Fresno State started hot, seemingly en route to its first win against an NCAA Division I team this season, with a big first-half lead at Saint Mary’s.
But the Gaels, who ended the Bulldogs’ 2014-15 season in the second round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament in March, reversed course and stole an 83-81 victory in the final seconds of overtime Friday at McKeon Pavilion.
With 2 seconds left, Saint Mary’s senior Lauren Nicholson hit an 18-foot jumper that rolled to the back of the rim, bounced off the glass, then fell into the net as the Gaels moved to 5-0.
The Bulldogs (1-4) are off to their slowest start since the 2007-08 team lost its first six games.
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The Bulldogs (1-4) had a last-ditch chance to tie, but Bego Faz Davalos’ layup missed the mark, and Fresno State suffered its third straight loss.
Davalos, a 6-foot-3 redshirt sophomore, also had a chance as time ran out in regulation, but her 6-foot jumper went off the front of the rim to keep it 73-73.
“You can’t ask for more,” coach Jaime White said. “We had a chance to win both times. … It’d be nice to have wrapped up the win on that one and move on.”
You can’t ask for more. We had a chance to win both times.
Jaime White, Fresno State coach
Alex Furr snapped out of her early-season shooting funk, making 3 of 4 from beyond the three-point arc to help the Bulldogs to a 28-16 first-quarter lead.
“It felt really good,” said Furr, a sixth-year senior from Athens, Texas, who had made 2 of 14 from distance in the first four games. “My confidence was down because I was in a little shooting slump, but my coaches and teammates told me to keep shooting, even if I missed 100 shots.”
4 Bulldogs who scored in double figures
Furr finished 6 of 8 on three-point attempts and scored 21 points. Inside, senior Toni Smith put up 12 of her 16 points in a first half that saw Fresno State lead by as many as 15.
In the second half, Saint Mary’s answered by going 18 of 26 (69.2 percent) from the field.
Sydney Raggio (21 points, 12 rebounds) and Stella Beck (12, 10) each had double doubles for the Gaels.
Nicholson scored 21 of her game-high 25 points after halftime. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, went backward, as Smith and Moriah Faulk fouled out in the final minutes of the fourth.
Saturday: Noon, Fresno State vs. Northeastern in Saint Mary’s Classic
Records: Fresno State 1-4, Northeastern 3-1 (lost 69-56 to Missouri on Friday)
Radio: KFPT (790 AM)