Fresno State’s second-half comeback started strong but quickly unraveled and with it likely the Bulldogs’ chances at the No. 2 seed for the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
The Lobos hit five of their last six shots Saturday to hold off the Bulldogs women’s basketball team 63-60 in front of 6,558 fans at The Pit in Albuquerque.
With two games remaining, Fresno State (19-8, 11-5) is third in the MW standings, 11/2 games behind second-place New Mexico (17-11, 13-4) and two behind first-place Colorado State (21-6, 13-3). They each have one game remaining.
The Bulldogs went on a 14-4 run — highlighted by a pair of left-handed layups by Raven Fox — to take their biggest lead of the game at 48-43 with just over 7 minutes to play. New Mexico stormed back, with Antiesha Brown scoring 16 of her game-high 21 points in the second half, including a layup to put New Mexico in front by five with 1:21 remaining.
The Bulldogs still had some gas left in the tank. Robin Draper and Alex Furr sank back-to-back 3s to make it a one-possession game with the Lobos ahead 61-59 with :19 seconds to go — but it was too little, too late as the Lobos were in the double-bonus and the Bulldogs, only left to foul, sent Brown to the line and she made both free throws.
Fresno State got a sliver of light on the next play as Alex Sheedy was fouled on her 3-point attempt with :04 seconds left. She made the first shot but missed the next two with the Bulldogs unable to pull down the rebound as time expired.
The Bulldogs had 20 turnovers, leading to 16 Lobos points, all on fastbreaks. Fresno State point guards Fox and Shauqunna Collins combined for 13 turnovers.
New Mexico outrebounded Fresno State 38-31 and 16-9 on the offensive end. Brown led the Lobos with nine and Cherise Beynon hauled in eight to go with 12 points. Khadijah Shumpert added 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 5 of 5 from the charity stripe and five rebounds as the Lobos finish a perfect home run in conference play at 9-0.
The Bulldogs shot 44.2% (23 of 52), including 4 of 12 on the 3-pointers. Sheedy led the team with 17 points and seven rebounds. Toni Smith added 10 points, two rebounds and two blocks. Fox finished with eight points on a perfect 4 of 4 from the field, to go with three steals.
Fresno State plays its final road game of the regular season Tuesday against Air Force before Senior Night on Friday against Boise State.