Fresno State senior forward Toni Smith looks to get off a shot against San Jose State’s Emily Vann during Wednesday’s 66-64 loss to the Spartans at Save Mart Center. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)
The Fresno State women’s basketball team suffered its first Mountain West loss of the season as it stumbled on both sides of the ball in a 66-64 Wednesday night home loss to San Jose State.
“We are obviously disappointed with the outcome of the game,” head coach Jaime White said. “We had a good first quarter. I think we got a little ahead of ourselves. We gave up 16 offensive rebounds, and I think that was big. I thought defensively we weren’t as tough as we have been. We let them get drives, and they did a good job of transitioning in the fourth quarter. We flipped quarters – we did well in the first and they did a good job in the fourth.”
After an even start to the game, the Bulldogs ended the first quarter on a 16-3 run that was led by back-to-back 3-pointers from senior guard Alex Furr.
Fresno State guard Brittany Aikens knocked down a pair of free throws to extend the Bulldogs’ largest lead of the game to 15 with the score of 34-19 with 5:32 left to play in the first half. But the Spartans stayed resilient, countering with their own 11-0 run while the Bulldogs didn’t record a basket for over five minutes.
Furr drained her third 3-pointer of the game to end the Spartans’ run, giving Fresno State a 37-30 lead going into the half.
The ‘Dogs’ lead dwindled to four early in the second half. But they were able to end the third quarter on a 10-3 run – in which Furr connected on her final 3-pointer of the game to cap off the run – to take a 53-42 lead into the final quarter.
With 3:40 to play in the game, the Spartans went on a 17-6 run to tie the game at 59-59. The Spartans continued the momentum with a 3-pointer from Emily Vann to take their first lead of the game at 62-59 after two missed field goals from Fresno State’s Bego Faz Davalos.
After a free throw from the Spartans put them up 65-61 with 1:22 remaining, the Dogs got back within one point after a 3-pointer from Aikens with under a minute left in the game.
With time waning, the ‘Dogs buckled down on defense and forced two missed field goals from the Spartans. Collins had a chance to win the game with a layup drive in the lane, but was blocked by Riana Byrd as the Spartans crashed the glass for the rebound.
The Spartans essentially closed out the game after a made free throw with five seconds left to take a two-point lead and after committing three fouls in the ensuing 4.2 seconds. The ‘Dogs had one more chance to steal the win at home with 0.8 seconds left, but Faz Davalos missed a last-second field goal attempt at the top of the key as time expired.
“They’re good,” White said about the Spartans. “They have played every team in our league hard. They almost beat Colorado State at home, and they almost beat us there. It wasn’t like we didn’t think it was going to be a hard game. They played better than us tonight, and that’s frustrating but that’s just kind of how it is.”
Furr led the Bulldogs in scoring with 12 points on four 3-pointers, Shauqunna Collins added 11 points off the bench for her 12th double-figure scoring effort of the season, and Toni Smith chipped in 10 points for her eighth-consecutive double-figure scoring game.
San Jose State (8-14, 6-5 MW) was led in scoring by Byrd as the junior center scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds off the bench.