Boise State women set win record
With a 12-2 record and a Mountain West Conference win streak that has reached a program-record 13 games, it’s clear the Boise State women’s basketball team is playing well.
The Broncos are about to get even better.
Redshirt senior Marijke Vanderschaaf played her first game in more than a year, scoring six points in five minutes off the bench in the Broncos’ 99-68 victory over San Jose State on Saturday afternoon at Taco Bell Arena.
It was the 6-foot-3 post’s first game since Dec. 7, 2017, when she tore the ACL in her left knee just 30 seconds into a nonconference matchup against Washington.
“It was amazing. I was allowed five minutes, which was awesome that my team was able to get up so that I could play,” Vanderschaaf said. “But just to put my uniform on and be there in any capacity was awesome.”
After Vanderschaaf’s injury, the Broncos were forced to play the remainder of the 2017-18 season without a dominant true post on the interior, and they still managed to win both the Mountain West regular-season and tournament titles. If Vanderschaaf can quickly return to form, she’ll provide the perfect complement to the Broncos’ dangerous perimeter shooters.
“Right now, having Marijke’s gravy. Hopefully she can establish herself again,” Boise State women’s basketball coach Gordy Presnell said. “We’ll just see how her knee holds up. There’s a lot that goes on with that, but I’m really proud of Joyce, A’shanti and Rachel. They’re really doing a nice job.”
Senior Joyce Harrell and junior A’shanti Coleman — who are both a more natural fit at forward — and true freshman Rachel Bowers have stepped up in Vanderschaaf’s absence. All three are shooting better than 50 percent from the floor, making it a tight competition for playing time on a stacked roster.
“Whatever I’m allowed to get and however I can help the team is what I’m going to do,” Vanderschaaf said. “Whether that’s playing or on the bench
LLcoaching, that’s going to be my role. And if it’s five minutes, 10 minutes, whatever. It’s going to be great.”
Against the Spartans (1-13, 0-3 MW), all 12 Broncos who logged minutes managed to score. Bowers led all scorers with 14 points, and Marta Hermida (13), Coleman (12) and Riley Lupfer (10) also reached double figures. Hermida moved into 16th on Boise State’s all-time scoring list with 1,040 career points. She passes Kim Brydges, who had 1,038 from 1994 to 1998.
With the victory, Boise State also earns its first 3-0 start in Mountain West play.
“I feel good about where we’re at,” Presnell said. “We’ve just got to keep on going.”
Up next for the Broncos (12-2, 3-0 MW) is a rematch of last year’s Mountain West championship game against Nevada. Boise State edged the Wolf Pack 62-60 for the title on Coleman’s buzzer beater after the two teams split their regular-season meetings last season.
Boise State plays at Nevada at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Reno. The game will air on Watchstadium.com and 1350 AM.
“I think they’ll be up for it. I would if I was them,” Presnell said. “They were just 10 seconds away from getting to go to the NCAA Tournament, so I know their kids will be fired up.”
MEN: BOISE STATE 87, SAN JOSE STATE 64
The Boise State men’s basketball team won its third straight Mountain West Conference game by double digits, this time hitting a season-high 15 3-pointers to take down San Jose State 87-64 on Saturday at the Event Center in San Jose, California.
Junior guards Pat Dembley and Alex Hobbs led the way with four 3-pointers and 18 points apiece. It was a career-high mark for Dembley, who joined the Broncos this season as a junior college transfer from Iowa Western.
“I was really, really pleased with the growth that Pat Dembley showed tonight,” Boise State coach Leon Rice told Bob Behler in a radio interview on 670 AM.
“... Tonight he slowed down and he was strong with the ball. Then the best thing was he reeled himself in when he got bored with the simple plays.”
In addition to his 18 points in 21 minutes, Dembley contributed three rebounds, two assists and two steals to give Boise State a 3-0 start in league play for the fourth year in a row. The three consecutive wins also is a season-high.
Redshirt sophomore Derrick Alston and junior Justinian Jessup each connected for three triples, totaling 11 and 17 points, respectively. Senior Zach Haney chipped in 11 points to put five Boise State players in double figures.
“We’re taking a lot of pride in our defense, and our rebounding is always a big deal. But I also take a lot of pride in our offense,” Rice said. “It’s hard to watch teams that can’t score, and it’s hard to coach teams that can’t score. But we can score, and we’re showing that now. We’re getting better and better at it.”
The Broncos own a share of first place heading into a two-game homestand against two of the best teams in the Mountain West. Boise State has just two days to prepare for No. 10 Nevada, which plays at Taco Bell Arena at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Then the Broncos host Fresno State at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19.
“We’ve got to come out playing extremely hard. We’ve got to play extremely smart, and we’ve got to execute everything,” Dembley said. “There’s going to be mistakes, and we’ve just got to focus on the next play. We can’t dwell on nothing.”
The Wolf Pack swept the Broncos last season to win the conference’s regular-season title. In both games, the Broncos had their chances to win but went cold in the final few minutes.
“They’ve got tough kids who know how to win games,” Rice said.
“We’ve just got to go out and compete our tails off and let the chips fall.” Rachel Roberts: 208-377-6422, @Byrachelroberts
Boise State forward Joyce Harrell goes up for a shot against San Jose State’s Alexis Harris in Boise. With the victory Saturday, the women’s team reached a program-record 13 straight conference wins.
Boise State forward A’shanti Coleman scores against San Jose State’s Alexis Harris. Coleman finished with 12 points.
Kansas City wide receiver Tyreek Hill scores a touchdown past Indianapolis Colts safety Clayton Geathers during the first half Saturday.
Marcus Dickinson had 3 points and three assists in Boise State’s 87-64 victory over San Jose State on Saturday.