Bold, fearless and won’t back down

Candice White on offense against the University of San Francisco last season. (Collegian File Photo)

Candice White is aiming to lead the Fresno State women’s basketball team this season with her love, support and passion for the game.

Starting off this year, White was named All-Mountain West Honorable Mention for the second time in her collegiate career.

“The fact that coaches are recognizing that I’m a talented player means a lot to me because I put a lot of work into trying to make this team successful,” White said.

White, who was born in Modesto, has been putting in work at a local YMCA since she was 5. She played a different sport every season.

In fourth grade, after playing with sixth graders, White put down the basketball to play soccer at a competitive level and do so faithfully.

“It was just playing with older girls, not knowing your role, being a lot younger,” White said. “I would get the ball stolen from me a lot. I would get shot-blocked. I didn’t want to do this anymore.”

When she joined basketball again in middle school, White balanced that sport along with soccer. But it was in high school, after an ACL tear, that she decided to let soccer go for good.

Focusing on basketball after an eight-month rehab, White returned to her team with enough time to lead Modesto Christian School in 2014 to its first CIF Division III Championship.

Even after winning the championship and many player of the year awards, White always wanted to better herself.

“I realized that there were girls that were better, and I always tried to be the best in the area, so I just practiced continuously, trying to [be the] best, and I developed a passion for the game at that time,” White said.

After receiving scholarship offers from many colleges, White was recruited by Fresno State’s assistant coach Mandy Carver.

“It was just her confidence in me and how she felt I would be a fit for the [basketball] program,” White said. “She played WNBA and knowing that, it was like, ‘Obviously, Candice, she sees something in you.’”

Coming into Fresno State was tough, to say the least. There were two senior players in front of her for the point guard position.

“I averaged about eight minutes [that year], but that was because I played a 22-minute game because both seniors were in foul trouble, so that averaged it out,” White said, laughing.

It was tough that year for White to feel part of the team, but she found her role.

“I found different ways to help my teammates. The ones that were playing, I would go early and rebound with them,” White said. “Looking back on it, it made me that much of a better player and teammate overall.”

Breaking out in her sophomore year, White was that better player for her team. She ranked No. 15 in the NCAA in free throws, led the team with 34.1 minutes per game, had 50 steals and ranked 37th in 3-point percentage.

“I have a lot of pride playing for Fresno State,” White said. “I didn’t realize it my freshman year, but just being bold, being fearless and not backing down to anyone or anything.”

Now in her junior year, White is expected to lead the underclassmen through the season, and, she said the pieces should fall together at perfect timing.

Along with being a standout basketball player, White looks to get her nursing license, then become a neonatal practitioner to work with babies.

“I always wanted to work with kids and build a connection with people,” White said.

White has visited many elementary schools, inspiring young girls around the Valley. She has a message for them:

“Continue working hard at your craft and just putting time in the gym every day, or the court, or the field, whatever sport you’re playing,” she said. “But, ultimately be a good person, and good things will happen.”

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