Boise State Vs. Louisiana Tech Tonight!

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.

 

Boise State 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 from Ruston.

 

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.


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