Sep 19, 2018

Women prepare for WAC rivalry

Junior Rosie Moult (left) will again be
matched up against Louisiana Tech’s Angie
Felton in Thursday’s conference game at the
Save Mart Center. Moult is averaging 12.4
points, and 5.2 rebounds per game.
Brianna Campbell / The Collegian

Fresno State’s women’s basketball team will host Louisiana Tech Thursday for “Pack the House Night” at the Save Mart Center

It is known as the biggest rivalry in WAC women’s college basketball and it could be one of the final matchups between the Fresno State Bulldogs and the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters come Thursday.

“We’ve had so many close games in a row and it’s become what you want in college athletics in the sense of conferences and rivalries, where every game matters,” said Fresno State coach Adrian Wiggins.

For years there has been strong competition between the two hoops teams and it has since turned into a full-fledged rivalry, something Wiggins is excited to be a part of.

With Fresno State leaving the Western Athletic Conference to move to the Mountain West Conference next year, Thursday’s game could likely be the last time the rivals face off. Regardless, Wiggins, who loves the competition, said he would love to keep the rivalry going.

“We have spoken to them about possibly playing in the future, but we haven’t nailed anything down,” Wiggins said. “So we are looking at this as kind of one of the last opportunities.”

Both programs have built up notable reputations in women’s college basketball, making for close and intense games.

“It’s been a great rivalry in the fact that our games have been very close,” Wiggins said. “We’re two very competitive programs. They have a storied tradition and we’re building a tradition, so that’s been fun to watch that intertwine.”

Last season Fresno State lost to La. Tech in both conference games, but had one final shot in the WAC Tournament to make a comeback. Bree Farley made a shot at the buzzer putting Fresno State ahead of La. Tech, 78-76, to clinch the WAC Championship.

This season Fresno State is in first place in the WAC with a conference record of 11-1 while La. Tech is ranked third at 8-4.

Farley is only a sophomore, but has embraced the rivalry and loves the competition. “This is only my second year here, but I know the rivalry has been going for a long time,” Farley said. “It’s always a team you really want to beat.”

After the first time the teams faced off this season on Feb. 4, Fresno State came away with the win, 61-59, over the Lady Techsters.

“I think beating them in their home stadium has only made them more fired up and ready to play us,” Farley said. “We’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be a good game.”

Teammate Rosie Moult has experienced the rivalry for three years already as a junior. “It’s always an intense rivalry seeing as though last year we lost the game here in overtime and then we lost there and it was a bit of a tough game,” Moult said. “And then we beat them in the final by one or two points so it’s obviously a bit intense.”

Moult said it always seems to be one of the team’s most intense games and she looks forward to playing in front of a loud home crowd who seems to understand the rivalry.

“It seems every time we play La. Tech the crowd gets into it more. Everyone gets into it more,” Moult said.

Farley also is looking forward to playing on her home court for the, for now, final matchup and wants to leave the WAC with a win over the conference rival.

“Of course we want to win because we’re not going to have another chance, other than the tournament, to get up on them,” Farley said. “We want to leave it with us winning.”

Student Marissa Brand said she is looking forward to watching the competitive game. “Last year at home I remember attending the game and it was the most exciting basketball game I’ve ever watched,” Brand said. “The three buzzer-beating overtimes were definitely worth watching. I can’t wait to see how the home game against La. Tech turns out this upcoming week.”

Thursday’s game will tip off at 6 p.m. at the Save Mart Center for “Pack the House Night.” The men’s basketball game will follow at 8 p.m., also against La. Tech.

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