It was fitting that the final shot attempt of the game bounced off iron as what was once a highly contested matchup from the onset turned into a convincing rout, as Boise State handed the Bulldogs their first defeat in both Mountain West play and at the Save Mart Center 72-60 on Saturday afternoon.
The Broncos came out aggressively early on as they were able to penetrate a soft Fresno State defense. Boise State scored four straight layups to start and ultimately finished with 32 points in the paint.
Despite the early scoring from the Broncos in the first quarter, the ‘Dogs were able to go toe-to-toe as they got help on offense early on by sophomore Maddi Utti who scored eight points in the first, finishing with 16 points on 8 of 11 and a team high nine rebounds.
But Boise’s continuous ability to get to the basketball hurt the Bulldogs as the game wore on, causing the ‘Dogs to collapse in the paint, allowing Boise to kick the ball out and hit open 3-pointers.
The ‘Dogs allowed Boise to finish the game shooting 44 percent from the arc on 11-25 shooting. Head coach Jaime White said that is one of the key reasons her team was handily defeated.
“It is tough to go up against a team who shoots 44 percent from the 3-point line, and they were 11-of-25 tonight,” White said. “The last time we have seen that was probably last year. We will have to go back to work on how to defend that.”
Once again, senior Candice White, who entered Saturday’s game averaging 26 points in her last three games and 23.3 in MW games, led the ‘Dogs on offense, reeling in 22 points while shooting 7 of 14 from the field and 5 of 7 from behind the arc.
White said that a team capable of scoring like Boise would be hard to keep up with if they allowed easy baskets and scoring opportunities early on.
“With a team like Boise State, you can’t get down early, and Coach White told us that before the game,” said White. “We let it happen, and that is why the outcome is the way that it is.”
The Bulldogs bench was not able to build on the momentum of the starters like Utti and White. They could not get much of anything, as they finished 0 for 4 compared to Boise’s 16 points off the bench.
“They had 16 points from the bench and we had zero tonight, that is a clear stat,” said Coach White. “I do not feel like they are that much better. I just think that we had to have a better start.”
The next time the Bulldogs will be in action will be when they take on San Diego State (6-9, 1-3 Mountain West) as they look to get back on track Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Viejas Arena.