With the loss of leading scorers Haley and Hanna Cavinder, someone is going to need to step up on offense for Fresno State’s women’s basketball team.
The Cavinder twins combined for 17 points per game last season, but before the season ended, they transferred to the University of Miami
Although two Bulldog stars left through the transfer portal, a new franchise player may have entered through it as Fresno State’s answer.
Amaya West joined the ‘Dogs from Nevada and gave Bulldog fans a look at what they can expect this season, scoring 20 points in Fresno’s exhibition match against San Francisco State on Nov. 4th.
“Amaya really played the way we know she can play,” said Fresno State Head Coach Jaime White. “Almost getting a double-double with 20 points and seven rebounds? I’m happy with that.”
The Bulldogs opened up their campaign at the Save Mart Center with a 75-59 win against the Gators.
The game got off to a back-and-forth start with both teams trading baskets. After the opening minutes, German guard Franka Wittenberg was substituted into the game. The freshman immediately drilled a corner 3-pointer that started a 12-3 run for the Bulldogs.
West capped off the run with a 3 of her own, putting Fresno ahead 21-10 with 3:52 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs’ impressive shooting continued, going almost 77% from the field and around 66% from beyond the arc in the first quarter.
However, San Francisco State guard Mya Blake kept her team in the game. The Gators’ primary ball-handler got off to a hot start, scoring 12 points on 66% shooting.
“I thought San Francisco State was tough. They’re solid, very athletic and that No. 10 [Blake] lit us up,” White said.
In the second quarter, the shooting slowed down for Fresno State, with forward Sydney Dethman scoring the ‘Dogs’ only field goal in the first seven minutes of that quarter.
After going nearly another five minutes without a basket, senior Amiee Book ended the drought, converting a second-chance layup after coming down with the offensive rebound.
“It was a great game from Amiee,” White said.
The Bulldogs shot 21% from the field. In addition to the poor shooting, they also had trouble keeping the ball, turning it over four times in the second quarter after only one turnover in the first quarter.
Despite the Bulldogs’ offensive struggles, they found themselves with a 17-point lead late in the first half, marking their largest of the game.
The third quarter saw much of the same for the Bulldogs as they continued to struggle to maintain possession. Fresno turned the ball over six times in the quarter, and San Francisco capitalized on it.
“I thought we had too many turnovers,” White said. “We had 15, which is ok, but the turnovers [from] carrying and throwing the ball out of bounds, that’s hard.”
Blake continued to carry the Gators’ offense, nailing a 3-pointer to whittle Fresno’s lead down to 10 points. The Dogs’ defense couldn’t find an answer for Blake as she scored 10 points in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs were able to build on the early lead they created for themselves, beating the Gators 75-59.
Bulldog freshmen Wittenberg and Maria Doreste played a majority of the final period. Each of them played over 20 minutes in their first game with the program since making the move from Europe.
“They’re tough and they’re good players. They can just play the game,” White said. “I thought they had some really good moments, especially offensively [with] being able to handle the ball, get to the rim [and] make great passes. When you’re young, sometimes the game gets fast. I’d like to see a little more defensively, but I was pleased with what I saw.”
Fresno State will be back in action on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Save Mart Center as it takes on the Fresno Pacific Sunbirds in its season opener.