Fresno State got a rude awakening to begin the Mountain West portion of their schedule, as New Mexico handed the Bulldogs an 80-54 blowout loss Thursday night at Save Mart Center.
From the opening tip, the Bulldogs (7-5, 0-1 MW) never appeared to hold their own against the Lobos (5-6, 1-0) as they lost their first conference opener under third-year coach Jaime White.
New Mexico’s 6-foot-5 center Richelle van der Keijl zeroed in on junior center Bego Faz Davalos, and took over the post leaving Fresno State’s offense dazed and confused. As a result, the Bulldogs’ shots were forced and often times uncomfortable, resulting in a 33.9 shooting percentage (20 of 59) for the game.
On the other end, Van der Keijl ran the paint, scoring nine of her 16 points in the first period. Things eventually got worse for Fresno State, as the Lobos climbed to a 16-point lead at the half.
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Cherise Beynon led New Mexico with 20 points, nine boards and six assists while Alex LaPeyrolerie added 19 points, including 3 of 6 from long range. The Lobos outrebounded the Bulldogs 49-29, including 17-9 on the offensive glass.
Emilie Volk was the Bulldogs’ only scorer in double figures with 10 points to go with six rebounds. Faz Davalos finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
Stat of the night – New Mexico scored 46 points in the paint, the highest total allowed by Fresno State this season. The Lobos saw 18 of those points come off second chances and 11 via fast breaks, beating the Bulldogs on the glass and in transition.
Quote of the night – “Obviously it’s not a way you want to start conference, especially at home, but from a loss you learn. It’s a sour taste in your mouth but we’ve got to turn a new leaf and have a sense of urgency quicker. I think early we just were mentally out of it,” Bulldogs’ senior captain Emilie Volk said.
More on this later – Fresno State came out slow against New Mexico, and it proved fatal as the Bulldogs could never catch up. Head coach Jaime White attributed the loss to her team’s youth and lack of toughness, both of which will need to be addressed as the conference race picks up. “I feel like we’re not extremely mentally tough. Things didn’t go the way we thought they should and all of a sudden the sirens go off and we lose our heads a little bit. That’s a sign of being young, and we have a lot of youth out there, but you got to play,” White said.
FRESNO STATE VS. NEVADA
- Saturday: 2 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center
- Records: Bulldogs 7-5, 0-1 Mountain West; Wolf Pack 6-6, 0-1
- Webcast: Mountain West Network (themw.com)