Women’s basketball reels in program-high postseason honors

Maddi Utti (11), Hanna Cavinder (0) and Haley Cavinder (1) on the bench before player introductions against Wyoming at the Save Mart Center on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020 (Armando Carreno/The Collegian)

Following one of the best regular seasons in program history and earning a place in the Mountain West (MW) Tournament title game, the Fresno State women’s basketball team reeled in nine MW postseason honors on Sunday, the most in program history.

Fresno State head coach Jaime White, forward Maddi Utti and guard Haley Cavinder took home three of the top four awards including the coach of the year, player of the year and freshman of the year, respectively.

Utti became the Bulldogs’ second player to win MW Player of the Year and the sixth player in Fresno State history to be named player of the year after averaging a double-double (15.4 ppg, 10.0 rpg) during the regular season. She was the only player in the MW to rank in the top five in scoring (fourth), rebounding (third) and steals (first – 2.2 spg), also earning her All-MW and All-Defensive team honors.

Utti was second in the MW for the most double-doubles in conference games with eight. She is also the only player under 6-feet with more than five double-doubles.

During the MW Preseason Awards, Haley Cavinder was selected as Co-MW freshman of the year, along with New Mexico’s Corina Carter, and she fulfilled that prediction. She is the third Bulldog to be named a conference’s freshman of the Year. 

Haley Cavinder finished the regular season as one of the two players in the league to rank in the top 10 in scoring (10th – 14.7 ppg), rebounding (8th – 7.6 rpg) and assists (5th – 3.9). She also ranks sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.40) and fourth in 3-pointers made per game (2.28).

Haley’s twin sister Hanna Cavinder joined her sister on both the All-MW and All-freshman team following an outstanding regular season herself. During the regular season, Hanna Cavinder ranked fourth in the MW in scoring (15.4 ppg), seventh in assists (3.7 apg) and seventh in assist-to-turnover (1.40).

The Cavinder twins are also the first two freshmen from the same school to earn all-MW honors in the same season.

During the regular season, the Bulldogs went 23-6 (16-2 Mountain West) and won the regular-season conference championship. This turnaround was due in large part to the coaching of White. On Feb. 12, Fresno State became the first NCAA Division I women’s basketball team this season to clinch its conference title.

The Fresno State women’s basketball record-breaking season is not over yet. The No. 1 seeded Bulldogs reached the 2020 Air Force Reserve MW Women’s Basketball Championship game on Tuesday with a 94-68 victory against fourth seed San Jose State.

This is Fresno State’s fifth appearance in the title game and the first since 2017. Fresno State is now 15-5 all-time in the MW tournament.

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