A 26-point deficit lit a fire in Candice White that led to a scoring effort unlike any in the history of Fresno State women’s basketball.
White finished with 40 points on 17-of-29 shooting, setting the school record for points in a game.
“Honestly, I wasn’t too aware. One of my coaches told me, ‘It’s March, you never know what could happen in March.’ That was my focus in the second half, you never know what could happen, let’s try and get this win,” White said.
The herculean effort was not enough, though, and Fresno State was ousted from the Women’s Basketball Invitational, losing 86-74 to Nevada.
White found offense all night long and from anywhere on the floor; off the dribble, catch and shoot, cutting and free throws.
“She had an urgency and a fight, and that’s something that I think comes with experience,” said head coach Jaime White.
The ‘Dogs struggled to match Candice White’s effort early on. Of the 11 Bulldogs who played Monday night, only four of them had scored going into halftime.
Coach White said they simply shot too many outside shots, and they did not hit enough of them. Nevada, on the other hand, was hitting its.
“I don’t think we came out the way we had planned, although Nevada did. I thought they played really well and shot really well,” the coach said. “I just didn’t think we had our defensive intensity in the first half.”
That lack of defensive intensity turned into a 17-2 run by the Wolf Pack in the second quarter. Nevada dominated the Bulldogs from all angles. Wolf Pack guard T Moe scored 9 of the points on that run.
Moe nearly matched Candice White’s performance, scoring 34 points. She was on fire from deep, hitting 6-of-8 3-point attempts.
Fresno State went into halftime down 46-24. White had 14 of those points. But Coach White said the game was a “tale of two halves.”
The second half saw the Bulldogs fight their way back into the game. Bringing the deficit to within three points with about three minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs got the comeback going in the third quarter, when they shot 13-for-19 from the field.
“I thought we went into halftime with a little bit of bounce, and we came out and proved it was true,” Jaime White said.
The crowd could also feel the team’s effort was at another level in the second half. The fans grew louder with each point the team chipped off the lead.
But the Wolf Pack did not surrender their lead. They went on a 10-3 run with the ‘Dogs within three to make the game 82-72 with 43 seconds to go.
The loss brings the Bulldogs’ season to an end, but junior Candice White and freshman Aly Gamez are already looking ahead to next season.
“It’s exciting. I know it’s not what we wanted, you know, losing, but to see how far we’ve come since the beginning, it’s exciting. I’m ready for [next season],” Gamez said.