The last time a Fresno State women’s basketball team had a double-figure winning streak and a unbeaten record in conference play, it all came crashing down at San Jose State.
In 2011-12, Fresno State’s final season in the Western Athletic Conference, San Jose State ended the Bulldogs’ 12-game streak and 11-0 WAC start with a 62-61 victory on Feb. 25, 2012.
This year, the Bulldogs are 17-3 overall, 9-0 in the Mountain West and winners of 13 in a row to be tied for the eighth-longest active streak in the NCAA. They’ll have their fingers crossed Wednesday night hoping history doesn’t repeat itself when they face the Spartans at The Event Center.
It’s not just to continue the Bulldogs’ perfect record in the Mountain West, but what that record can do in terms of the postseason.
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Fresno State can’t afford to lose Wednesday if it wants to make the NCAA Tournament for an eighth consecutive year with a generous seed that could help push them past the first round for the first time in program history. The Bulldogs have never been seeded higher than No. 12 (2010-11, 2011-12) in its seven appearances.
Just like in 2011-12 and last season’s 68-66 loss in San Jose, the Spartans (9-11, 3-6) sport a sub-.500 record and are in the lower half of the conference standings. (For what it’s worth, the Spartans are ranked No. 250 in RPI and have the 277th overall toughest schedule of 349 programs in the NCAA. To compare, the Bulldogs are No. 30 in RPI and have the 53rd toughest schedule in the nation according to the NCAA website.)
For first-year coach Jaime White, that pressure doesn’t change her team’s game plan of focusing on small goals that will help reach those larger goals come the end of the season.
“It’s been the best for us to take it one game and one day at a time,” White said. “It’s hard because the season is so long and with every game there’s something else to look forward to or achieve. … This week having one game makes it really easy, and that’s our focus.”
San Jose State is 7-2 on its home floor this season, including an 88-78 win over Boise State on Jan. 21. The Spartans’ two home losses have been close — 72-68 in overtime to UNLV on Jan. 10 and 64-62 to New Mexico on Jan. 31.
The Bulldogs beat the Spartans 58-46 earlier this season in Fresno.
“I think we can get better from when we played (San Jose State) the first time,” White said. “We worked on some things and it’s going to be a little tricky, but I think putting pressure on them early will cause them to struggle.”
Fresno State’s quick transition play is orchestrated by guards Alex Furr, Shauqunna Collins and Raven Fox, who was named the Mountain West player of the week after scoring 14 and 15 points in wins over San Diego State and Colorado State. The three are each averaging just under 10 points per game, with senior forward Alex Sheedy leading the team with 16.5.
The Bulldogs return to action Feb. 11 vs. UNLV at Save Mart Center.