Janie Bos's kiss off the glass with four seconds remaining propelled the Boise State women's basketball team to a vital 79-77 road win in overtime over New Mexico State last night. The never-say-die Lady Broncos fought from behind most of the game to pull out the road breakthrough.
Boise State's trademark long-range bombing (five of six on three-pointers) turned on them (no field goals for last 6:17 of the first half) and the Aggies pulled out to a 37-27 lead at the break. A Tyshae Walton three-pointer to open the second half extended the lead to a game-high 13. Down but not out, Coach Gordy Presnell's team of heart went on an 18-5 run to finally catch the home team at 45 only to see the Aggies put together a 12-1 run of their own. Down 57-46 with seven minutes remaining and absent several of its stars due to season-ending injuries, a game Bronco effort might fall shy.
But this Bronco team is one of extreme character. In the final seven minutes, Boise State outpointed New Mexico State 18-7. Sophomore Marisa Stotler poured in the final eight including a game-tying shot with 32 seconds remaining to tie the score at 64.
Once again, the Aggies assumed control, taking two three-point leads in overtime. Refusing to be denied, the Lady Broncos scored seven in a row to take a 76-72 lead with 42 seconds remaining. But Madison Spence's three-pointer and two free throws tied the game once again at 77.
The Broncos got the ball past the time line and Presnell called a timeout with six seconds left. Melissa Rima found Bos open for the game-winner. A last-second shot by Danisha Corbett hit the rim as the buzzer sounded and the Broncos celebrated what they knew was a huge win for them.
Bos notched her third double-double of the season with 12 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Melissa Rima recorded her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jamia Malone hit a career high 19 points to pace the Broncos in scoring and added five assists. Brittany Moore contributed 12 points and Stotler ended with 10.
New Mexico State was led by three players in double-figure points. Both Danisha Corbett and Madison Spence recorded 22 points and four rebounds, while Spence added a team-best five assists. Tyshae Walton had 11 first half points before finishing with 14.
This Boise State team has not been without poor performances but if Coach Presnell can build off of this game and defend the Broncos' Western Athletic Conference title, it would easily be his best coaching performance at Boise State. Offseason surgery to star guard Jessica Thompson (#7 in career scoring at Boise State) forced her to sit out the season and redshirt. Senior Tasha Harris (The WAC's Preseason Player of the Year) had hoped to cap her brilliant Bronco career with a second successive WAC title, only to go down with a season-ending injury in the third game of the season against Washington State. Dominating post player Ja'Lara Walker was injured after just six games and has not returned. Rima was hurt in the Montana game following a blow to the head. Star Rebecca Kepilino didn't even play until the Montana contest in game nine but has not been up to form following her injury. Kepilino is averaging just two points and 2.5 rebounds this year after a solid six-point, 6.5-rebound per game effort last year. Sierra Moeller is out. The only returning starter from last year's championship team still in action (Jenna Galassi), who averaged 7.5 points and 4 rebounds last season, has slipped to four points and 2.9 rebounds a game.
So just the fact that the Lady Broncos are over .500 for the season is a testament not only to Presnell's coaching but his top-notch recruiting since he came to Boise. Without a bevy of talent waiting in the wings, Boise State would be nowhere near where they are at this point in the season.
Unlike the dominating performances of Harris, Thompson, Jackie Lee and Amanda Stewart on last year's WAC Championship team, this season has seen a more balanced approach by necessity, with each player occasionally exploding for a career high. Rima's effort in last night's win is an example--she came in averaging 3.8 and proceeds to pour in 19. Heather Pilcher is averaging nine a game and Courtney VanBrocklin seven but the duo led Boise State past Hawai'i while hitting 16 and 15 respectively.
Even with the injuries to four starters and the disappointments that come along in their absences, Presnell has the Broncos playing good team ball and improving. A regular season title is a tall mountain to climb, but this group will be scary good by tournament time and would be the kind of team that every opposing coach hates to play in the postseason. With young but talented players and Presnell's savvy coaching experience, you can't count out this team.
The Bronco win, coupled with Fresno State's 63-60 upset of front-runner Nevada (13-8, 7-1 in the WAC) enabled them to stay alive in the conference race. The Lady Broncos are now 5-3 in league play and 12-10 overall, good for a three-way tie in the WAC with Louisiana Tech and Idaho. New Mexico State drops to 2-6 and 6-16 overall.
Boise State has another tough game tomorrow afternoon in Ruston, taking on the tradition-rich Lady Techsters, who defeated Idaho last night 70-60.
Game SummaryBoise State vs. New Mexico State
2/6/09 7:05 p.m. at Las Cruces, N.M. (Pan American Center)
BOISE STATE 79, NEW MEXICO STATE 77
BOISE STATE (12-10, 5-3 WAC)
Malone,Jamia 6-17 3-5 19; Bos,Janie 5-7 2-2 12; Moore,Brittany 3-10 3-4 12;
Rima,Melissa 3-7 2-4 10; Stotler,Marisa 3-8 4-4 10; Galassi,Jenna 2-12 3-4
7; Pilcher,Heather 2-5 0-2 5; VanBrocklin,Courtney 2-6 0-0 4;
Kepilino,Rebecca 0-0 0-0 0; Sanders,Ainsleigh 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-73 17-25
NEW MEXICO STATE (6-16, 2-6 WAC)
Spence, Madison 7-15 7-8 22; Corbett, Danisha 6-16 5-6 22; Walton, Tyshae
6-10 1-2 14; Wampler, Tabytha 3-3 2-4 8; Holt, Niki 2-4 0-0 4; Soto, Kaitlyn
1-7 1-2 3; Palmer, Brittany 0-1 2-2 2; Sanchez, Erica 1-1 0-0 2; Rozendaal,
Kelsie 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-58 18-24 77.
Boise State................... 27 37 15 - 79
New Mexico State.............. 37 27 13 - 77
3-point goals--Boise State 10-24 (Malone,Jamia 4-12; Moore,Brittany 3-6;
Rima,Melissa 2-3; Pilcher,Heather 1-2; VanBrocklin,Courtney 0-1), New Mexico
State 7-20 (Corbett, Danisha 5-11; Walton, Tyshae 1-1; Spence, Madison 1-7;
Soto, Kaitlyn 0-1). Fouled out--Boise State-Stotler,Marisa, New Mexico
State-Wampler, Tabytha; Holt, Niki. Rebounds--Boise State 46 (Bos,Janie 12),
New Mexico State 41 (Holt, Niki 8). Assists--Boise State 11 (Malone,Jamia
5), New Mexico State 15 (Spence, Madison 5). Total fouls--Boise State 23,
New Mexico State 20. Technical fouls--Boise State-None, New Mexico