The Fresno State women’s basketball team is atypically mediocre, stuck in the middle of the Mountain West Conference standings and at 14-12 overall.
Consecutive home games, starting with Wednesday’s visit by San Diego State, offer chances to raise hopes for a final run at a top-five seed for the conference tournament. Still, even Save Mart Center has been less than kind. The Bulldogs – with a streak of nine straight 20-win seasons – are 7-6 on their home floor in 2016-17.
There is this: Fresno State beat San Diego State 59-51 on the road Feb. 4 amid the Bulldogs’ best run of the season, a three-game conference winning streak. Recent events, however, have snapped them back to reality and a three-game losing streak.
Rebounding and free-throw shooting remain major issues, with deficiencies in both on clear display in Saturday’s 66-57 loss at New Mexico. The Bulldogs were beat on the boards 54-34 and made 2 of 4 free throws compared with the Lobos’ 11 of 16.
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For the season in conference games, the Bulldogs are 11th and last in free-throw percentage (.598) and near the bottom in rebounding (34.9 per game) and rebounding margin (minus-3.4).
6.5Average margin of victory in the past eight games between Fresno State and San Diego State
When the Bulldogs won in San Diego, they fared better in both areas. Junior center Bego Faz Davlos scored 23 points to go with 19 rebounds as Fresno State won the boards 42-29. Sophomore guard Candice White was 4 for 4 at the line and though the Bulldogs hit just 8 of 14 as a team, the Aztecs made 4 of 9.
Repeat that Wednesday and Fresno State will be set up to try to take down two of the three teams ahead of it in the Mountain West standings. At 7-8, the Bulldogs are two games in the loss column out of fifth in a conference where the top five earn automatic quarterfinal berths in the league tournament.
San Diego State (9-16, 4-10) is 10th, but remaining on the schedule are fifth-place Boise State (18-7, 8-6) at home next Tuesday and fourth-place UNLV (18-8, 9-5) on March 3 in Las Vegas.
The conference tournament follows in Las Vegas, beginning for the Bulldogs either the following Monday (if they finish sixth or worse) or a day later in the quarters.
FRESNO STATE VS. SAN DIEGO STATE
- Wednesday: 7 p.m. at Save Mart Center
- Records: Bulldogs 14-12, 7-8 Mountain West; Aztecs 9-16, 4-10 (lost 80-62 to UNLV on Saturday)
- Webcast/radio: Mountain West Network (themw.com)/KFPT (AM 790)