Fresno State played arguably its most complete women’s basketball game of the season, dominating for most of four quarters Saturday to beat New Mexico 51-43.
It wasn’t exactly what coach Jaime White wanted, as the Bulldogs eased off on the gas in the final six minutes and saw their double-digit lead shrink to eight. But it was one of the best performances yet as Fresno State (18-9, 14-2 Mountain West) won its fifth straight game while getting a real feel for the postseason.
“It had that Mountain West Tournament feeling to it … and I felt like our kids really responded in that way,” White said.
The Bulldogs have two games remaining in the regular season, playing Tuesday at first-place Colorado State before Friday’s senior night against Utah State at Save Mart Center.
“Our goal was to really play four solid quarters, and I felt like we did that,” White said. “We probably had four minutes where it didn’t go our way. Thinking down the road, I felt like we really needed a whole game, and I thought we did that.”
The Lobos made just three of their first 16 shots (18.8 percent) and never saw the lead once.
Forward Khadijah Shumpert was the Lobos’ only hope at the basket, scoring 10 of her teams’ 12 points in the first half. She made five of 10 shots, while the rest of the squad made just one of 16.
Fresno State’s defense, guided by Alex Furr and Shauqunna Collins on the perimeter and Toni Smith and Bego Faz Davalos inside, forced 19 turnovers.
Faz Davalos scored a team-high 17 points to go with eight rebounds and six blocks. Smith had 12 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Collins finished with 15.
Furr hit a three-pointer from the corner to balloon the Bulldogs’ lead to 19, 37-18 with 1:00 until the fourth.
“We were just talking, ‘Let’s finish it. Let’s finish it early,’ ” Collins said. “Coach came in with a great game plan, and once we do what we’re told, we’re OK. We’re fine.”
FRESNO STATE VS. COLORADO STATE
- Tuesday: 6 p.m. at Moby Arena in Fort Collins
- Records: Bulldogs 18-9, 14-2 MW; Rams 26-1, 16-0
- Webcast: Mountain West Network (themwc.com)