Boise State women set win record

The Idaho Statesman (Sunday) - - SPORTS - BY RACHEL ROBERTS [email protected]­hostates­man.com

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

PHO­TOS BY DARIN OSWALD dosw[email protected]­hostates­man.com

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.

CHAR­LIE RIEDEL AP

Kansas City wide re­ceiver Tyreek Hill scores a touch­down past In­di­anapo­lis Colts safety Clay­ton Geathers dur­ing the first half Satur­day.

PETE CLARK Boise State Ath­let­ics

Mar­cus Dick­in­son had 3 points and three as­sists in Boise State’s 87-64 vic­tory over San Jose State on Satur­day.

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