Fresno State downed Air Force 72-56 on Wednesday night, delivering a win the Bulldogs were longing for in the Mountain West women’s basketball race after losing 3 of 4.
Two huge runs to start the second and third quarters helped the Bulldogs take the lead and eventually pull away from the Falcons.
Fresno State (12-9, 5-5) went on a 14-0 spurt to open the second quarter, fueled by six straight points from junior center Bego Faz Davalos for a 24-12 lead with 6:35 remaining until halftime.
The win moves the Bulldogs (12-9, 5-5) into a tie for fifth with Boise State. The Broncos (15-6, 5-5) lost 60-53 at first-place Colorado State (17-5, 9-1) on Wednesday night.
Air Force (3-16, 1-8) responded with 10 straight and went into the locker room down two.
But it would get no closer. The Bulldogs bolted to a 13-0 start in the third quarter. Faz Davalos again got the offense rolling with back-to-back finishes in the post, before point guard Candice White and senior center Anais Kirvan got into the mix.
53.7 Fresno State’s shooting percentage for the game against Air Force. The Bulldogs made 29 for 54 from the field, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
Defensively, the Bulldogs forced 20 turnovers for the game, seven in the third quarter, and cashed them in for 20 points.
Faz Davalos finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in 25 minutes. White scored a team-high 18 on 6-of-9 shooting including 2 for 3 from beyond the arc to go with a perfect 4 for 4 from the foul line.
Three Bulldogs scored in double figures, with Kirvan putting up eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Air Force was led by Mariah Forde, who scored a game-high 19 including four 3-pointers. Dee Bennett added 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Falcons.
The Bulldogs are tied for fifth with Boise State (15-6, 5-5), which lost 60-53 at front-running Colorado State (17-5, 9-1).
Fresno State plays Saturday at San Diego State (8-12, 3-6). The Aztecs lost 80-67 to Wyoming on Wednesday.
FRESNO STATE AT SAN DIEGO STATE
- Saturday: 2 p.m. at Viejas Arena
- Records: Bulldogs 12-9, 5-5 Mountain West; Aztecs 8-12, 3-6 (lost 80-67 against Wyoming on Wednesday).
- Webcast: Mountain West Network (themw.com)