Just when they were needed the most, Fresno State’s youngsters came through.
The Bulldogs mounted a comeback from a 12-point deficit Saturday afternoon and beat Nevada 71-70 in a Mountain West Conference women’s basketball game in Reno.
Sophomore point guard Candice White scored a career-high 25 points, shooting 9 for 13 from the field, including 4 of 5 from long range, to go with team-best eight rebounds.
White’s fourth 3-pointer, from in front of the Bulldogs’ bench, capped a 9-0 run to tie it 68-68 with 3:56 remaining. Tory Jacobs finished a layup in transition, a late free throw from Bego Faz Davalos pushed Fresno State (8-5, 1-1) in front, and the defense took it from there.
The Wolf Pack (6-7, 0-2) mustered just four shots from the field over the final 6:17, missing all of them, including a pair in the final seconds.
“I’m just so happy that we came together as a team,” White said. “I give it all to my teammates. I think we were looking to redeem ourselves (from Thursday’s 80-54 loss against New Mexico). We know that loss doesn’t define the rest of our season, and we came out tonight as a new fresh team and just did our thing.”
That “thing” might not have been complete without a breakout performance from freshman center Katelin Noyer, thrust into action after Faz Davalos and senior center Anais Kirvan each had two fouls just 2 minutes into the second quarter.
It felt great, and one thing I noticed is that at one moment during the game was that we had two freshmen and three sophomores on the floor. That’s when I realized that we have so much potential.
Fresno State’s sophomore point guard Candice White
Noyer, who entered Saturday averaging just 3.3 minutes per game with a career-high of four points, scored eight of her 12 points before halftime. Noyer and freshman guard Saraya Smith were needed to fill the gaps for Fresno State, which had 14 team fouls in the first half and five players at two apiece (Faz Davalos, Kirvan, Jacobs, Emilie Volk and Zaria Branch).
“It was kind of a little bit of a miracle game to be honest,” Bulldogs coach Jaime White said. “We were in all kinds of foul trouble so obviously, our bench was going to play, but not just our first line, but our second and third lines had to come out. They really kept us in it until halftime.”
Paced by Terae Briggs’ 22 points, Nevada climbed to a 12-point lead with 2:50 to go until the break, and went into halftime up 10, but that was as much distance as the Wolf Pack would create.
The Bulldogs transformed into a disciplined team in the second half, committing just eight fouls and forcing 15 of Nevada’s 21 total turnovers in completing the comeback.
“For us to go a complete 180 was nice. It had to happen,” Jaime White added. “For this team, to win under these circumstances, has got to give them a lot of confidence in themselves and each other.”
FRESNO STATE VS. WYOMING
- Wednesday: 5:30 p.m. at Arena-Auditorium in Laramie, Wyo.
- Records: Bulldogs 8-5, 1-1 Mountain West; Cowgirls 10-3, 2-0 (beat UNLV 79-57 on Saturday)
- Series/last meeting: Fresno State leads 16-10; Bulldogs won 64-52 on Feb. 17, 2016, at home.
- Webcast: Mountain West Network (themw.com)