51 last season to Santa Clara on the road. Boise State’s lone win in the series came on Dec. 11,1994 in Boise by the score of 62-42. This is the first game of a new home-and-home series between the two schools, Santa Clara will travel to Boise next year.
► The Last Time They Met
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (11/17/2007) - Santa Clara won the game from the perimeter out scoring Boise State 30-9 from 3-point range hitting 50 percent 10-of-20 from distance. Boise State struggled with their shoots throughout the game hitting 29.7 percent (19-64) from the floor and 15 percent (3-20) from three-point range. Meanwhile, Santa Clara hit 44.4 percent from the floor during the contest.
The second half was just one of those periods where everything went from bad to worse for the Blue and Orange Broncos. Santa Clara lit up the scoreboard by out scoring Boise State 42-19 in the final 20 minutes. SCU hit seven of 10 three-pointers, shot 48.3 percent (14-29) from the floor, and did not miss a free throw (7-7) in the second period.
Tasha Harris led Boise State with a team-high 14 points followed by Jessica Thompson with 13. Santa Clara was led by Jen Gottschalk with 28 points followed by Elizabeth Doran with 18.
► About Santa CLara
What’s Happened So Far - Santa Clara has struggled under first-year head coach Jennifer Mountain entering the weekend at 1-9 overall. They will host WAC member Nevada on Thursday night before their encounter with Boise State on Saturday. SCU has been on the road for eight of their 10 games so far and has lost four straight heading into this week. The recent streak began with a 60-44 loss at Miami, followed by a 62-54 defeat at UC Davis, a 73-65 loss at CSU Bakersfield, and lastly a 73-53 loss at Utah on Dec. 13. Their lone victory was 52-48 at Chicago State Nov. 28. Former Boise State assistant coach J.R. Payne is now a member of the SCU staff.
What’s Back From Last Year - Santa Clara returns two starters and six letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 20-11 overall and 8-6 in league to place second.
Conference Preseason Poll - The league’s coaches picked the Broncos to place fifth out of eight teams in this year’s WCC race.
As a Team - Entering Saturday’s game Santa Clara averages a 52.4 points per game while allowing 65.1. They have shot 37.7 percent from the court, 27.7 percent from the arc, and 67.4 percent from the foul line.
Who to Watch - Lena Gipson leads SCU in scoring at 12.96 points per game to go with a tea-high 10.8 rebounds. Elizabeth Doran is second in scoring at 10.5 ppg and 2.9 rpg.