Cavinders lead second-half surge to defeat the Warriors

Fresno State guards Hanna and Haley Cavinder fight through double-team against Stanislaus State on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021 at the Save Mart Center. (Melina Kazanjian/The Collegian)

After a tough loss on the road at BYU over the weekend, the Fresno State women’s basketball team bounced back with a 88-71 victory over the Stanislaus State Warriors.

The Cavinder twins, Haley and Hannah, led their squad to the victory, combining for 21 points and 19 rebounds. 

Haley went 7-of-16 from the floor and shot 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. She recorded her second double-double of the season, adding 10 rebounds with 3 assists and 3 steals. She also did not turn the ball over in the 34 minutes she was on the floor.

Hanna went 6-of-14 from the floor and shot 2-of-3 from the 3-point line. She pulled down 9 boards, added 5 assists and a steal as well. She also shot 7-of-8 from the free-throw line.

Hanna caught up to her sister during last weekend’s away games reaching 1000 points in her career tying her sister Haley in the record books. 

The regular-season home opener started with the Bulldogs winning the tip and hitting their first shot of the game, a 3-pointer by Haley assisted by her sister Hanna. 

However, Stanislaus State stayed right with Fresno State throughout the first quarter, with Stanislaus State leading it 21-18 by the end of the quarter. 

“I think that we definitely were not overlooking this opponent at all, we were all frustrated with the slow start,” Haley said. 

The Bulldogs came out in the second quarter and reclaimed the lead in a hurry with a layup and a 3-pointer made by Hanna. They took the lead back 23-21 within the first minute of the second quarter.

Fresno State led the whole second quarter to finish out the first half up 36-32. 

By the ‘Dogs’ standards that was a down first half for them, and they were not happy with how they played on the defensive side of the ball. 

“Me and my teammates were just upset because of our performance on the defensive end. We have a lot of work to do with the defense,” Haley said. 

The Cavinders led the way in the first half for the Bulldogs, with Haley recording 11 points, three boards and two assists. Haley even swatted a shot. Hanna put up nine points in the half, grabbing four rebounds, two assists and a steal as well.

Fresno State guard Hanna Cavinder is honored for 1,000 career points as a Bulldog on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, at the Save Mart Center. (Melina Kazanjian/The Collegian)

Fellow starting guard Yanina Todorova also had a solid first half, scoring 9 points and swiping 2 steals as well.

Todorova finished the game with 16 points, shooting 5-of-11 from the floor and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc. She added 1 assist and grabbed 3 rebounds as well. Also showing off her defensive prowess, she led the team in steals on the night, swiping a career-high 4 steals.

Going into the third quarter, the Bulldogs came out of the locker room with a lot more energy and aggression on both ends. 

“In the locker room, we were getting the girls together and just saying ‘Focus on our defense. Let that be our offense’ because that’s what needed to be done,” Haley said.

The Bulldogs executed that focus on their defensive mentality going into the second half, coming out in the third quarter limiting the Warriors to 16 points. 

Offensively, the Bulldogs started to take off. They got more aggressive attacking the rim, drawing fouls and going to the free-throw line.

Senior Wytalla Motta had not yet got to play at home on the Save Mart Center court this year and seemed to be embellishing getting to be at home and it showed. When she checked in, Motta brought a lot of energy to the game and made some key plays, getting her team fired up. 

“I think it was in that third quarter where she came in and I think she either got a steal or a rebound on one end and then finished a layup on the other. Her speed and physicality at that position are really rare in our league and so she is able to take advantage of that quite a bit,” Head Coach Jamie White said. 

White mentioned how Motta’s experience as a senior makes her one of the leaders of the team.

“[Motta] also has seniority. You know she has some leadership because she’s been here. She chose to come back which was nice and have another year, so we really look to her for all of those things,” Head Coach White said, “Also you know her rebounding and just ability to really bang inside the post is valuable to us.”

Todorova hit a last-second corner 3 on an assist by Hanna Cavinder that helped them push the ‘Dogs’ lead to 21 points. 

With a score of 69-48 at the end of the third quarter.

The ‘Dogs scored twice as much in the third quarter as the Warriors, scoring 33 points and only giving up 16.

In the fourth quarter, Fresno State continued to score at will and showed no signs of stopping with the defensive mentality they started the half with. 

Hanna caught up to her sister during last weekend’s away games reaching 1000 points in her career tying her sister Haley in the record books. 

The ‘Dogs shot 41% from the field, 46% from the three-point line and 72% from the free-throw line.

Fresno State will be back at the Save Mart Center to host the Cal State Northridge Matadors on Tuesday at 6 p.m. 

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