It was a scenario all too familiar for Fresno State: a double-digit lead erased by an opponent in the final minutes, a tie score in the final seconds.
This time, the Bulldogs had the poise to come out on top, shocking host New Mexico in a 69-65 double-overtime thriller Saturday afternoon in front of an announced crowd of 5,493 at WisePies Arena in Albuquerque.
Sixth-year senior Alex Furr took on the Lobos’ home crowd with ease, hitting all 10 of her free-throw attempts, including a pair with 14 seconds remaining in the second overtime to seal the victory. Furr finished with 15 points and four assists, and the Bulldogs (6-7, 2-0 Mountain West) also ended their winless streak on the road.
“Personally, I like big crowds,” Furr said. “I think it’s my job as a senior to show our younger players that you’ve got to step up to the line and make those shots.”
It was a battle the entire game, but I never felt like we were going to lose this game. We wanted it bad and stayed focused.
Fresno State senior guard Alex Furr, who had 15 points, including a perfect 10 of 10 from the free-throw line
The Bulldogs hit a rut in the second quarter, as the Lobos held them to 0-of-8 shooting from the field. Furr made up for it at the line, going 6 of 6 to preserve a 22-18 lead heading into halftime.
Fresno State went up by as many as 11 – leading 44-33 with just over 7 minutes left in the fourth quarter – before New Mexico (8-5, 1-1) came back on a 10-0 scoring run fueled by five Bulldogs turnovers.
It nearly all fell apart for the Bulldogs in the final seconds of regulation. With her team leading 46-45, Moriah Faulk was called for a foul, sending New Mexico’s Cherise Beynon to the line for a chance to steal the victory with 4.5 seconds remaining.
Beynon missed her first shot, then made the second to force the first overtime.
4Bulldogs scoring in double figures: Moriah Faulk 16, Alex Furr 15, Toni Smith 11, Bego Faz Davalos 10
In the first extra 5 minutes, Faulk redeemed herself, making a big three-pointer to tie the score 56-56 with 51 seconds to go.
In the second overtime, Faulk continued her long-range attack. Down 60-58, Faulk drew a foul on her first three-point shot of the period against New Mexico star forward Khadijah Shumpert. The foul was her fifth, and the Lobos’ leading scorer with 23 points and 10 rebounds was forced to watch the final 4:08 from the bench.
Faulk made all three shots. A minute later, she hit another triple for a 64-60 lead.
Fresno State (2-0), San Jose State (2-0) and Colorado State (1-0) are the only unbeaten teams remaining in the Mountain West.
New Mexico tied it up on a jumper from Laneah Bryan, but the Bulldogs went back in front on a layup from Toni Smith. Faulk kept the Lobos down, blocking Jayda Bovero’s layup. Furr then put it away from the line.
“It was do or die, you know. We already went through one overtime. We definitely weren’t going to lose the second,” Faulk said. “We’re just ready to go now. It’s a new mindset, and we’re prepared to finish games now. We’re a lot more composed now.”
It was do or die, you know. We already went through one overtime. We definitely weren’t going to lose the second.
Moriah Faulk, Fresno State senior guard
FRESNO STATE AT NEVADA
- Wednesday: 6:30 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center in Reno
- Records: Bulldogs 6-7, 2-0 Mountain West; Wolf Pack 1-12, 0-2 (lost 68-53 to Wyoming on Saturday)
- Internet: Mountain West Network (www.themwc.com)