Fresno State on Wednesday will look to bounce back from one of its toughest losses of the season but must do so against a team that has been less than willing to yield even to Bulldogs teams on a roll the previous two seasons.
The Bulldogs (14-10, 7-6 Mountain West) visit San Jose State for a 7 p.m. tipoff. But look past the 8-16 overall and 5-7 conference records for the Spartans. Comparative marks haven’t meant much in the recent history of the schools’ women’s basketball rivalry.
A year ago, Fresno State took an 8-0 start into a game against the Spartans at Save Mart Center. The Bulldogs fell 66-64, blowing an 11-point fourth-quarter lead against a team that entered 5-5 in league play.
In 2015, the visiting Bulldogs had a 13-game winning streak when San Jose State, struggling at 3-6 in the Mountain West, won 56-51.
This year, while Fresno State enters just barely over .500 in conference, it does so coming off a near-victory over frontrunning Colorado State. The Rams needed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter just to stay alive in regulation, then won it on a jumper with 4 seconds to play.
The teams’ earlier meeting this season wound up a bit deceiving, with the Bulldogs trailing 41-37 at halftime before a big third quarter helped produce an 88-74 win.
Fresno State began to show a little more aggression in the second half. Limited to 2 of 3 at the free-throw line through two quarters, the Bulldogs finished 20 for 32 and scored 36 points in the paint.
Bego Faz Davalos had 20 points and tied a career high with 19 rebounds for Fresno State, and Emilie Volk had a career-high 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 7 of 10 from the free-throw line.
Jasmine Smith had 16 points to lead the Spartans and Dezz Ramos 12, but Rachol West, the former Garces High standout, was shut out after a nine-point first half.
▪ The Spartans rank first in scoring in the Mountain West at 71 points per game, but are last in points allowed at 79.4.
▪ Last year’s win in San Jose was the first for the Bulldogs at The Event Center since March 3, 2011.
▪ Ramos, with 14 points against New Mexico on Feb. 4, became the 16th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. Ramos reached the milestone in 51 games, quickest ever, after spending her first two active seasons at Weber State.
FRESNO STATE AT SAN JOSE STATE
- Wednesday: 7 p.m. at The Event Center Arena
- Records: Bulldogs 14-10, 7-6; Spartans 8-16, 5-7 (lost 63-55 against UNLV on Saturday)
- Webcast: Mountain West Network (themw.com)