Women’s basketball split the first Mountain West series with a win

Fresno State guard Haley Cavinder drives in for a layup against Colorado State Rams guard/forward Sydney Mech during the first quarter on December 3, 2020, at the Save Mart Center. (Vendila Yang/The Collegian)

After a loss last night, the Fresno State women’s basketball team bounced back against the Colorado State Rams Friday afternoon at the Save Mart Center, winning 78-74.

The Bulldogs split the series against Colorado State and evened their Mountain West (MW) conference record to 1-1, avenging an 89-83 loss to the Rams the night before.

Despite trailing for a total of 30 minutes, the Bulldogs came up clutch in the fourth quarter. 

Trailing 65-61, the ‘Dogs got hot at the right time. Senior forward Maddi Utti started a 6-point streak with a 3-pointer, followed up by a free throw from senior guard Aly Gamez and a Haley Cavinder layup to take the lead, 67-65. 

Colorado State’s Sydney Mech tied up the game at 67, but Hanna Cavinder made two jumpers in a row. Her twin sister Haley Cavinder would hit a layup to make it 73-67.

Gamez, who is well familiar with Colorado State, said that the Rams are a fun opponent to play against.

“I really enjoy playing Colorado State,” Gamez said. “They’re competitive, I’m competitive, and our whole team is competitive. It makes it for a good matchup, and the games are always close. It makes it interesting.” 

The Bulldogs opened up tonight’s action by draining six straight points before Colorado State put points on the board. Right after the Gamez scored her first points of the night, Colorado State drained 13 straight unanswered points.

The Bulldogs struggled defensively in the first half, allowing Ellie Boni and Mech to go 8-for-13 from the field. 

“In order to win games, we need defensive stops,” Haley Cavinder said. “First half and last game, it wasn’t showing as well. We had to focus on our defensive end that would create our offense.”

Fresno State had a tough time finding shots from the field in the first as the Bulldogs only made 12-of-29 shots (41%) and 4-of-10 (40%) from 3-point range in the first half.

The Cavinder twins struggled early with only five shots made from both sophomore guards. They attempted a total of 18 shots, including five 3-pointers.

The Rams shot 47% from the field and 41% from 3-point range.

To kick off the second half, the Bulldogs went on an eight-point scoring streak to tie the game at 49 — the first time they weren’t trailing since the beginning of the second quarter. Just moments after, Fresno State took the lead as Maddi Utti drove through with a layup and made the following free throw to take the lead.

In a tight fourth quarter, the Bulldogs gained their first sizable lead after the Cavinders added six points. With the clock ticking, the Rams pressed the Bulldogs with fouls, but Fresno State preserved its lead going 5-for-8 in free throws, ultimately winning the game.

Friday was the second time Fresno State played back-to-back nights. The Bulldogs opened up the season playing Lamar University and West Virginia on consecutive nights in the Thanksgiving South Point shootout in Las Vegas. 

According to head coach Jaime White, the Bulldogs will get the rest of the weekend off. The Cavinder twins led the team in scoring with 19 points each. Utti followed up with 16 points.

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