Fresno State senior Taylor Thompson takes the ball down the court in the Bulldogs’ semifinal victory over the Nevada Wolf Pack. Photo by Khlarissa Agee/The Collegian
LAS VEGAS—For the second consecutive year, the Fresno State women’s basketball team is playing in the Mountain West Conference Championship.
Five Bulldogs scored in double figures as the Bulldogs (21-10, 13-5 Mountain West) defeated the Nevada Wolf Pack 82-71 in the conference semifinals Friday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Fresno State and Nevada (18-13, 12-6 MW) exchanged 10 leads in the first half. The Wolf Pack led by 5 at one point late in the half before Fresno State went on a 10-0 run to lead 40-35 heading into the locker room.
The ‘Dogs also kept their first-half momentum by coming out of the locker room on a 15-4 run to commence the second half. The run enabled them to pull away early on and increased their lead to as many as 19 at one point.
After Fresno State’s runs, the ‘Pack only got within 8 but weren’t able to cut deeper into the Fresno State lead.
“It sounded like a broken record,” said Fresno State head coach Raegan Pebley, “but we feel very fortunate that we were able to get this W. I know that a lot of preparation went on that we had to go into this game.”
Senior Taylor Thompson led the group with 22 points. Other ‘Dogs in double figures were Moriah Faulk (19), Bree Farley (15), Robin Draper (11) and Alex Sheedy (10). Draper was also perfect from behind the arc.
Faulk normally doesn’t score in double digits, but tonight was one of the nights when she did. She also played heavy defense and tallied six rebounds, three steals and a block.
After the game, she credited her squad for her production on the court.
“I have to give all the credit to my teammates,” Faulk said. “They just continued to encourage me, give me the ball and tell me to shoot it. So all the credit goes to them.
“I was just trying to take what the defense was giving me. They were leaving me open in the high post. I was just taking open shots.”
Fresno State looks to get a taste of championship glory for the fourth time in as many years. The ‘Dogs will square off against the first-seeded Colorado State Rams for the Mountain West crown on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
“I think our two teams match up to each other really, really well,” Pebley said. “We’re very similar in how we’re built. We’re both going to try and put the ball in the hands of our best scorers whenever we can.”
The Rams (25-6, 15-3 MW) edged the Wyoming Cowgirls earlier in the day 95-92 in a triple-overtime match.
“Obviously, going to the championship is exciting,” Thompson said. “It’s definitely business. We’re here for one goal and that’s to win a championship.
“We’re definitely going to try and do that tomorrow night.”