Fresno State will look to rebound from its Mountain West road slump when it returns Saturday to Save Mart Center for a game against Nevada.
The Bulldogs (10-8, 3-4), coming off losses at Boise State and Colorado State, host the Wolf Pack at 2 p.m.
Fresno State has homecourt advantage and history on its side – winners of the past seven games in the series, including a 71-70 escape in Reno this season.
Plenty has changed in the three weeks since the teams first met, with the Bulldogs still tinkering with their lineup after losing sophomore Breanne Knishka to a season-ending knee injury in a Jan. 3 practice.
Knishka had six assists, four rebounds and five points Dec. 31 in Reno – her last game before she was hurt. The Bulldogs trailed by as many as 12 points and were still down nine with 6 minutes to play.
That means the Wolf Pack cannot be overlooked, despite a 7-10 overall record and 1-5 mark in conference. Nevada, 10th in the 11-team conference, had lost five in a row before winning 56-51 on Wednesday at cellar-dwelling Air Force.
Shared opponents – Wyoming (14-3, 6-0) and New Mexico (9-8, 5-2) have beaten both the Bulldogs and Wolf Pack this season. Nevada held on for smaller margins of 13 and six points, respectively, while Fresno State suffered 22- and 26-point blowouts.
The Wolf Pack have the conference’s third-best scoring offense (69.4 ppg), trailing Boise State and San Jose State. Unlike the Bulldogs, Nevada is a threat at the free-throw line, shooting a Mountain West second-best 75.6 percent while the Bulldogs are third-worst at 64.8 percent.
Nevada guards Stephanie Schmid and Riana Everidge are averaging 12.8 and 12.6 points per game, respectively.
The Wolf Pack are second in rebounding, averaging 41.4, and third in rebounding margin (plus 3.8) behind 6-foot-3 Terae Briggs (7.9 per game) and 6-footer AJ Cephas (7.6).
The Bulldogs will need to be alert defensively in the paint and on the perimeter, with Nevada hitting 34 percent (104 of 306) of its 3-point attempts.
Fresno State junior center Bego Faz Davalos continues to average a double-double (14.2 points, 11.4 rebounds per game) while also being a defensive force. Her 3.67 blocks per game rank fourth nationally.
- 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)