In the Bulldogs’ 68-53 win against Cal-State Northridge Saturday at the Save Mart Center, possibly the loudest fan cheers were drawn for Fresno State’s Rosie Moult.
The senior guard received a standing ovation after sitting out the last three games due to injury, and drew a thunderous uproar when she made back-to-back second-half 3-pointers to give the Bulldogs the lead that led to the come-from-behind victory.
“I think that did a lot for our team, not just in helping us get the lead,” Bulldogs coach Raegan Pebley said. “I think it also helped out Rosie and her confidence and understanding and remembering one of the great strengths that she has.
“Having Rosie back was a good emotional lift for our team. Our crowd helped us out in the end.”
Ki-Ki Moore led the way with 17 points and nine rebounds and Moult finished with 16 points draining 4-of-9 from behind the arc in a game that saw the Bulldogs trail through most of the second half.
“It was good for us to go through some adversity today,” Pebley said. “Our girls knew that this Northridge team was not the same Northridge team that they’ve seen in the past.”
The Bulldogs (6-2) squandered a 16-7 first-half advantage that turned into a CSUN 30-28 lead heading into halftime.
Forward Marta Masoni led CSUN in scoring with 14 points and matched Moult’s four 3-pointers. Eight of those points were scored in the second half to help preserve the Matadors’ 14-minute second-half lead over the Bulldogs.
A Masoni 3-pointer gave the Matadors a 46-41 lead with eight minutes remaining.
“Great shooter,” Pebley said of Masoni. “She’s going to do some awesome things in the Big West Conference. She was someone we needed to account for everywhere on the floor – midrange, in the 3-point game and on the boards.”
Two other Matadors (5-4) finished with double-figures in scoring, with Janae Sharpe and Camille Mahlknecht scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively.
But for the Matadors, who ended the game shooting 32.8 percent from the field, the magic ended with 6:17 to play.
That was when Moult netted two 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to fuel a 27-7 run that gave the Bulldogs the lead for good.
“My shot was feeling good,” said Moult, who played in her first game in December coming off the bench. “It was good to get back in the lead. I felt like our team momentum lifted a bit.
“It’s really nice. We have great support here, the crowd’s always behind us.”
CSUN was held scoreless for four of the final eight minutes of regulation and shot 25.8 percent from the field in the second half after completing almost 40 percent of its baskets in the first half.
“We got stops,” Pebley said. “We got good stops and I think Rosie hitting those threes opened up the paint a little bit for us. I think they had to defend her a little tighter, which opened up some lanes for some of our drivers.”
Alex Sheedy shot 4-of-12 for 10 points and Taylor Thompson contributed six points to go along with a game-high five steals.
The Bulldogs, winners of 17-in-a-row at the Save Mart Center, begin a six-game, month-long road stretch Friday at the University of Portland.