Alex Sheedy is dialed in.
The 6-foot-1 Fresno State senior from Australia has been playing some of the best basketball of her career in recent weeks, leading the Bulldogs (21-8, 13-5 Mountain West) in scoring in their past six games, including three in which she dropped 20-plus.
On Monday, the Mountain West Conference named Sheedy its co-Player of the Year along with Colorado State’s Gritt Ryder after a regular-season conference campaign that saw her finish fifth in scoring (15.8 points per game) and 10th in rebounding (6.7 per game) and steals (1.7 per game). Sheedy also had five double-doubles, tying for third in the league.
Her recent surge, however, follows one of the worst performances of her collegiate career.
In Fresno State’s 75-66 overtime loss at Boise State on Feb. 14, Sheedy played a season-low 14 minutes and finished with just four points. It was the third loss in a row for Fresno State following a 13-game winning streak that fueled the team to a 17-3 start the season.
The following week in practice Sheedy pressed her teammates to help get her in the zone during games, even if that meant “slapping her into it.”
With her teammates hounding her mental game, Sheedy got another spark when her 18-year-old brother, Jack, and mom Debra arrived in Fresno a few days later.
On Feb. 25, Sheedy matched her career-high of 25 points and shot 3 of 6 from beyond the arc to fuel the Bulldogs to a 67-50 win over Wyoming.
On Senior Night, with her dad, Paul, and grandfather William joining the rest of the family in Fresno, Sheedy scored 22 points, including the game-tying 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. The Bulldogs went on to win 55-52.
“I feel like I’ve had a bit of a reset,” Sheedy said. “I had a talk with the team, came back and reset my life and got back into it. I feel much stronger and more confident in my game. These last performances are because of everyone believing in me.”
The late 3-pointer against Wyoming was a major highlight in Sheedy’s career and brought tears to the eyes of her mom and brother, who hadn’t seen his sister play in person at Fresno State since her freshman season.
“It’s been fantastic to see her play,” he said. “We have Skype and we’re able to talk, but it’s different being able to see her face to face.”
Sheedy’s mother visits Fresno more often, making the trip at least twice a year.
“I try to come for these run of games to give some support,” Debra said. “You do as much as you possibly can for your child.”
The Sheedys will head to Las Vegas for a final time to support the Bulldogs at the conference tournament.
“There’s a bit of apprehension for the coming events,” Paul Sheedy said. “We’re just looking forward to the future and what it holds for her. Anything can happen.”
Sheedy’s stellar play couldn’t have come at a better time for the Bulldogs, who have a 21-4 record in the month of March since the 2011-12 season and open the conference tournament at 8:30 p.m. today as the No. 3 seed against No. 6 Wyoming.
More MW honors
Senior point guard Raven Fox was named the Mountain West’s Sixth Player of the Year and freshman center Bego Faz Davalos was named to the All-Freshman team.
Fox, who was also named to the All-Defense team, came off the bench in 13 of 18 MW games for the Bulldogs, playing an average of 24.7 minutes per game. She averaged 7.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.6 assists.
Faz Davalos had 70 blocks in conference play to break three single-season Mountain West records: most blocks in conference play, most blocks by a freshman in conference and most in a single season (currently at 94). She needs 12 more blocks to break the Mountain West overall single-season record.
Also receiving individual conference honors were Nevada’s Mimi Mungedi (Defensive Player of the Year), Wyoming’s Jordan Kelley (Newcomer of the Year) and Utah State’s Funda Nakkasoglu (Freshman of the Year). New Mexico’s Yvonne Sanchez was Coach of the Year after guiding the Lobos to a 14-2 mark over their final 16 regular-season games to finish second in the Mountain West at 14-4.