If you make a winning shot in the basketball game of "Horse", it's commendable but your opponent will often ask you to "prove it". That's the situation the Boise State women's basketball team finds itself in. After an impressive win in Ruston over traditional power Louisiana Tech, the Lady Broncos are in first place in the WAC. Tonight, the Broncos must "prove it" vs. Tech in Taco Bell Arena.
The Boise State
women's basketball program has waited a long time for a showdown like the one
tonight at Taco Bell Arena. For the last
game that was as significant, you'd have to go back to the Big Sky Conference
days, when the Broncos were making a move at nationally-ranked Montana
and hosted the Grizzlies. Over 10,000
fans attended that game in Boise. Boise
State lost that game, and never
challenged Montana after that.
Tonight's showdown between the Broncos and Louisiana Tech
has been building for a while. Two years
ago, Boise State
upset the Lady Techsters in Boise
in what at the time was the biggest win in school history. Last year, Idaho
native Gordy Presnell was hired to lead the Bronco women's basketball
team. Presnell's Seattle Pacific teams went
233-33 in his 18-year tenure there, with seven conference championships and six
appearances in the Division II Sweet 16.
This year, the Broncos boldly went into Ruston
and did what no other conference team could do in 14 years—win. Boise
State sent shock waves around the
conference and elsewhere with a resounding 69-47 domination of Tech. The historic victory snapped a conference
home winning streak of 114 games and marked only the third time that Louisiana
Tech has ever lost a home conference game. The Bronco win also ended a 44-game overall
home winning streak for the Lady Bulldogs.
Coach Presnell's team has not looked back since, rolling off
nine consecutive wins and 14 in their last 15 games to open up a two-game lead
on both Louisiana Tech and Nevada
in the WAC race. The Broncos have advanced their season mark
to 17-4 and are ranked #44 in the nation.
Tech is 6-2 in league, 11-10 overall.
leads the WAC in scoring at 70 points per game;
Tech is third with 64.9 points a game.
The Broncos top the league in scoring defense allowing a stingy 59.6,
Tech is second at 61 points per contest.
Louisiana Tech has a strong inside defense, forcing opponents to shoot
from longer range. That generally
befuddles Tech opponents, as they are hitting just 37.4 percent from the field
(#1 in the WAC). Coach Presnell's Boise
State team, however, is #1 in field
goal percentage this year. Clearly, if
the Broncos are able to play their game, they will make it tough on the team
Tech leads the league in three-point percentage at 32.3% and
rebounding at 42.3 rebounds per game. If
the game comes down to free throws, the Lady Techsters are last in the league,
hitting just 62.8% as a team from the charity stripe.
Ty Moore tops Tech in scoring and rebounding at 12.1 points
and 9.1 rebounds per game. The Lady
Bulldogs have a strong tradition of crashing the glass, and Amber Metoyer will
also be looking to capitalize on Bronco mistakes. Metoyer averages 6.3 rebounds a game. JoKeirra Sneed is also a force inside, with
8.4 points and 4.9 rebounds a game.
Tonight's game features the top two three-point shooters in
the conference, Tech's Shan Moore and Boise State's Jessica Thompson, both
averaging over 38 percent from beyond the line.
Eboni Mangum is the other starter at guard for Louisiana Tech. Tamika Kursch, Sierra Nixon and April
Williams are also expected to see considerable playing time.
Jessica Thompson is fourth in the league in scoring at 17.9
points per game, but she has lots of help.
Senior center Michelle Hessing is averaging 11.7, but coming off a
career-high 25 points in the win over New Mexico
State. Tasha Harris averages 9.4 and averages 2.5
assists. Rebecca Kepileno, Nadia Begay
and Jackie Lee are all over seven points a game. Kepileno is the Broncos' leading rebounder at
5.9 per game. Lee is an expert
long-range bomber, hitting 26 of 74 attempts from the three-point line. Begay is money from the charity stripe,
nailing over 92 percent of her attempts there.
Jackie Thompson leads the team with a 63% mark from the field.
The Lady Broncos can control their own destiny with a win
tonight over Louisiana Tech. No one has
swept Tech in over 15 years, so it would be a truly remarkable feat. Tipoff between the Broncos and Bulldogs is
tonight at 7 in Taco Bell Arena.
Admission to the showdown is $1.