► What’s Happening
Boise State University (7-6) concludes its nonconference schedule Monday, Dec. 29, with a home game against the University of Arizona (6-4). The Broncos will host the Pacific-10 Conference’s Wildcats in the first game of a double-header with the men’s team on Monday night, tipoff for the women is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. (Mountain) in Taco Bell Arena. This is the final of three contests for the Broncos versus the Pac-10 this year going 0-2 against Washington State (85-76) and Washington (74-51). The men will host Eastern Washington University following the women’s contest.
► The Broncos’ Record
The Broncos enter the week at 7-6 overall and winners of two in a row and five of their last seven contests. They finished their pre-Christmas schedule with a 57-51 road win at Santa Clara University on Saturday, Dec. 20, followed by a 68-60 home victory over Saint Mary’s College on Monday, Dec. 22.
► 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 90 starts at Boise State with Galassi accounting for 53.
► 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 up-tempo contest. However, injuries have impacted that tempo preference a bit in 2008-09. Offensively, the Broncos are averaging 64.5 points per game while shooting 37.5 percent from the floor, 26 percent from the 3-point arc, and 63.7 percent from the free-throw line. Defensively, Boise State has allowed 65.2 points per game while opponents have shot 38.3 percent from the floor and 26.3 percent from the 3-point line. On the glass, Boise State is out rebounded by an average of 1.3 per game, 41.3 to 42.6 (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 10.2 points and 6.6 boards per game. She is followed by freshman guard Heather Pilcher at 9.2 points and 1.6 rebounds. Meanwhile, senior guard Brittany Moore ranks third in scoring at 8.2 points per game to go with 2.0 rebounds. Freshman Courtney VanBrocklin is fourth adding 7.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists per game.
Looking at Game 14
► The Game Arizona at Boise State - Monday (12/29/08)
Arizona (6-4) invades Taco Bell Arena Monday night, Dec. 29, in Boise State’s final nonconference game, tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. (Mountain). The encounter is the return game of a home-and-home series that saw Boise State travel to Tucson last year losing 62-61 on a buzzer beater.
► A Quick Look at the Series
Monday’s game with the Wildcats will be the second meeting in the all-time series in which Arizona leads 1-0. Boise State lost 62-61 on a buzzer beater last season in Tucson.
► Boise State Versus the Pac-10
This will be the third and final game for Boise State against members of the Pacific-10 Conference this year. To date the Broncos have gone 0-2 this year versus the Pac-10 with losses to Washington State (85-76) in Boise and at Washington (74-51). Boise State is 3-3 against the Pac-10 since coach Presnell arrived in 2005. The Broncos are 34-63 all-time versus schools currently affiliated with that league.
► The Last Time They Met
Tucson, Ariz. (12/12/2007) - Boise State lost 62-61 at Arizona on a buzzer beater in Tucson, Ariz. The Broncos led for most of the game before the Wildcats rallied to win in the closing seconds.
The first half was one of runs as Boise State claimed a six-point halftime advantage, 33-27. The game turned into a chess match in the second half as the Wildcats kept the game in reach. By the 14:28 mark the contest the lead would remain within four-points until the final buzzer. Boise State kept the lead until 10:47 was showing on the clock when Arizona’s Ashley Whisonant hit a rare Wildcat 3-pointer to give the U of A a one point, 48-47, lead.
The two teams traded five leads over the next 10 minutes to setup the final seconds of the game.
Following a Boise State turnover, with 9.9 seconds to play and the Broncos up one, 61-60. Lee stole the Wildcats inbound pass along the baseline. As she gained control of the ball in the right corner she tried to call a timeout but was denied by the officials and was called for stepping on the baseline instead, giving the ball back to Arizona.
On the next possession Arizona was able to get the ball inbounded to Whisonant who race the length of the floor. She drove the left wing into the post where she missed a layup with one second showing on the clock. Ify Ibekwe rebounded the ball then put it up off the glass and into the net as the buzzer sounded giving the Wildcats the one point victory over the Broncos.
► About Arizona
What’s Happened So Far - The Wildcats enter the Boise State encounter at 6-4 overall and winners of three-straight. The three-game win streak came at home in Tucson with victories over San Diego (66-58), Long Beach State (56-47), and most recently a 53-48 win over UC Riverside on Dec. 17.
What’s Back From Last Year - Arizona is in its first year under the direction of head coach Niya Butts. The Wildcats returned four starters and five letterwinners from last year’s squad that went 10-20 overall and 4-14 in Pac-10 play to finish tied for eighth place.
Conference Preseason Polls - The league’s coaches picked the Wildcats to place 10th in this year’s Pac-10 race, while the media pegged them ninth.
As a Team - Entering Monday’s game Arizona is even in scoring margin averaging a 60.1 points per game while allowing 60.1 ppg. They have shot 38.9 percent from the court, 20.2 percent from the arc, and 73.7 percent from the foul line.
Who to Watch - The Wildcats have three players averaging double-figure points led by Ify Ibekwe with team-highs for scoring and rebounding at 14.4 ppg and 11.9 rpg. She is followed by Reiko Thomas at 11.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, while Amina Njonkou adds 11.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.