A fierce Arizona State defense deprived the Fresno State women’s basketball team of easy field goals and a victory Wednesday.
Fresno State shot 28.6 percent from the field in the 81-49 loss. The ‘Dogs were unable to score more than 13 points in the first three quarters, and they were also unable to hold their opponent to under 18 points in those quarters on defense.
Guard Candice White, the ‘Dogs leading scorer from last season, was held to just 10 points on 3-of-15 shooting.
“We needed to run our offense a little bit longer to get easier shots, get to the paint,” White said of the team’s offensive struggles. “Part of it was their pressure, but the other part of it was just trying to run our offense more, swing the ball from side to side and get easier shots.”
The Sun Devils had a hand in the face of every shooter throughout the game. Outside the arc, inside the paint – it didn’t matter. No basket came easy for the ‘Dogs.
Fresno State’s offensive struggles could mostly be attributed to the Sun Devil defense, but the ‘Dogs also missed some easy layups around the basket.
“I don’t think they were necessarily easy [shots], although I thought we were getting them,” head coach Jaime White said. “I thought we were getting some good layups, some good looks for finishing, but they’re a little bit bigger more physical team and we didn’t absorb that at all.”
The ‘Dogs competed well early on, keeping the game within one or two points early in the first quarter. They finished the first down 18-12 after a quick 6-2 run from the Sun Devils to close out the quarter.
The Sun Devils established a rhythm with that first quarter run that they carried into the second quarter. They opened the quarter on a 12-2 run, and held the ‘Dogs without a field goal for almost four minutes. Fresno State went into halftime down 39-23.
Guard Courtney Elmark was a pest on offense for the ‘Dogs early on, shooting a perfect five-of-five from the field from the field. She consistently beat her defender off the dribble and maneuvered through the zone defense to find easy shots in the paint.
Center Charnea Johnson-Chapman was a force for the Sun Devils as well, she finished with a team-high 16 points.
Rebounding proved to be a problem for the young ‘Dogs team. The Sun Devils outworked the ‘Dogs on the boards 41-25, with 12 offensive rebounds to the ‘Dogs 11.
“We gave up too many rebounds to points,” Jaime White said. “We’d get a stop, we’d feel good about it. They’d miss a shot, and we just didn’t pull the boards.”
The head coach added that she felt like the team could have kept the game a lot closer in the first half, had it just grabbed more defensive rebounds.
The offensive woes continued into the second half for the Bulldogs. The team started off the half with three straight turnovers, which the Sun Devils capitalized off of at the other end with three straight field goals.
“That was not the plan coming out of halftime,” Jaime White said. “I think it’s just one of those things, some of our young kids have got to be ready for the second half, especially playing a first half like that. You’ve got to regroup and you have to have good energy coming in.
“It’s always nice when you start a half or a quarter with something positive, and I just felt like that kind of snowballed from there in the third quarter.”
The ball pressure was too much for the ‘Dogs, forcing multiple wayward passes and tipped balls. The Sun Devils finished with 17 points off of 15 Fresno State turnovers.
The third quarter saw the Sun Devils finish the Bulldogs off, outscoring them 28-10 and extending their lead to as much as 36 points. Fresno State went the last 6:39 of the third quarter without a field goal.
The fourth quarter proved to be the most even of them all, with the ‘Dogs outscoring the Sun Devils 16-14, of course this was against the Sun Devils’ reserves.
The ‘Dogs hope to fare better against their next challenge, UC Riverside on Nov. 19 at the Save Mart Center.