Fresno State will look to rebound from a three-game slump Wednesday when it takes on Colorado State.
The last time the teams met also was the last time the Bulldogs won a game, a 53-49 victory on Jan. 31 at Save Mart Center.
The Bulldogs (17-6, 9-3 Mountain West) have since seen their unbeaten conference run end while falling out of first, losing to San Jose State, UNLV and Boise State. The past two losses have been in overtime and left Fresno State a half-game behind co-leaders Colorado State and New Mexico.
“We’ve got to get it all together on one night,” first-year coach Jaime White said. “We haven’t done it in a while. It feels good to be able to have that consistency, to know it’s there, whether if is defensively or offensively … we kind of wandered a little bit,” she said. “I hope we can get it back, and back when it means the most.”
In both of the OT losses, the Bulldogs had a chance to win in regulation but couldn’t get it done because of what their coach called “the little things.”
“You can’t eliminate them, but you can definitely dial them down,” White said.
Against UNLV, poor defense on an in-bounds play was costly as the Rebels’ Danielle Miller hit a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left in regulation and the Rebels went on to win 73-70. In Boise, the Bulldogs were down 56-55 with 4 seconds left when Moriah Faulk was fouled and given two free throws. She made the first to tie it but missed the second. The Broncos started overtime on a 7-0 run, three Bulldogs fouled out (Alex Sheedy, Faulk and Alex Furr), and Boise State won 75-66.
“We had an opportunity to win — not should’ve won,” White said.
Fresno State had 25 turnovers at San Jose State and matched that against Boise State — the Bulldogs’ second-highest total since giving away 29 in a 80-60 blowout loss at Cal State Bakersfield on Nov. 30.
“We just need to limit ourselves,” said Furr, a senior guard. “We don’t need to get in those situations anymore. It’s doing the small things as a team to be sure we can win the game.”
They also must figure out how to do that on the road, where the Bulldogs are 6-5 this season. Moby Arena figures to be a difficult place to improve those numbers, with the Rams (18-6, 10-3) having won 12 in a row on their home floor.
Colorado State is led by combo guards Gritt Ryder (10.9 points per game) and AJ Newton (10.2 ppg). Keyora Wharry (Edison High/Fresno City College) averages 6.7 points and 4.5 rebounds while playing all 24 games, including 12 starts.
“We need to come out throwing the first punch,” Bulldogs starting center Toni Smith said, “getting it done at the beginning so we won’t have to try and pick up the pieces.”