Fresno State will try to get a late push of momentum from its regular-season finale at UNLV on Friday before shifting its focus to the Mountain West Conference tournament.
The Bulldogs and Rebels tipoff at 6 p.m. Friday at the Thomas & Mack Center, the same site as next week’s tournament.
It’s a chance for the Bulldogs to get familiar with the environment and repair what’s left of an atypically mediocre season.
Fresno State lost 66-48 to Boise State on Tuesday to drop four of its last five games.
“Well, we go back to work and we try to beat UNLV,” coach Jaime White said. “It’s just like any other game, and it’s really important this time of year that you take it one game at a time and you don’t get overly anxious about the whole picture. At this point in the game, you’ve got to keep winning so you want to take it one game at a time.”
The Rebelshad won five in a row before losing 58-49 at Utah State on Tuesday, a result that pushed Fresno State to seventh in the conference standings.
However, UNLV will return to its home court where it has gone 10-2 this season with only losses to Colorado State and San Jose State. The Bulldogs are 5-6 in away games.
The Rebels are led by twins Dakota and Dylan Gonzalez, who are scoring 13.9 and 10.4 points per game, respectively.
Ex-Hanford High star and senior point guard Brooke Johnson is in between the two, averaging 12.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and has dished a team-high 56 assists for the Rebels. She leads the conference in steals with 2.56 per game and leads UNLV in 3-point shooting (32.8 percent, 22 for 67) and free-throw percentage (76.9 percent, 50 for 65).
The Bulldogs, behind the leadership of junior center Bego Faz Davalos (14.6 points, 11.0 rebounds per game) and sophomore point guard Candice White (15.1 ppg), will need to limit all three to put themselves in position to do damage.
It’s the only meeting of the season for the teams. Fresno State won all three meetings last season, twice in season and again in the conference tournament semifinals.
“I’m excited for what’s coming next,” Faz Davalos said. “UNLV is a good team and I think we can beat them and go in hard to the tournament.”
FRESNO STATE AT UNLV
- Friday: 6 p.m. at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
- Records: Bulldogs 15-13, 8-9 Mountain West; Rebels 20-9, 11-6
- Webcast: Mountain West Network (themw.com)