Bulldogs suffer tough loss to Cowgirls after intense second half

Fresno State forward Aimee Book looking for an open pass in their game against Wyoming Feb. 12, 2022 at the Save Mart Center. (Anahi Jaramillo/ The Collegian)

Coming off a loss to Nevada in Reno last Saturday, the Fresno State Bulldogs were back home in the Save Mart Center to take on the Wyoming Cowgirls on Saturday with another tough 61-58 loss.

The Bulldogs got off to a very slow start, not scoring their first points until 5 minutes in the first quarter. Senior Wytalla Motta got them on the board with a mid-range jumper.

Head Coach Jaime White said how Motta’s jumper was a much needed bucket for the Bulldogs after their scoring drought. 

“They weren’t playing out on our post players and so for [Motta] to knock those down really helped us, especially when we weren’t scoring in some of the other ways,” Coach White said. “So I was pleased to see that. I think that helps her to know that and builds her confidence too.” 

Motta finished with 9 points, shooting 4-of-7 from the floor and grabbed 11 rebounds, adding two assists as well. 

Fresno State forward Wytalla Motta celebrating a point for the Bulldogs in their game against Wyoming on Feb. 12, 2022 at the Save Mart Center. (Anahi Jaramillo/ The Collegian)

Leading the way in scoring was the Cavinders, as Haley and Hanna both had 11 points each for Fresno State. Haley grabbed eight rebounds and also dished out four assists. Hanna pulled down four rebounds and led the Bulldogs in assists with five.  

Haley Cavinder and Motta were the combined high scorers in the first half for the Dog’s, scoring 7 points. Cavinder added three rebounds and two assists while Motta contributed six rebounds as well.  

Fresno State guard Haley Cavinder starts a play for the Bulldogs in their game against Wyoming Feb. 12, 2022 at the Save Mart Center. (Anahi Jaramillo/ The Collegian)

Coach White commented on the struggles they had scoring and how that contributed to them being down at halftime.

“Really if you look at it, we didn’t score in the first half. Let them score too many in the second quarter, but we fought hard and came back.”

The ‘Dogs offense came alive in the second quarter as they scored 16 of their 24 first-half points in that quarter. The Cowgirls,  however,  stayed  consistent offensively,  keeping their 37-24 lead into halftime.

After scoring 1 point in the first half, Hanna Cavinder got it going at the start of the third quarter with a jumper and then two free throws to lower the deficit to 9 points for the Bulldogs with around 7 minutes remaining.

But it wouldn’t be until the fourth quarter where Fresno State took its first lead of the game on a second-chance bucket by freshman Jessica Peterson, making it 48-47 with around 4 minutes left in the game. 

Coming off the bench, Peterson scored 8 points, shooting 3-of-6 from the field and also helped out on the glass, pulling down eight rebounds and adding a block as well.

“Yeah, Jess is strong. She’s strong and she has good height. She has a knack to find the ball offensively. I am sure some of those rebounds were offensive and [she] just really focused on the things she needs to do,” White said. 

Peterson talked about how she enjoyed contributing to the team, even though it was in a loss.

“It feels good. It would’ve felt better if we won, but it’s still good to you know contribute anyway I can,” Peterson said.  

With the Dogs’ down 59-53 with 34 seconds remaining, senior Aimee Book knocked down a clutch 3-pointer, making it just a 3 point game. Book had gone 0-for-3 in the game before hitting that three. 

White talked about how Book stepped up and took a shot in a big moment after not seeing the ball go through the net up to that point.

“Yeah you know she’s a shooter and she was set and ready and we really need to encourage our kids when they have that open moment and especially in game situations where you know they are doubling and triple-teaming some of our other kids they got to step up and knock em down,” White said.

But even with that clutch 3 from Book, the Bulldogs just couldn’t overcome the lead the Cowgirls built.

Although it was a rough first half, the Bulldogs picked up the energy and fought back hard in the second. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter where they came back from a double-digit Wyoming lead but the ‘Dogs weren’t able to sustain the energy they needed to complete the comeback. Losing a close one to the Cowgirls.

Overall, the Bulldogs shot 23-of-57 for the game which is 40% from the floor and 5-of-16 for 31% from beyond the arc in the loss.

Fresno State looks to get back in the win column against Nevada in the Save Mart Center on Valentines Day. Tip off is currently slated for 6 p.m. 

Fresno State forward Tamia Stricklin getting through a player in their game against Wyoming Feb. 12, 2022 at the Save Mart Center. (Anahi Jaramillo/ The Collegian)
Bulldogs cheer on their teammates as they add more points for the team in their game against Wyoming Feb. 12, 2022 at the Save Mart Center. (Anahi Jaramillo/ The Collegian)
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