Jaime White did not waste time preparing her Fresno State women’s basketball team for its midweek home game against Wyoming.
With just two days passing since they last played, a 65-56 Bulldogs win over Nevada on Sunday, White put a premium on the limited time she had with players and assistants ahead of the 7 p.m. Wednesday tipoff.
It was a Bulldogs cramming session that paid attention in particular to defense.
The focus has got to be on where the ball is and getting a hand up in that person’s face.
Fresno State coach Jaime White
“With Wyoming, we have to contest every shot, and if you don’t contest every shot, their shots are going in,” White said at Tuesday’s practice. “The focus has got to be on where the ball is and getting a hand up in that person’s face.”
The Bulldogs (14-9, 10-2 Mountain West) did a good job in a first-round meeting at Wyoming, holding conference Preseason Player of the Year Marquelle Dent to six points in a 49-42 win on Jan. 27. Dent, who is averaging 17.1 per game, hit 2 of 12 shots from the field including 0 for 4 on three-pointers.
As much as White wants her team to again have Wyoming’s lone senior on lockdown, the second-year Bulldogs coach knows Dent can catch fire at any time.
“We have to know where she’s at at all times,” White said. “We did a good job against her up there, but it’s a new game and new time of year.”
It’s not only Dent that Fresno State will need to focus on, it’s also their pair of three-point aces, both 6-footers, in freshman Marta Gomez and sophomore Natalie Baker.
Gomez, a 6-1 import from Spain, has made 39 percent (53 for 136) from three-point range. Baker, a 6-foot forward, is hitting at a 31.6 percent clip (24 of 76).
The young pair have helped the Cowgirls win two of their past three after suffering a four-game losing streak. Gomez is averaging 11 points and 4.8 rebounds.
To thwart Wyoming’s attack, White says it will take the whole team, not just post players Toni Smith and Bego Faz Davalos, sticking with those taller players and contesting outside shots. The Cowgirls are making 31.8 percent (143 of 450) of their three-pointers as a team, good for second in the Mountain West behind Colorado State’s 33.6 percent (146 of 434).
“They can shoot and they can get on a roll from the three-point line,” White said. “Their 4’s and 5’s can step out and shoot outside; obviously we’re going to have to defend in and out, and maybe out first. It’s got to be the entire team.”
Almost there – Bulldogs sixth-year senior Alex Furr is one three-pointer from cracking Fresno State’s career top 10. She has made 121, with Geri Gainey (1988-91) and Bailey Amundsen (2007-09) tied for ninth at 122.
FRESNO STATE VS. WYOMING
- Wednesday: 7 p.m. at Save Mart Center
- Records: Bulldogs 14-9, 10-2 Mountain West; Cowgirls 12-11, 5-8 (won 82-58 vs. Boise State on Saturday)
- Series: Bulldogs lead 15-10
- Last meeting: Fresno State won 49-42 on Jan. 27 in Laramie
- Webcast/radio: Mountain West Network (themwc.com)/KFPT (AM 790)