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Junior guard Candice White attempts a shot over Wyoming at the Save Mart Center on Feb. 3, 2018 at the Save Mart Center. Fresno State won 60-47. (Alejandro Soto/ The Collegian)

Fresno State crushes Wyoming

The Fresno State women’s basketball team defeated Wyoming at home on Saturday, 60-47.

The game was played at a much slower pace than what the Bulldogs normally like, and that kept the scoring down in the first quarter. The Bulldogs still led 17-16.

The slow pace was partly due to the high pressure by Fresno State’s defense as the ‘Dogs picked up Wyoming for the entire court.

“I thought we did a good job with our full-court defense. We didn’t get that many steals out of it, but we knew we were going to have to press,” head coach Jaime White said. “For the most part, I thought our game plan was right on, and we did a good job with that. We had some nice play time from everybody.”

Junior guard Candice White, who leads Fresno State in points per game this season, struggled in the first half from the field. She shot 3-for-12, but some of the other players on the team were able to pick up the scoring load.

Freshman forward Maddi Utti scored 15 points, her fourth-highest total of the season. Utti has averaged 13.3 points over her last three games.

Utti said she was becoming more comfortable with her game as the season has progressed.

“I am much more confident than I was at the beginning, for sure,” Utti said. “It has been nice to be able to get used to things.”

The Bulldogs were able to move the ball from side to side until they were able to find an opening to drive the ball to the basket.

“I just thought we had to get in there and make them defend,” the coach said. “The Save Mart Center is a great atmosphere and such a hard place to play for other teams. We figured that by the end of the game, they would be pretty tired.”

Defensively, the ‘Dogs had one of their best games of the season, forcing seven turnovers by Wyoming in the third quarter. The ‘Dogs took care of the ball themselves, turning the ball over only three times, the fewest for a game in program history.

The ‘Dogs were unable to push the lead to more than 11, and Wyoming was able to make a short run early in the fourth quarter to get the lead down to seven.

It wouldn’t be enough though as Candice White came back alive offensively just in time to hold off the Cowgirls.

She calmly stepped to the free-throw line late in the game and sank multiple free throws to help put the game on ice. She finished with a game-high 19 points.

The Bulldogs have won eight straight Mountain West conference games, tying their total for all of last season.

After playing five games in their last 11 days, the team will have just one game this week against San Diego State.

“I know San Diego State will be tough and ready for us down there. We are going to prepare and be ready,” Coach White said. “We are going to take one day off between now and then and hopefully our kids can get healthy and regroup. Right now, we just want to play every day with the way that we are playing. We will get back at it and take [it] one game at a time.”