Women’s Basketball: Time to rebound for Fresno State

Fresno State guard Alex Furr dribbles past UC Riverside defenders during the 'Dogs' 73-61 victory over the Highlanders on Dec. 4. Photo by Darlene Wendels/The Collegian

Throughout the season, the Fresno State women’s basketball team has been able to avoid repeating history.

Win 13 straight games? Check.

Set the school record for best 20-game start? Check.

Beat Colorado State at home? Check.

Next on the list was San Jose State. The ‘Dogs suffered heartbreak to the Spartans in 2014, when they lost 68-66 in San Jose.

But this game was unlike last year. The ‘Dogs did not lose by two points to a team that was 2-7 in conference play.

No, this time, the Spartans were better. They entered the game 3-6 in the Mountain West, and they were poised, flexible and under control. Fresno State had 25 turnovers — which turned into 18 points – and lost to San Jose State 56-51.

“It was obviously not the turnout we wanted,” said Fresno State head coach Jaime White. “As a 5-point game, I felt like there were multiple times when we tied the score and could have gone ahead. But we turned the ball over too much and didn’t get the transition that we wanted. That’s pretty much the end of the story.”

And this is not exactly the time for Fresno State to dwell on the loss. Coming up are UNLV, Boise State and Colorado State (again). If the ‘Dogs are planning to go into March’s Mountain West Tournament as the No. 1 seed, they will have to have short-term memory.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the ‘Dogs. They are second in the conference in scoring defense, field-goal-percentage defense, 3-point-percentage defense, steals and lead the pack in blocks. A team like Colorado State, which entered the Jan. 31 matchup having beaten Boise State 83-82, only scored 49 points.

The Spartans led the Mountain West in scoring at 80.6 points per game on Feb. 4. They only put up 56 points in their victory over the ‘Dogs.

Turnovers may have been an issue for Fresno State, but the ‘Dogs knew how to defend off their mistakes. As White said, all they needed was at least four more points.

UNLV comes to town

On Wednesday, Fresno State will host the UNLV Lady Rebels for the first time this season. They have the leading scorer in the Mountain West, senior Danielle Miller (18.4 points per game).

“They’re a combination of athletic and long,” White said. “They have some long kids who are good outside shooters. Miller does a good job inside and out, and our work is cut out for us with that kid.”

And since the ‘Dogs suffered a heartbreaker at San Jose State, they took advantage of Saturday’s day off to condition.

“We watched film, and I thought we did a good job,” White said. “It wasn’t like we overdid it.”

The Lady Rebels have the historic advantage over Fresno State (15-12), but the ‘Dogs have dominated over the past six years, winning eight of nine.

UNLV also shares a distinction with Colorado State and San Jose State: it likes to score. The Lady Rebels post an average of 69.6 points per game, enough for third in the league.

And their road record does not do them justice. They are 2-8, but the wins came against Air Force and San Jose State.

This season, the ‘Dogs have rewritten history. This time, however, they will want to keep one thing constant:

They have not lost to UNLV at home in nearly 23 years, since Feb. 15, 1992.

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