Fresno State’s women’s basketball roster may be young, but its underclassmen know full well of the Bulldogs’ rivalry with Colorado State.
The programs have battled constantly for the Mountain West’s top spot in the regular season and have met in the championship game of the conference tournament two of the past three years.
Fresno State won the tournament in 2014 in its final season under coach Raegan Pebley.
Last season, Jaime White coached the Bulldogs back to the championship game, only to see the Rams steal a 55-54 win at the foul line with three seconds remaining.
Fresno State (10-7, 3-3) visits the Rams (12-5, 4-1) Wednesday for a regular-season rematch in Fort Collins, Colo. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Moby Arena.
Only junior center Bego Faz Davalos and senior Emilie Volk were on both of those Fresno State teams that reached the two finals against Rams. But they’ve told their teammates about the relationship with Colorado State, according to starting sophomore point guard Candice White.
“Sometimes I would forget it, but I’m reminded by our upperclassmen that it’s definitely a big rivalry,” White said in a phone interview from Colorado. “And taking it as a rivalry will be good for us because, one, we need to win and, two, nothing is better than beating Colorado State at Colorado State.”
White is second on the team in scoring at 13.9 points per game, helping to alleviate the offensive workload on 6-foot-3 Faz Davalos. White is shooting 47.9 percent from the field and leads the conference with a 90.2 percent clip (46 of 51) from the free-throw line, which ranks 15th nationally.
1-4 Fresno State’s record against Colorado State in Jaime White’s first two seasons as coach
Historically, the Bulldogs have struggled against the Rams in the Jaime White era, losing the last four in the series.
“It comes down to us just competing all 40 minutes and staying strong together as a team,” Candice White added. “Everyone should be prepared. You never know what’s going to happen.”
FRESNO STATE VS. COLORADO STATE
- Wednesday: 6 p.m. at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo.
- Records: Bulldogs 10-7, 3-3 Mountain West; Rams 12-5, 4-1 (Colorado State hit 18 3-pointers in beating New Mexico 78-63 on Saturday)
- Series/last meeting: Colorado State leads 12-7; Rams won 55-54 in Mountain West Tournament final March 11, 2016, in Las Vegas.
- Webcast: Mountain West Network (themw.com)
- The skinny: Junior center Bego Faz Davalos leads the Bulldogs in scoring (14.4 ppg) and rebounds (11.4 rpg), while ranking second in the nation in blocks (63) and fourth in double-doubles (12). The Rams have won three in a row and seven of their past eight. They are led by senior guard and MW Preseason Player of the Year Ellen Nystrom (15.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg). Colorado State boasts one of the nation’s best defenses, ranking second nationally in shooting defense (holding opponents to 32.6 percent from the field) and sixth in scoring (allowing 52.9 ppg).