The Fresno State’s women’s basketball team, with one eye on the postseason, will salute its five seniors when it hosts Utah State on Friday in the regular-season finale.
It’ll be an evening filled with emotions for the Bulldogs as Alex Furr, Brittany Aikens, Moriah Faulk, Shauqunna Collins and Toni Smith will start in what may be their final home game. Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Save Mart Center.
Fresno State will wear its green Valley Pride jerseys, which it debuted last weekend against New Mexico.
“It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling,” Faulk said. “It’s awesome to know I accomplished so much on this journey at Fresno State, but the friendships and family and the little things from every day is what I’ll miss most.”
We’ve had so many changes that made me grow as a person. This program not only taught me about basketball but prepared me for life.
Moriah Faulk, on her experience with the Fresno State women’s basketball team
Above all, the group of seniors is thankful for one another, surviving the trials and tribulations of collegiate athletics, from wins and losses to shakeups of the coaching staff.
That adversity is what has made the Bulldogs the team they are now, Smith said.
“That definitely helped us and brought us a lot closer,” she said. “We’re a lot closer in the locker rooms and before and after games, and as long as we keep that it’ll show in our season.”
Coach Jaime White is grateful for the open relationship the team has built.
“It’s hard to make a transition with a new coach, and I appreciate them buying into what we are telling them and asking them to do,” she said. “As a coach you always get to see the growth in young people, and even though being here just two years, we’ve seen a lot.”
I don’t want to say it’s like a parent, but in a way it is because you’ve been there through the hard, the good, and the fun and you get to know their personalities and it’s been a joy to be around.
Fresno State head coach Jaime White, on coaching her seniors in their final game of the regular season
The celebration is not a final destination for the Bulldogs (18-10, 14-3), who head to next week’s Mountain West Conference tournament in Las Vegas as a definite contender for the championship and automatic NCAA Tournament berth.
Fresno State clinched the No. 2 seed and will look to build some momentum against the Aggies (13-15, 8-9), locked in a three-way tie for fifth with New Mexico and UNLV.
The Aggies are led by Funda Nakkasoglu’s 21.6 points per game, good for 13th in the nation. She scored 22 last time against the Bulldogs, but Fresno State outlasted Utah State 67-61 on Feb. 20 in Logan.
SENIOR NIGHT: FRESNO STATE VS. UTAH STATE
- Friday: 7 p.m. at Save Mart Center
- Records: Bulldogs 18-10, 14-3 MW; Aggies 13-15, 8-9
- Series: Fresno State leads 15-2
- Last meeting: Bulldogs won 67-61 on Feb. 20 in Logan
- Webcast/Radio: Mountain West Network (themwc.com)/KFPT (AM 790)
- Of note: Free parking will be available … first 250 fans into arena receive voucher for a medium soft drink … doors open at 6 p.m.