Sarah Gilbert / The Collegian
The second season for the Fresno State womenâ€™s basketball team has begun, and sophomore guard Jaleesa Ross expressed three types of excitement for this weekend at the NCAA womenâ€™s tournament.
â€œExcited that our fans get to come and watch us play, excited to not have to fly and excited to play another game,â€ Ross said. â€œWeâ€™re glad weâ€™re still playing basketball.â€
Fresno State punched in their ticket to the big dance after winning its second consecutive conference title this past weekend in Reno, Nev. The Bulldogs won the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) title after a 56-49 victory against Nevada. They hold a 13th seed in the Trenton Regional.
The WAC Tournament most valuable player, Ross, is already expecting a challenge from Pac-10 power and fourth seeded Cal, especially when the Golden Bears are on defense.
â€œIâ€™m expecting a couple of different defenses,â€ Ross said. â€œTheir strong point is they got really good post players. I know its going to be tough to get into the key and get some shots but its going to be a good matchup.â€
Matt Weir / The Collegian
Fresno State previously played the Bears in an 83-79 loss in Nov. 2007. Forward Hayley Munro was on that Fresno State team as a freshman.
â€œTheir team is pretty similar to the one we played last year,â€ Munro said. â€œIt should be a great matchup. Itâ€™s really exciting. We have a team that we can match up well against.â€
Two key players for the Bears are Ashley Walker and Devanel Hampton. Hampton is an interior presence for the Bears but wasnâ€™t in the lineup in the last meeting with the Bulldogs. Walker is from Modesto and was once recruited by Fresno State.
Coach Adrian Wiggins knows that with both Hampton and Walker in the lineup, Cal will likely attack the inside.
â€œWe have to keep the ball out of the post and when they touch it, we have to make sure theyâ€™re not in the paint when they touch it,â€ Wiggins said.
Photo courtesy of Cal Athletics
Senior Bailey Amundsen feels that there are two keys to winning their first round game against Cal.
â€œDefense and rebounding,â€ Amundsen said. â€œThey have two big post presences. We have to stop their post and block them out. Thereâ€™s going to be a lot of focus on defense this week. But we are familiar with them. We feel confident going in.â€
Players to watch
Fresno Stateâ€™s player to watch: Haley Munro, forward
Calâ€™s player to watch: Ashley Walker, center/forward