BOISE — When the Boise State womens basketball team added D, it took a step up on D.
Through their first 10 games, the Broncos were 4-6, allowing teams to shoot 44 percent from the field. Then, Oregon transfer Deanna Weaver became eligible Dec. 29 against Cal State-Fullerton. Since, Boise State is 13-6, and teams are shooting 39.7 percent.
Weaver, a 5-foot-11 junior guard/forward, was named to the Mountain Wests all-defensive team Sunday. The Broncos begin Mountain West Tournament play at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in Las Vegas against Wyoming.
I think D has helped us in terms of our whole culture. Shes such a hard worker, Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. She is so long, so athletic, she can guard just about anyone and can make up for any little mistakes she or someone else makes.
The Broncos (17-12) gave up 74.7 points per game in nonconference play, but 65.6 in conference games, fourth-best in the league. Weavers 36 steals in Mountain West games are tied for second, part of a Boise State defense tied for first with 18.4 takeaways per game.
I take a lot of pride in that, but that has a lot to do with how everyone else on our team is playing D, too, Weaver said. I wouldnt say were exactly where we want to be theres still room to get better.
Playing without any seniors and one junior (Weaver) in the rotation, the defense took some time to get settled, especially with communication as the players got comfortable with one another.
Our defense was horrible at the beginning and now, we know we can play with the best teams, get stops and can get momentum off our defense, sophomore guard Keiahnna Engel said.
Presnell praised his team for fouling less as the season has progressed, particularly helpful for forward Miquelle Askew, the only healthy true post.
We were putting people at the line too often, and the team defense has done a good job of limiting that and protecting Miquelle, Presnell said.
The Broncos had one of their best defensive games the last time they faced Wyoming. Boise State lost 55-48 at Wyoming on Jan. 11, but beat the Cowgirls 72-59 on March 1 in Boise. The Broncos led 61-37 with 10 minutes to go in the second game, at which point the Cowgirls were 11-of-34 from the field.
We didnt do a good job in transition there, but did a lot better when they played here, so we feel good we can keep that going, Weaver said.
Dave Southorn: 377-6420; Twitter: @IDS_Southorn