Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

Basallo and Whitehead lead San Jose State in key conference win over Boise State, 74-61

Published on January 30, 2020


SAN JOSE, Calif. – With three players in double figures, the San Jose State Spartans (15-6, 9-1 MW) continued to prove preseason doubters wrong with a strong performance in taking down the Boise State Broncos 74-61 Wednesday night. The win broke a nine-game losing streak against the Broncos.

Coming into the season, the Spartans were in last place in the Mountain West preseason poll. Furthermore, no SJSU players made the cut for the MW preseason team. Now with conference play halfway done, the Spartans are firmly in second place in the league and sophomore guard Ayzhiana Basallo leads the MW in scoring (21.2 points per game) and free throw percentage (92.7%). Junior forward Tyra White, a transfer from Wake Forest, is the league’s rebounding leader at 10.2 caroms per contest.

“You know we got picked to finish last. We knew we weren’t the last place team,” SJSU head coach Jamie Craighead said postgame. “We’re putting ourselves in a place where we have a chance to do something really, really special and we’re just taking it one game at a time.”

The matchup against Boise State (14-8, 6-4) began with a frenetic pace as the teams raced up and down the court in a track meet. The frantic rhythm caused players to miss several baskets and commit turnovers.

The Broncos shot 36.8% from the floor in the first period, slightly better than 31.3% by the Spartans. After the first quarter, the visitors led 15-14 yet SJSU’s Basallo led all scorers with six.

The tide changed considerably in the second quarter as the Spartans outscored the Broncos 26-16. Basallo, Whitehead and junior guard Megan Anderson did the heavy lifting on the offensive end. Whitehead and her teammates also played effective defense shutting down Boise State’s leading scorer coming into the contest, junior center Mallory McGwire who averages 12.6 points per game plus 8.2 rebounds per contest. At the half when SJSU led by nine, 40-31, McGwire had just two points and four rebounds (she finished with four). Meanwhile, Basallo led everyone with 14 points.

Boise State started the third quarter on a high note with a three-pointer from senior guard Braydey Hodgins. SJSU answered right away and by the 7:31 mark had a double-digit lead, 46-36. The Broncos went on another short run to get within five of SJSU twice, but each time they seemed to gain momentum, Whitehead had an answer. As a result, the Spartans entered the fourth quarter with a 59-47 advantage. They outscored the Broncos 15-14 in the last period.

“That’s a solid win against a team that has been the leader of this conference for the last three years,” Craighead said. “We’ve had this one earmarked since we started working in July. I’m just really proud of my kids and their effort tonight. It was nice to have some breathing room at the end I’m not going to lie; I could breathe at the end and they took care of business.”

Basallo finished with a game-high 28 points plus five rebounds and four assists. Whitehead added 21 points and six rebounds. Anderson had a near double-double with 11 points and eight rebounds.

Senior forward A’shanti Coleman scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for a double-double. Senior guard Riley Lupfer added 11 points and four rebounds while sophomore guard Jade Loville earned 10 pouts plus four rebounds.

Boise State fell to fourth place in the league, with UNLV in third place. The Broncos are now on a two-game skid. They continue their road trip with a game at Nevada on Saturday, Feb. 1.

For SJSU, the win marked a sixth straight victory. The Spartans hit the road for a game at Wyoming this Saturday. When they return home, they play Nevada on Feb. 8 before heading to an away game at the league’s leader, Fresno State on Wednesday, Feb. 12.



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