Boise State Basketball

Boise State women look for young depth to rise

Boise State players celebrate a score against Tennessee late in the second half of an NCAA women’s college basketball tournament game Saturday, March 21, 2015, in Knoxville, Tenn.
Boise State players celebrate a score against Tennessee late in the second half of an NCAA women’s college basketball tournament game Saturday, March 21, 2015, in Knoxville, Tenn. The Associated Press

There are plenty of proven commodities among the Boise State women’s basketball team’s starting lineup, but after them, a lot of potential, albeit unproven.

All five of the players who averaged between five and 17 minutes per game last season either graduated or left the team, leaving a void in the bench that will have to be filled by newcomers.

“We lost a number of kids off the bench. ... We had a pretty good-sized recruiting class and we definitely have tried to address that,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said.

In the Broncos’ season-opening 58-44 win over Cal State-Los Angeles on Friday, six players made their Boise State debuts, five of them off the bench. For what Presnell has called his most skilled team in his decade with the Broncos, it presents some interesting possibilities for different rotations.

“They all have their own little niche,” junior guard Brooke Pahukoa said. “Ella (Fotu) is phenomenal at driving to the basket, and she’s tough. Joyce (Harrell) can get the rebounds and knock it down from the high post.”

With some strong leadership in the returners like Pahukoa and her sister Brittney, senior center Miquelle Askew, junior guard Yaiza Rodriguez and sophomore forward Shalen Shaw, it has enabled the bench players to get acclimated. In fact, they’ve made it very easy.

“No way could I be as ready if not for them,” said Harrell, a freshman forward who had four points and five rebounds. “They’ve talked about needing us. Even if it’s for two minutes, you play two hard minutes. They’ve picked me up after class or come to my dorm to walk through plays.”

BOISE HIGH GRAD COMES HOME

College of Charleston sought to play Monday’s game in Boise in large part as a reward for senior forward Jackie Luna-Castro, who averaged 9.5 points per game last season.

“I’m really excited about this. It means a lot,” she said on the team’s website.

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @IDS_southorn

Bronco hoops doubleheader

Women: College of Charleston (1-0) at Boise State (1-0), 4 p.m. Monday

Men: Northern Arizona (0-1) at Boise State (0-1), 7 p.m.

Both games at Taco Bell Arena

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