It took a while, but Save Mart Center finally feels like home for the Fresno State women’s basketball team.
After a week when the Bulldogs lost starting forward Breanne Knishka to a season-ending knee injury and suffered a shocking 70-48 defeat at Wyoming, Fresno State found solace on its home court.
The Bulldogs (9-6, 2-2 Mountain West Conference) had a 16-0 run to open the second half in an 88-74 comeback win against San Jose State on Saturday.
We’ve constantly been uncomfortable (this season), but that makes for a stronger team. Hopefully we’re getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and ready to play anybody off the bench, different lineups, whatever it is.
Fresno State coach Jaime White
Coach Jaime White was waiting for that response.
“It’s been odd this whole season because we hadn’t felt comfortable in Save Mart yet and I felt like we finally were,” White said. “We felt comfortable playing in front of our home crowd, were comfortable shooting, and comfortable finishing out a game.”
Freshmen Katelin Noyer, Saraya Smith and Kristina Cavey helped put the Bulldogs at ease. Cavey scored 12 points off the bench against the Spartans. In a 71-70 win over Nevada, Noyer, a 6-foot-4 center from New Zealand, scored a career-high 12 after Fresno State’s centers ran into foul trouble.
It’s pretty unbelievable how fast it has gone. I wasn’t expecting that much time being a freshman coming in, but it’s been a great amount of time that I’ve been able to get on and go for it.
Katelin Noyer, Fresno State 6-4 freshman center
“I think we know the cards we’ve been dealt and the issues we’ve faced and I think we’re trying to respond in the best way we can,” said Cavey, who prepped at Berthoud High School in Colorado.
On Wednesday, the Bulldogs host Air Force in a Mountain West game. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. The Falcons (2-11, 0-3) are 0-9 against Fresno State.
Still, White isn’t taking any chances against an Air Force team she believes is better than last season’s.
“With young kids, and changes in the lineup, we’re still trying to get sure,” White said. “We’ve constantly been uncomfortable (this season), but that makes for a stronger team. Hopefully we’re getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and ready to play anybody off the bench, different lineups, whatever it is.”
FRESNO STATE VS. AIR FORCE
- Wednesday: 7 p.m. at Save Mart Center
- Records: Bulldogs 9-6, 2-2 Mountain West; Falcons 2-11, 0-3
- Series/last meeting: Fresno State leads 9-0; Bulldogs won 63-48 on Feb. 24 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Webcast/radio: Mountain West Network (themw.com)/KFPT AM (790)
- Salute to Services game: All local active military and veterans will get in free.