Things aren’t looking good for Fresno State as the Mountain West women’s basketball season approaches the midway point.
For the second straight game, the Bulldogs saw a come-from-behind effort vanish Wednesday night, this time losing 73-56 against Colorado State in Fort Collins. Fresno State was coming off a 67-66 setback at Boise State.
The Bulldogs (10-8, 3-4 MW) now sit three spots from the bottom of the conference standings during a month that used to be very good to the program in its first two seasons under coach Jaime White. The Bulldogs were a combined 15-0 in January before 2017 came around.
On Jan. 3, starting sophomore forward Breanne Knishka suffered a season-ending knee injury, and the Bulldogs have never been the same, especially on defense, according to White.
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Fresno State next hosts Nevada at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Save Mart Center.
“We’re scoring OK, but defensively we are struggling to get stops. We’re still trying to find our way with different lineups,” she said.
Seniors Kendra Martin and Emilie Volk and freshman Kristina Cavey have helped fill the void, but they had difficulty stopping the Rams (13-5, 5-1) from winning their fourth game in a row.
Martin hit a 3-pointer from the elbow, her second 3 in an 11-3 scoring run that gave the Bulldogs a 40-36 lead with 5:52 left in the third period.
The Rams, however, found their answer in sophomore sharpshooter Amanda Kantzy, who scored 16 points off the bench. With the score 42-42, Kantzy hit a 15-foot jumper to give the Rams the lead and followed with four 3-pointers in a 17-4 turnaround.
“It’s kind of the same thing we did at Boise (State). We answered some runs. A couple of those we answered well and one we didn’t. We knew we had to play well tonight, and I thought we did at times. We just didn’t finish the job,” White said.
With 11 games left in the regular season and few solutions in sight, it’s beginning to look bleak for Fresno State – at stake are a high seed and possible first-round bye at the conference tournament in March along with a nine-year streak of 20-plus win seasons.
“It’s just a little bit of everything right now: us being young, playing a good team in a hard environment,” White said. “It is what it is. It’s hard and we just have to keep getting better.”
Notable – The Bulldogs scored only 20 points in the paint against the Rams, their lowest total in conference play this season. Junior center Bego Faz Davalos was double-teamed early, and Fresno State couldn’t find an alternative as her kickout passes to open teammates often ended up in missed shots. The Bulldogs shot just 4 of 17 (23.5 percent) in the first quarter and 22 of 59 (37.3) for the game. Faz Davalos finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds for her 13th double-double of the season. Sophomore point guard Candice White had a team-high 19 points and 12 rebounds for her first career double-double.
FRESNO STATE VS. NEVADA
- Saturday: 2 p.m. at Save Mart Center
- Records: Bulldogs 10-8, 3-4 Mountain West; Wolf Pack 7-10, 1-5 (Nevada made 26 of 34 free throws to beat Air Force 56-51 on Wednesday).
- Series/last meeting: Fresno State leads 41-10; Bulldogs won 71-70 on Dec. 31 in Reno.
- Webcast/radio: Mountain West Network (themw.com)/KFPT AM (790)