Fresno State took a step toward restarting its women’s basketball season, blowing out to a big lead in a 64-58 win over Air Force on Saturday for a road split to begin Mountain West play.
After a preseason as inconsistent as their 5-6 record would indicate, the Bulldogs dropped the conference opener at Nevada 90-73 on Thursday. But the schedule delivered an ego-boosting opponent in the winless Falcons.
Candice White scored 20 points, hitting four free throws to remain the only player in the nation perfect at the line (51 for 51). White has made 57 straight dating to last season, sixth-best in NCAA history.
The final score offered only the illusion of closeness.
By halftime, it was 40-18, and Fresno State (6-7, 1-1) still was up 20 with 6:33 to play.
Air Force (0-13, 0-2) got within 60-55 with 52 seconds left, but Aly Gamez and White each hit two free throws to offset a 3-pointer at the horn.
Maddi Utti, the often-impressive freshman from Seaside, Ore., scored 18 points, two under her season high, to go with seven rebounds and four assists.
The Bulldogs fell just short of their season scoring average of 66.1 points per game but shot 51.1 percent from the field (24 of 47) and were 6 of 13 from distance.
Fresno State was third in 3-point shooting in the conference to begin the day, but ninth out of 11 in overall field-goal percentage at .378.
Air Force freshman Kaelin Immel scored 24 points on 9-for-22 shooting.
The Falcons dug a big hole in part by going 5 for 28 from the field in the first two quarters. They bounced back slightly in the second half to finish 20 of 61.
FRESNO STATE VS. UTAH STATE
- Wednesday: 7 p.m. at Save Mart Center
- Records: Bulldogs 6-7, 1-1 Mountain West; Aggies 3-10, 1-1
- Webcast/radio: Mountain West Network (themw.com)/KFPT (AM 790)
- Of note: Bulldogs, after two straight on road to begin conference play, return to Save Mart Center where they are 4-2 this season, just 8-7 a year ago but 12-2, 12-4, 15-1, and 12-4 from 2012-13 through 2015-16. … Utah State went on road and won only meeting last season, 52-47, snapping Bulldogs’ 16-game series winning streak. It also was Aggies’ first win in 23 games at Fresno State. … Leading scorers Olivia West (15.8 ppg) and Rachel Brewster (10.6) are two of four Australians on team. West sat out with illness as Utah State beat visiting San Diego State 62-58 on Saturday.