As the injuries and attrition piled up around him, Gordy Presnell took comfort in knowing he had a secret weapon.
For nearly a year, the Boise State womens basketball coach knew Deanna Weaver was waiting at the end of his bench.
A mid-year transfer from Oregon last season, she had to sit out last spring and this past fall until making her Boise State debut Dec. 29 against Cal State Fullerton.
It was a wait well worth it.
Through six games, Weaver leads the Broncos with 15.3 points per game, and her 16.0 ppg in Mountain West play is tied for fourth in the conference.
Shes been an amazing breath of fresh air, said Presnell, in his ninth season at Boise State. It took about 15 minutes into our first practice with her, she jumped for a rebound, her hand was right by the rim, and I knew we had something special. We were waiting and waiting, and shes done great. Were so lucky to have her.
Weaver and the Broncos (8-8, 3-2 MW) will go for a season-best third straight win when they host New Mexico (7-9, 2-3) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Eleven Broncos played in last seasons opener, with only one a senior. Only three are currently playing. As a redshirt junior, Weaver is the most experienced player on the roster. She no doubt had high expectations, but has matched them, adding 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game to her scoring punch.
It had been almost two years since Id played last, so its kind of a little weird still to be out there, Weaver said. Id been practicing, so I was ready. Its been good so far.
The Broncos are 4-2 since the 5-foot-11 Weaver was cleared to play. Her versatility has helped draw attention away from the Broncos standout forwards, including sophomore Lexie Der, who was named Mountain West player of the week Monday.
Its given confidence to the other kids, too, Presnell said. It really solidifies our front line, but Deanna adds a whole athletic piece. She can play all five spots.
Weaver averaged 6.6 ppg in 56 games at Oregon, but did not play the first half of the 2011-12 season with a foot injury before she decided to transfer for personal reasons. At Boise State, she had an opportunity to be a key contributor, and the adversity her team faced was nothing new.
At one point before I left, we had six healthy players, had to hold open tryouts, Weaver said. So, Id kind of already been through that, kind of had to keep myself and my team positive.
The foot injury has not bothered Weaver thus far, and she has welcomed the wealth of responsibility, averaging 31.5 minutes per game. Presnell was made even more anxious when he noticed Weavers work ethic during offseason workouts.
She really kicked it into gear this summer, shes really disciplined, Presnell said. I think theres still a lot of untapped potential there.
Once a big fan of chocolate, Oreos, ice cream, you name it, nothing of the sort has been consumed by Weaver in a year since her arrival in Boise. And thats no coincidence.
I figured I was coming somewhere new, so why not start new, Weaver said. I knew there were some expectations, but its not pressure or anything. I wanted this.