For a brief moment, the Save Mart Center had gone silent.
Fresno State was getting annihilated by San Diego State in early February, and some of the chatter from the stands could be heard courtside.
"Bring back Coach Wiggins," a fan yelled.
It likely wasn't the first time someone yearned aloud for the return of Adrian Wiggins, the former and popular Bulldogs women's basketball coach. It probably wasn't the last time, either.
Raegan Pebley professes that she hasn't heard that talk. Make no mistake, though, she has understood the pressures of replacing the coach who ushered Fresno State to five straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
But simply knowing what she was stepping into didn't exactly make the process any less difficult.
The main challenge was convincing players who were used to winning championships the Wiggins way that her way would work, too.
That required Pebley and her staff to build trust with the players, an ongoing process even as the Bulldogs head into their sixth straight NCAA Tournament with their first-year coach.
No. 15-seeded Fresno State will face No. 2 Cal on Saturday in Lubbock, Texas. The Bulldogs are trying to become the first 15th-seeded team to advance to the second round in Tournament history.
"Honestly, my intention in coming here once I took the job wasn't about proving anyone wrong or proving anyone right," Pebley said. "It was just doing what God needed me to do. If that meant we get to go win 24 wins in our first year, then that's pretty awesome. If that meant we lost games but we changed some lives with a positive influence, then that was awesome.
"I felt like we could do both. But we can't do any of it without the players committing themselves to us."
Bumps along the way
Before replacing Wiggins last spring after he left to coach at the University of Mississippi, Pebley was at Utah State.
She left as Utah State's winningest coach, though with a losing record -- 110-155 in nine seasons. But in Pebley's final season, Utah State finished 21-10 for its first 20-win season. What made Pebley's accomplishment most notable was that the program had been dropped in 1987 before Pebley helped restore it in 2002.
But for all that Pebley accomplished in resurrecting the Aggies program, what some Bulldogs fans and players focused on was that Utah State had lost 10 straight games to Fresno State.
She also had never been head coach of an NCAA Tournament team.
"There was a lot of apprehension," Bulldogs senior Rosie Moult said. "We really didn't know what to expect. We just tried to buy in and hoped for the best."
The biggest change for the players was getting used to Pebley's preferred method of playing at different paces. Not always fast, not always slow. But always valuing each possession, which for the most part requires a slower tempo than how Fresno State operated under Wiggins.
Madison Parrish, a budding star and a key contributor for the 2011-12 team, didn't stick around to see whether the coaching change would work and transferred to Fresno City College. She'll play for University of the Pacific next season.
Top star Ki-Ki Moore remained at Fresno State, although her unhappiness with the system was evident early in the season. She'd sometimes slouch after starting an attack to the basket, but then being forced to wait for the rest of the team to get downcourt to run a set play.
Point guard Taylor Thompson, too, seemed unsure at times whether she had the green light on breaks. She'd slow her dribble and turn back and look at the coaches to see what play to run.