The Boise State women's basketball team defeated Idaho in the 56th meeting between the two schools yesterday afternoon 67-54 in front of 1,053 fans in Taco Bell Arena. Coach Gordy Presnell's Broncos (12-8 overall, 4-4 in the Western Athletic Conference) were led by Nadia Begay, who poured in 19 points despite being injured. Begay burned the Vandals time and time again from long range, hitting 5 of 9 treys including four in the first half. Jackie Lee had 16 points while Michelle Hessing added 11 and had a game-high nine rebounds. Hessing's nine points in the second half enabled Boise State to hold off Vandal charges. Lee also added seven assists and eight rebounds to her stats.
The game was a battle between the two teams tied for fourth place in the WAC, and it was well worth the price of admission. The Vandals exploded out of the gate to grab a 7-0 lead and stretched that lead to 12 before a 15-point run by Boise State gave the Broncos the lead at 26-23. The game was close the rest of the way until desperation shots by Idaho enabled the Broncos to stretch the lead down the stretch. Boise State now holds at 31-25 series advantage in the rivalry. Boise State's 12 season wins are the most since the 2000 season.
Boise State's aggressive defense (20th in the nation in field goal percentage defense) suffocated Idaho's two scoring stars, Emily Faurholt and Lellani Mitchell. Faurholt came into the game 25th in the country in scoring at 19 points a game, and scored 14 but was 2-10 from 3-point range. Mitchell, averaging 18.5 on the season, managed just nine against the stout Bronco defense. Idaho fell to a tie for 5th in the WAC with a 3-4 league mark and 7-11 overall. Boise State, which again commanded a strong advantage on the glass (40-21), iced the game with 88 percent free-throw shooting (14-16), including several in the game's final five minutes.
Boise State has now played its way into the conference race, but faces a mountain Wednesday night. The Broncos host San Jose State, a team the Broncos just lost to on the road last week. The Spartan women are 4-1 in conference and sit ahead of Boise State in the league standings. The game is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday night in Taco Bell Arena.