Fresno State

Fresno State women’s basketball: Faz Davalos named top defender ahead of MW Tourney

Fresno State’s Bego Faz Davalos grabs a rebound away from San Diego State’s Cheyenne Greenhouse in a Mountain West Conference game Jan. 20, 2016, at Save Mart Center. Faz Davalos was named Defensive Player of the Year and to the all-conference first team ahead of the Bulldogs’ run in the league’s postseason tournament at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Fresno State’s Bego Faz Davalos grabs a rebound away from San Diego State’s Cheyenne Greenhouse in a Mountain West Conference game Jan. 20, 2016, at Save Mart Center. Faz Davalos was named Defensive Player of the Year and to the all-conference first team ahead of the Bulldogs’ run in the league’s postseason tournament at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. sflores@fresnobee.com

Fresno State sophomore center Bego Faz Davalos was named Defensive Player of the Year and Breanne Knishka earned All-Freshman honors as the Mountain West handed out postseason honors Monday ahead of this week’s conference tournament in Las Vegas.

Faz Davalos, Knishka and honorable mention selection Toni Smith will lead the second-seeded Bulldogs into Tuesday’s 6 p.m. second-round game at Thomas & Mack Center. Fresno State will face seventh-seeded Utah State, which beat No. 10 Nevada 59-35 in Monday’s first-round.

It’ll be the Bulldogs’ third game against the Aggies (14-16) this season after sweeping the regular-season series with 67-61 and 66-62 wins. But even they know that brings zero guarantees.

“Any time you play somebody three times, it’s not always what you thought it should be,” coach Jaime White said. “It’s kind of a Catch-22. We don’t need to over-prepare but be thorough and ready with our own stuff.”

The Aggies are led by first-teamer Funda Nakkasoglu and All-Freshman selection Rachel Brewster, as well as freshman Katie Toole – who scored 21 points against Fresno State in Friday’s regular-season finale but had just two points in Monday’s win.

The Bulldogs are finding motivation from last season’s exit in the conference tournament semifinals, snapping a seven-year run of NCAA Tournament appearances.

“Last year I felt we didn’t do a good job with our time management and we were a little burnt out having gone to Australia to start our season,” White said. “This year we feel good. We’re excited about it. I think we have a good energy and we’ll take it one day at a time.”

Smith agreed, knowing that for her and the four other Fresno State seniors it’s their last shot at a Mountain West tournament title – and what would be the program’s third in four years.

“I think we’re very calm about it,” Smith said. “I know we have a lot of veterans on this team and we know how it feels to be in the tournament, and I definitely feel we’re going to go in there confident and ready to play.”

All-conference honors – The Bulldogs were conspicuously short of representation on the All-Mountain West team, despite finishing second in the conference at 15-3.

Ellen Nystrom of reigning three-time regular-season champion Colorado State (28-1, 18-0) was named Player of the Year after averaging 10.8 points per game, 5.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists while also shooting .466 from the field and .792 from the free-throw line. Those numbers all increased, other than a slight dip in her free-throw percentage, in conference-only play.

Faz Davalos set a Mountain West single-season record with 77 blocks in conference games. The native of Mexico was third in rebounding in conference action at 8.7 while averaging 11.6 points. Faz Davalos’ seven double doubles were second most in conference play.

Nystrom and Faz Davalos were joined by two other Rams, including former Edison High School and Fresno City College standout Keyora Wharry (10.8 ppg, .515 FG, 4.3 rpg), on the first team. Third-place Boise State had two selections and San Jose State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming one each. Colorado State’s Ryun Williams was named Coach of the Year.

Knishka averaged 4.8 points and 2.4 rebounds. Smith, a senior, led the Bulldogs in scoring during the conference season at 12.2 points per game while averaging 6.9 rebounds.

Angel Moreno: 559-441-6401, @anhelllll

Up next

MOUNTAIN WEST TOURNAMENT: FRESNO STATE VS. UTAH STATE

  • Tuesday: 6 p.m. at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas
  • Records: Bulldogs 19-10, 15-3 Mountain West; Aggies 14-16, 8-10
  • Of note: Fresno State is seeded second behind regular-season champ Colorado State. … Bulldogs swept the Aggies during the regular conference campaign.

All-Mountain West

FIRST TEAM

  • Brooke Pahukoa, Jr., G, Boise State
  • Shalen Shaw, So., G, Boise State
  • !^Ellen Nystrom, Jr., G, Colorado State
  • Jamie Patrick, Sr., G, Colorado State
  • Keyora Wharry, Sr., G, Colorado State
  • Bego Faz Davalos, So., C, Fresno State
  • Cherise Beynon, So., G, New Mexico
  • Dezz Ramos, Jr., G, San Jose State
  • Funda Nakkasoglu, So., G, Utah State
  • ^Marquelle Dent, Sr., G, Wyoming

HONORABLE MENTION

  • Miquelle Askew, Sr., C, Boise State
  • Toni Smith, Sr., F/C, Fresno State
  • Nyasha LeSure, Sr., F, Nevada
  • Khadijah Shumpert, Sr., F, New Mexico
  • McKynzie Fort, So., G, San Diego State
  • Dakota Gonzalez, So., G, UNLV

ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM

  • ^Ellen Nystrom, Jr., G, Colorado State
  • Bego Faz Davalos, So., C, Fresno State
  • Khadijah Shumpert, Sr., F, New Mexico
  • McKynzie Fort, So., G, San Diego State
  • ^Marquelle Dent, Sr., G, Wyoming

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM

  • Marta Hermida, G, Boise State
  • Breanne Knishka, G/F, Fresno State
  • Riana Everidge, G, Nevada
  • Jaisa Nunn, C, New Mexico
  • Rachel Brewster, G, Utah State
  • Marta Gomez, F, Wyoming

Player of the Year: Ellen Nystrom, Jr., G, Colorado State

Defensive Player of the Year: Bego Faz Davalos, So., C, Fresno State

Newcomer of the Year: Dezz Ramos, Jr., G, San Jose State

Freshman of the Year: Marta Hermida, Fr., G, Boise State

Sixth Player of the Year: Riana Byrd, Sr., C, San Jose State

Coach of the Year: Ryun Williams, Colorado State

^ 2014-15 All-MW/Defensive team selection

! 2013-14 All-MW/Defensive team selection

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