The Fresno State women’s basketball team is feeling pretty good after its first trip of the season.
The Bulldogs (3-2) went 2-0 over the weekend to win the Loyola Marymount Thanksgiving Classic, with junior center Bego Faz Davalos racking up a trio of awards along the way.
Faz Davalos was named the tournament MVP and earned a spot on the all-tournament team, and on Monday she was named the Mountain West Player of the Week after leading Fresno State to wins against Belmont and UC Irvine.
Sophomores Candice White and Breanne Knishka showed improvement on offense and defense. White scored a career-high 21 points against the Anteaters while Knishka held her two defensive assignments to a combined 4 of 20 from the field, including 2 of 10 from the perimeter.
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It’s given a boost to the Bulldogs (3-2), who host USF in a nonconference game at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Save Mart Center. The Dons (4-2) are the Bulldogs’ second of four opponents this season that are coming off NCAA Tournament appearances.
Fresno State already beat one in Belmont, winning 63-45 on Friday to snap a two-game losing streak, and will travel to Final Four participant and No. 13-ranked Washington on Sunday.
It’s arguably the toughest stretch of games the Bulldogs will face this season – and Faz Davalos is ready for it.
Bego Faz Davalos tied her career high in scoring with 24 points against Belmont, then had 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting against UC Irvine to be named the Mountain West’s Player of the Week on Monday.
“We’re focused,” she said before Monday’s practice. “I feel like it’s going to be a good week.
“It was super important for us to come back from those losses and do it against a team that is really good (Belmont). We came together and executed, and that’s something that we were missing.”
Third-year coach Jaime White said “it’s nice to get on a bit of a roll,” but acknowledged there was still one key piece missing from the puzzle.
“I’m not pleased with our rebounding,” she said.
The Bulldogs have been outrebounded in three of their past four games, collecting more only against Irvine (0-5). It’s especially bad in terms of offensive boards, where opponents have beaten Fresno State on the glass 83-61 during that stretch.
As a result, much of Monday’s practice focused on rebounding.
White, who also had a team-high seven boards against Irvine, said things will soon work themselves out for the Bulldogs.
“I think everyone is realizing what we’re capable of,” she said. “We’ve seen just a small piece of that.”
FRESNO STATE VS. USF
- When: 7 p.m. Wednesday at Save Mart Center
- Records: Bulldogs 3-2, Dons 4-2
- Webcast: Mountain West Network (themw.com)
- The skinny: The Dons are coming off a 73-52 win against West Carolina on Saturday. Senior guard Rachel Howard leads the team with 14.5 points per game. At the helm is coach Molly Goodenbour, who took over the program in September. The Dons went 21-12 last season and won the WCC Tournament to reach the NCAA Tournament. They were picked to finish seventh in the preseason WCC coaches’ poll.