Fresno State proved to be too much for the Falcons Monday night.
Guard Aly Gamez was a major contributor. She had 15 points, five assists and seven steals in the 64-48 home victory over the Falcons. The bulk of those contributions came in a crucial stretch in the third quarter.
The first and third were the quarters in which the Bulldogs found the most success. In those two quarters, the team shot 15 of 24 from the field.
Gamez was directly responsible for nine of the 11 points in the ‘Dogs’ 11-0 run that extended their lead to 18 points in the third quarter.
“[That stretch] felt good. The last game, the third quarter – it wasn’t too great, so we knew we had to put them away, for sure, in the third quarter. So it felt good,” Gamez said.
Gamez has rapidly endeared herself to the Fresno State fans. After the game, she was approached by three children for autographs.
During the game, Gamez was everywhere and anywhere her team needed her to be on the floor. On defense, she hounded the opposing guards, poking balls loose and forcing jump balls.
“The defensive side, I think that’s more important. Just getting in passing lanes, getting my hands on the ball, loose balls, 50-50 [balls], anything I can,” Gamez said.
The entire women’s basketball team came charging out of the gates, establishing a 10-point lead thanks to a 10-0 run midway through the first quarter. The team was able to cling to that lead throughout the quarter.
Head coach Jaime White said the hot start was crucial in the victory.
“We had a good a start. A good start in the first quarter and our kids, I thought they played hard and knocked down some big shots,” White said.
The ‘Dogs finished the quarter shooting 57.1 percent from the field. But they were unable to extend that dominance into the second quarter, when they only hit 4 of 11 shots.
Second-chance points proved to be another problem for the ‘Dogs in the first half. They were outscored 9-4 in that category.
“It’s been this whole year, and we really need those kids – as young as they are – to find out how to find that positioning on that shot and to pull those rebounds. Every outing it is important that we are completely focused on that,” White said.
The ‘Dogs went into halftime with a 31-24 lead.
The Bulldogs built a comfortable lead in the second half. They outscored the Falcons 33-24 and extended their lead to 20 points by the end of the third quarter.
The ‘Dogs established an offensive dominance over the Falcons in the third quarter when they made 7 of 10 shots.
On the defensive end, no points came easy for the Falcons. The Falcons found it difficult to maneuver around the ‘Dogs’ zone defense. They only hit 20 of 53 shots.
When the Falcons did find a basket, it was always inside the stripe. Air Force only hit 1 of 12 shots from beyond the arc.
By the time Air Force made a run late in the fourth quarter, it was too little too late.
“We did a good job with [the zone]. We just needed to rebound a little bit better. Tonight, I thought they didn’t shoot as well as they had at Air Force, and they also started driving inside,” White said.
White cited sophomore Katelin Noyer’s presence as one of the main reasons why the Falcons struggled to score.
Air Force had to reschedule this game against Fresno State after the government shutdown on Jan. 20. They were clear to play on Jan. 22 when the shutdown was resolved.
The ‘Dogs will be in action again Wednesday night against Nevada at the Save Mart Center.