► What’s Happening
Boise State University (6-6) concludes its pre-Christmas schedule Monday night, Dec. 22, with the first of two home games to wrap-up the nonconference portion of the schedule. Up first is Saint Mary’s College (3-9) at 7:00 p.m. (Mountain) Monday in Taco Bell Arena. The Gaels are members of the West Coast Conference and are the fourth and final WCC school the Broncos will play this year having gone 2-1 against that league so far this year. Boise State will wrap-up its nonconference slate on Monday, Dec. 29, following a short Christmas break. The Broncos will host the University of Arizona Wildcats that night in the first game of a double-header with the men’s team, tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. (Mountain) in Taco Bell Arena. The men will host Eastern Washington University following the women’s contest.
► The Broncos’ Record
The Broncos enter the week at 6-6 overall and are coming off a hard fought 57-51 road win at Santa Clara University this past Saturday afternoon. Boise State has now won four of its last six games as they continue to regroup following a rash of injuries. Prior to the Santa Clara victory, the Broncos lost 72-68 at Loyola Marymount University (8-1 at the time) on Sunday, Dec.14, in Los Angeles. The Broncos completed finals in between the last two games.
► New Look Broncos
The Broncos had eight returning letterwinners from last year’s championship squad entering the 2008-09 campaign. However, injuries have since sidelined several Broncos including four players who were projected starters prior to the start of the season. At this time Boise State has four of the eight returning veterans available to them.
The team currently has one active starter back from last year in senior Jenna Galassi who started at power forward in 2007-08, she starts at small forward this season. Joining her now in the starting lineup are two players who competed last year and two redshirt sophomores. Seniors Jamia Malone and Brittany Moore who played last season as reserve guards now find themselves in starting roles. Meanwhile, redshirt-transfers Janie Bos and Marisa Stotler are now the starting power forward and center respectively. Entering this weekend the five have a combined 86 starts at Boise State with Galassi accounting for 52.
► 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 are averaging 64.2 points per game while shooting 37.9 percent from the floor, 23.8 percent from the 3-point arc, and 63.1 percent from the free-throw line. Defensively, Boise State has allowed 65.6 points per game while opponents have shot 38.6 percent from the floor and 26.6 percent from the 3-point line. On the glass, Boise State is out rebounded by an average of 1.1 per game, 40.8 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 leads the team averaging team-highs in scoring and rebounding at 10.6 points and 6.5 boards per game. She is followed by freshman guard Heather Pilcher at 8.6 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. Meanwhile, senior guard Brittany Moore ranks third in scoring at 7.2 points per game to go with 1.8 rebounds. Freshman Courtney VanBrocklin is fourth adding 6.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.
Looking at Game 13
► The Game Saint Mary’s at Boise State - Monday (12/22/08)
Saint Mary’s College (3-9) of California invades Taco Bell Arena Monday night, Dec. 22, in Boise State’s final game before Christmas, tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (Mountain). This is the fourth and final West Coast Conference team that Boise State will face this season having gone 2-1 in the previous three contests. This is the return game following Boise State’s trip to Saint Mary’s last season when the Gaels defeated the Broncos 78-63 in Moraga, Calif. This will be Saint Mary’s fourth game in seven days.
► A Quick Look at the Series
Monday’s game with Saint Mary’s will be the sixth in the all-time series in which the Gaels have won three straight and hold a slight 3-2 lead in the series. Boise State lost 78-63 last season to Saint Mary’s on the road. Boise State’s last win in the series came on Jan. 9,1994 in Boise by the score of 75-53.
► The Last Time They Met
Moraga, Calif. (11/24/2007) - Boise State traveled to Saint Mary’s last year to participate the Gaels’ Thanksgiving tournament. SMC defeated Boise State 78-63 in the championship game of the Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Classic. The first half was a battle as the two teams traded leads before settling for a 35 all tie going into the break.
In the second half Saint Mary’s forced the game into the paint hitting several layups and second chance shots to seized control of the contest. With 10:24 remaining Serena Benavente hit a jumper to give Saint Mary’s the lead for good at 50-49.
By the time the final buzzer sounded the Gaels had run off a 33-14 run to claim the victory.
On the day, Boise State shot 29.7 percent from the floor, 17.6 percent from three-point range, and 71 percent from the foul line. Saint Mary’s finished shooting 41.2 percent from the floor, 18.8 percent from beyond the arc, and 73.1 percent from the free throw line.
► About Saint Mary’s
What’s Happened So Far - The Gaels have played a challenging schedule having gone 3-9 to date. Some of their loses have been against solid programs including at Old Dominion (93-63), at Texas (110-76), at Nevada (99-91) at Minnesota (98-72). However, since opening 1-9 they have won two straight over Seattle 84-71 in Moraga and most recently 75-71 at Idaho State on Saturday.
What’s Back From Last Year - Saint Mary’s returns three starters and nine letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 15-17 overall and 6-8 in league to place fifth.
Conference Preseason Poll - The league’s coaches picked the Gaels to place fourth out of eight teams in this year’s WCC race.
As a Team - Entering Monday’s game Saint Mary’s averages a 71.9 points per game while allowing 84.2. They have shot 41.7 percent from the court, 44 percent from the arc, and 57.9 percent from the foul line.
Who to Watch - Two Gaels average double-figure points led by Louella Tomlinson with team-highs for scoring and rebounding at 13.6 points and 8.3 boards per game. She is followed by Maija Lahde in both categories recording 10.4 points and 6.2 rebounds.