Fresno State outlasted Utah State 66-62 on Friday to close the Mountain West women’s basketball regular season and celebrate Senior Night in winning fashion at Save Mart Center.
The Bulldogs (19-10, 15-3) honored seniors Alex Furr, Toni Smith, Brittany Aikens, Moriah Faulk and Shauqunna Collins before the game, and all five were in the starting lineup.
But the Aggies (13-16, 8-10) nearly spoiled the festivities, erasing an 11-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter and pulling within one in the final minutes, down 63-62 with 1:39 to go.
Utah State freshman Katie Toole led the charge, scoring nine of her game-high 21 points.
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But the Bulldogs prevailed, making their next four at the free-throw line and forcing Toole to turn the ball over twice in the final 30 seconds, including an offensive foul when Collins planted herself in the lane for the charge.
“We really just had to make some plays down the stretch and I thought we did a good job,” coach Jaime White said. “It felt like a tournament game. Teams that aren’t going to go away and I felt like we had to adjust and adapt a bit to their height.”
We really just had to make some plays down the stretch and I thought we did a good job.
Fresno State coach Jaime White
Furr led the Bulldogs with 15 points. She made 4 of 5 from long range, including a pair of triples to open the game for Fresno State.
“I drank a lot of coffee,” Furr joked after the game. “I just wanted to go out with a bang.”
It was an especially emotional evening for the sixth-year senior, who asked head trainer Kelli Eberlein to walk her out to center court.
The two have a special relationship, as Furr owes much, if not all, of her playing career to Eberlein, who helped Furr recover from two surgeries on her left knee.
Every time I get something on the stat sheet, her name should be right beside it because I know I wouldn’t have been able to score or get a rebound if it wasn’t for her.
Bulldogs sixth-year senior Alex Furr on head trainer Kelli Eberlein, who helped her recover from two reconstructive knee surgeries.
“Every time I get something on the stat sheet, her name should be right beside it because I know I wouldn’t have been able to score or get a rebound if it wasn’t for her,” Furr said.
Faulk, Smith, and Bego Faz Davalos each finished with 12 points. Faz Davalos also added five blocks, capping her league record in conference-only games at 77. Her league single-season record stands at 119, with at least one more game remaining at the Mountain West Tournament.
“It was a nice game for our seniors to end on and be in front of their families and the fans,” White said. “It’s nice to have Senior Night over, there’s a lot of emotion involved in it and now we can focus on the task at hand and go to (Las) Vegas.”
The win gives the Bulldogs momentum heading into the postseason, especially after Tuesday’s 68-55 loss at first-place Colorado State.
Second-seeded Fresno State will play No. 7 Utah State or No. 10 Nevada in a Tuesday quarterfinal in Las Vegas. Nevada and Utah State meet at 4:30 p.m. Monday.
MOUNTAIN WEST TOURNAMENT: FRESNO STATE VS. NEVADA OR UTAH STATE
- Tuesday: 6 p.m. at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas
- Records: Bulldogs 19-10, 15-3 Mountain West; Wolf Pack 5-24, 4-14; Aggies 13-16, 8-10
- Of note: Fresno State is seeded second behind regular-season champ Colorado State. … Tenth-seeded Nevada faces No. 7 Utah State at 4:30 p.m. Monday. … Bulldogs swept both teams during the regular conference campaign.