Fresno State senior Taylor Thompson makes her way to the basket in the Bulldogs’ victory over the Air Force Falcons. Photo by Katie Eleneke/The Collegian
The Fresno State women’s basketball team swept conference foe Air Force on Wednesday night at the Save Mart Center. The win also elevated the Bulldogs to second place in the conference.
Led by junior guard Alex Furr, the ‘Dogs shot a season-high 52.6 percent en route to a 76-49 Mountain West victory. Furr shot 5 of 6 from the field and was perfect from 3-point range on her way to a game-high 14 points.
“[The shots] just fell tonight, and it was just fun being out there,” Furr said. “Some nights you shoot the best, some nights you might not, so I was happy it went my way tonight.”
Fresno State’s post players were key as their presence was felt throughout the game. Lately, center Jacinta Vandenberg has played a big role in the ‘Dogs’ lineup. With 12 points, she has scored in double figures in two consecutive games.
She also provided a physical presence with nine rebounds, one shy of her second double-double of the season.
Two other Bulldogs has double-digit points. Senior Taylor Thompson’s 12 points marked her 18th game this season in double figures, while freshman Jessy Saint-Felix posted a career-high 10 points off the bench.
The ‘Dogs kept trying to pull away in the first half. Every time they started going on a run, the Falcons answered back with a big play to stay in the game. After about 12 minutes of play, the game was tied at 18 apiece after two Jimi Blagowsky free throws. However Fresno State was able to take advantage of its eight steals in the first half and went into the locker room with a 38-31 lead.
In the second half, the ‘Dogs were able to get into more of a rhythm as they pulled away by outscoring the Falcons 38-18 in that span.
The loss of standout forward Alex Sheedy (leg injury) has forced Fresno State head coach Raegan Pebley to use more of her post players. Saint-Felix and fellow underclassman Toni Smith combined for 20 minutes and 15 points.
“That was a great way for us to respond after the loss at Wyoming and I’m really, really proud of the collective effort that it took to get this win,” Pebley said. “A lot of people contributed for us.”
With this win, the Bulldogs have improved to 7-3 in conference play and 13-8 on the season. The ‘Dogs are also now 6-0 all time against the Falcons. Air Force has yet to win a league game as it falls to 0-10 in Mountain West play.
Pebley’s team also improves to 4-1 in conference home games.
The ‘Dogs’ next matchup will come on Saturday as they travel to San Jose to take on the in-state conference rival San Jose Spartans. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.