A flurry of 3-pointers saw Fresno State bolt to an early lead, and junior center Bego Faz Davalos took the wheel from there, steering the Bulldogs to a 62-53 road victory against Belmont on Friday to open the Loyola Marymount Thanksgiving Classic in Los Angeles.
The Bulldogs’ four other starters – Breanne Knishka, Tory Jacobs, Candice White and Emilie Volk – each dropped one in from downtown to close out the first quarter with a 16-9 advantage.
Fresno State (2-2) then took the ball inside, where Faz Davalos put up 24 points to match her career high, pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked seven shots. It was the fifth 20-point game of her career and 19th double-double (third this season).
4 3-pointers made by Fresno State in the first quarter, one each from Breanne Knishka, Tory Jacobs, Candice White and Emilie Volk.
The Bruins (2-4) climbed back at the start of the third quarter as Lauren Thompson made three consecutive jumpers to tie the score, 30-30.
The Bulldogs answered with a 16-4 scoring run that saw 3s from White and Volk and was capped by Faz Davalos’ layup for a 12-point lead. White finished with 12 points and five rebounds. Volk had eight points on 3-of-4 shooting, including 2 of 2 from beyond the arc.
It was a bounceback win for Fresno State, which shot 43.1 percent (22 of 51) – its best output this season that also included 46.7 percent (7 of 15) from long range.
“I thought we responded defensively really well,” Bulldogs coach Jaime White said. “Our effort on defense caused us to be a little more relaxed offensively and get into a groove.”
White was pleased with the outcome but also said she’d like to see more out of her team, which was outrebounded 45-30. The Bruins had 21 offensive boards, the Bulldogs six.
“I’d like to rebound a little bit better and not let them go on a run to start the second half; other than that, I thought we did a good job,” White said.
Thompson led Belmont with 16 points and seven rebounds, while center Sally McCabe added 11 points and five blocks off the bench.
The Bulldogs will continue tournament play at Gerston Pavilion at 1 p.m. Saturday against UC Irvine (0-4).
FRESNO STATE AT LOYOLA MARYMOUNT THANKSGIVING CLASSIC
- Saturday: vs. UC Irvine, 1 p.m.
- Records: Bulldogs 2-2, Anteaters 0-4
- Webcast: West Coast Conference Network (livestream.com/loyolamarymount)