Sophomore Taylor Thompson had a total of
only 7 points, but assisted the ‘Dogs with
5 rebounds and 4 steals.
Dalton Runberg / The Collegian
The ‘Dogs outran the Vandals and controlled the tempo of the game, jumping out to a 20-0 lead in the first half before cruising to an 80-55 win in the WAC Tournament semifinal game.
“I’m very proud of our team’s effort,” said head coach Adrian Wiggins after the game. “I thought we gained a lot of confidence from the lead we jumped out to. It’s what we had to do and it’s nice to play another day.”
The win pits Fresno State against rival Louisiana Tech – which beat Utah State 73-69 in its semifinal game – in a rematch of the last year’s WAC Tournament championship.
Idaho head coach Jon Newlee gave credit to the tough Bulldog defense and Vandals forward Alyssa Charlston knew the pace of the game was too much to handle.
“The speed of the game was faster than us,” she said. “[It was] faster than we were thinking and we didn’t get used to it quick enough.”
Fresno State held Idaho scoreless until the 11-minute mark in the first half, forcing the Vandal band and cheerleaders to continue singing “Let’s Go Vandals,” until freshman Stacey Barr sank a 3 for Idaho’s first points of the game.
Sophomore Ki-Ki Moore was on fire early, scoring 15 of her total 19 points before halftime.
“As a team, I just feel like our pace was there,” said Moore, the WAC Player of the Year. “When we play the game with our style of pace, everything just seems to go right with us.”
Moore finished with a game-high 19 points, shooting 8-of-13 from the field. She also grabbed six rebounds.
Wiggins said the team played well overall and highlighted the team’s defensive press and rebounding effort in the win.
“We blocked out well. We rebounded well,” Wiggins said. “Our pace was nice. We have to be moving and sharing the ball, and we did that today.”
Wiggins was also pleased with the number of second-chance opportunities his team had, despite turning only nine second-chance points off of 17 offensive rebounds. Overall, Fresno State outrebounded Idaho 44-32, and 17-11 offensively.
Junior Rosie Moult led the ‘Dogs on the glass, pulling down nine rebounds. Moult finished with 15 points, including a perfect 5-of-5 attempts from the free throw line.
“Our pace was really well today,” Moult said. “Also, our defensive intensity was a lot better than what we had previously, so we were getting a lot of stops which was able to make our offense run a lot better.”
The ‘Dogs forced 19 turnovers and 12 steals while also holding the Vandals to a 30.8 shooting percentage on the night. The Vandals only glimmer of light came from the free-throw line where they made 20-of-23 attempts during the game.
Idaho’s Charlston led the team with 14 points and 10 rebounds in its final game of the season.
Fresno State will play third-seeded Louisiana Tech tomorrow for the WAC Tournament championship, as the ‘Dogs hope to exit the WAC with another title.
“Regardless of who you’re playing you want to play well,” Wiggins said. “That’s what I was most pleased about today. We played well today and we have to do that again tomorrow.”
The ‘Dogs will tip off at 3 p.m. against the Lady Techsters for the championship where the winner will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.