Women’s Basketball drops first conference game of the year

Fresno State guard Hanna Cavinder drives for a layup while being defended against Colorado State Rams on December 3, 2020, at the Save Mart Center. (Vendila Yang/ The Collegian)

Fresno State women’s basketball was welcomed back to the Save Mart Center with no fans in attendance, a championship banner and its first conference loss of the 2020-2021 season.

The Bulldogs fell to the Colorado State Rams 89-83 and won’t have to wait long to see them back on the court as they will play once again tomorrow at 6 p.m. The quick turnaround is due to the new Mountain West (MW) conference schedule with conference games played as series over three days.

Last year, the Bulldogs opened up conference play by winning 15 straight games, and tonight, they started 0-1. Colorado State will head into Friday’s contest against Fresno State undefeated at 3-0 overall.

“Our players and staff were not excited to see this outcome, although I do think Colorado State is a completely different team than last year,” a disappointed head coach Jamie White said following the loss. “They played well and you can’t take that away from them.”

The Bulldogs and the Rams’ first half was nearly even overall as the Bulldogs led by just 2 points (38-36). 

Fresno State shot 45% from the field and 25% from 3-point range at halftime, while Colorado State shot 41% from the field and 19% from 3-point range. Colorado State also outrebounded Fresno State defensively in the first half, 24-18. 

Hanna Cavinder led the Bulldogs at the end of the first half in points (13) and assists (three), while her sister Haley Cavinder led in rebounds (six). 

The biggest play from the first half was Hanna Cavinder’s steal off an inbound pass from Colorado State’s redshirt sophomore guard Sydney Mech and scored two quick points to extend the Bulldogs lead to seven points.

Colorado State increased its field goal shot percentage in the second half by 16 points (57%) and its three-point percentage by nearly 50 points (70%). Colorado State’s redshirt junior guard Tori Williams led the team for most threes in the second half with three out of four made three-pointers.

The Rams as a whole made 7 out of 10 three-pointers in the second half.

Whereas Fresno State only saw a slight change in their shooting. The Bulldogs shot 48% from the field and 36% from 3-point range. 

The Bulldogs are known for getting the bulk of their transition points. In the 50-point victory over Lamar last week, the Bulldogs scored 18 points off turnovers and 29 fast-break points.

Comparing that performance to tonight, the Bulldogs scored 17 points off turnovers and only 4 fast-break points.

“Colorado State is a great defensive team. They stopped us a lot in our transition, which is a huge area for scoring for us,” Hanna Cavinder said.

Haley Cavinder would end the night as the Bulldogs leader in points with 24, rebounds with eight and assists with four. Hanna Cavinder was right behind her with 22 total points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals.

The turnaround will be quick for the Bulldogs, but it is something that the Bulldogs are familiar with, thanks to last week’s action in Las Vegas at the South Point Thanksgiving Shootout.

“We just played back to back last week, so we’ve done this before. We should know how to respond,” White said.

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