Fresno State took some time to get its engine purring, but with a little patience eventually hit full throttle in the third quarter en route to a 88-74 comeback win against San Jose State on Saturday afternoon.
For the fifth consecutive game, and fourth straight in conference, the Bulldogs found themselves trailing at halftime, down 41-37 to the Spartans at Save Mart Center.
Fresno State, however, remained stoic. The quarter before, the Bulldogs cut a 12-point deficit to four and could feel the momentum beginning to swing in their favor.
“Even in the locker room at halftime, we were just calm and ready to come out. It was a quiet confidence I think we had, and we just came out firing,” senior forward Emilie Volk said.
Fresno State (9-6, 2-2 Mountain West) went straight for the kill, driving inside the paint to spark a 16-0 run to open the second half. The Bulldogs scored 36 points in the paint against San Jose State (4-11, 1-2), much to the delight of coach Jaime White.
“We recognized that the drive was open and also the opportunity we had, because we outmatched them in the post,” White said. “Once that recognition was there, I think our kids really bought into it.”
Bego Faz Davalos finally finished in double figures against a conference opponent, lighting up the Spartans for 20 points and 19 rebounds, nine of which were offensive. Volk scored a career-high 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 7 of 10 from the free-throw line. Sophomore point guard Candice White added 16 and freshman Kristina Cavey added 12.
“Coach White told us that we needed to step up, that there was going to be an opportunity, and we all did a great job,” Faz Davalos said. “Kristina, Tory (Jacobs), Candice, Kendra (Martin) all did a great job. It’s a great team win. I feel like that’s what we needed. We needed to rely on each other and trust each other.”
The Spartans were led by Jasmine Smith’s 16 points. Dezz Ramos, coming off back-to-back 30-plus games, finished with 12 points on 3-of-19 shooting, including just 1 of 11 from long range.
San Jose State had started the afternoon making 8 of 18 from beyond the arc, but fell cold after the Bulldogs switched to a tighter defense in the second half, when they made 1 of 15.
“I think our kids were comfortable and started to get in a good rotation,” White added. “I’m really proud of our kids and how they bounced back from the Wyoming game” (a 70-48 loss).
FRESNO STATE VS. AIR FORCE
- Wednesday: 7 p.m. at Save Mart Center
- Records: Bulldogs 9-6, 2-2 Mountain West;
- Falcons 2-10, 0-2
- Series/last meeting: Fresno State leads 9-0; Bulldogs won 63-48 on Feb. 24 in Colorado Springs.
- Webcast/radio: Mountain West Network (themw.com)/KFPT AM (790)
Fresno State 88, San Jose State 74
San Jose State
San Jose State: Ladd 8, Baird 8, Smith 16, West 9, Ramos 12, Kohlaas 5, Gennett 7, Turney 9. Totals: 26-72 (9-33). FT: 13-14. Fresno State: Jacobs 11, Faz Davalos 20, White 16, Volk 24, Martin 4, Kirvan 1, Cavey 12. Totals: 31-65 (6-17). FT: 20-32. 3-point Goals: San Jose State 9 (West 3), Fresno State 6 (White 2). Rebounds: San Jose State 36 (Smith 14), Fresno State 50 (Faz Davalos 19). Assists: San Jose State 17 (Turney 7), Fresno State 15 (Jacobs 4). Fouls: San Jose State 24, Fresno State 12.