It wasn’t perfect or particularly pretty, but Fresno State escaped Las Vegas with a come-from-behind win over UNLV on Saturday afternoon and with it returned to its winning ways in the Mountain West Conference women’s basketball race.
The Bulldogs (13-8, 9-1 MWC) stumbled early but pieced together the 57-52 victory with strong performances in the second and fourth quarters to remain one game behind first-place Colorado State (20-1, 10-0), which won 64-37 at Nevada.
Trailing 51-50 with just under 2 minutes to play, the Bulldogs turned on the offensive boosters.
Redshirt sophomore Bego Faz Davalos powered her way down the lane, spinning at the basket for a short jumper and the lead. Moments later, Faz Davalos raced to the other end and pulled down the rebound on Aley Rohde’s missed layup.
That allowed the Bulldogs to stretch their lead at the free-throw line – Shauqunna Collins making three and Alex Furr two to seal the win.
4Fresno State Bulldogs that scored in double figures: Alex Furr 14, Shauqunna Collins 11, Toni Smith 11, Bego Faz Davalos 10
Furr scored a team-high 14 points, hitting 4 of 6 three-pointers. Collins scored 11 and Faz Davalos 10 to go with eight rebounds. Toni Smith had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Dakota Gonzalez got the Rebels (13-9, 6-5) going with consecutive three-pointers to start the game. Ex-Hanford High School star Brooke Johnson added a jumper and two free throws and made two steals to give UNLV a seven-point advantage with 3:16 to go in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs were dazed, surrendering seven turnovers that helped lead to nine of the Rebels’ first 12 points.
Fresno State woke up in the second quarter as its defense rattled UNLV into 2-of-15 shooting after making 7 of 11 in the first quarter.
We played some pretty good team defense. That was our focus and our team goal coming in.
Bulldogs coach Jaime White
The Bulldogs took their first lead when senior forward Moriah Faulk hit a three-pointer to make it 22-21 with 3:57 left before halftime. Furr sank consecutive three-pointers 35 seconds apart for a 31-25 lead at the break.
“I think it took us a little time to get comfortable with the game,” coach Jaime White said. “UNLV is good – they’re physical and big. But our kids stayed the course. We played through the physicality and had a determination to win the game.”
The Rebels started the second half strong, going on an 11-2 run, capped by Gonzalez’s fourth three-pointer for a 37-33 lead with 5:27 to go in the third quarter.
That was the last of her long-range daggers, as the Bulldogs held UNLV to 5-of-19 shooting the rest of the way. Johnson, who entered Saturday averaging 12.9 points per game, was held to four points on 1-of-6 shooting, including 0 of 3 on three-pointers.
“We really needed this win,” Furr said. “We knew what happened last year after San Jose State broke our streak, and we just wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again this year.”
FRESNO STATE AT SAN DIEGO STATE
- Wednesday: 6:30 p.m. at Viejas Arena
- Records: Bulldogs 13-8, 9-1 Mountain West; Aztecs 7-15, 2-9 (beat New Mexico 51-46 on Saturday)
- Of note: Fresno State beat San Diego State 54-49 on Jan. 20 at Save Mart Center