Fresno State went neck-and-neck with Washington until Kelsey Plum had the final say, delivering the Bulldogs an 89-79 loss Friday night in front of an announced crowd of 2,983 at Save Mart Center.
Plum, a 5-foot-8 junior from Poway, scored 11 of her game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter to power the Pacific-12 Conference team to its first 3-0 start since the 2005-06 season.
The Bulldogs (1-2) went up 67-65 on a three-pointer from true freshman Breanne Knishka with 9:31 left, but it would be the last lead they held. Washington answered with a 12-0 run, with Plum accounting for six of those points. It was a double whammy for Fresno State, which committed six turnovers during the stretch.
We were one Kelsey Plum away from winning that game.
Bulldogs coach Jaime White
“What can you say? (Plum) is a nice player,” Fresno State coach Jaime White said. “She just took the game in her hands, and that fourth quarter is one of the best I’ve seen of a kid.”
Plum made 10 of 17 shots from the field and hit 12 of 15 free throws in establishing a season high.
The Bulldogs pulled within four with 3:41 to go on another Knishka three-pointer, but the final comeback attempt fizzled shortly thereafter.
Redshirt sophomore Bego Faz Davalos, with a double double (10 points, 10 rebounds) through two quarters, powered the Bulldogs to a 39-34 halftime lead despite battling 6-2 twin towers Chantel Osahor and Talia Walton. Davalos finished with 16 points and 16 rebounds.
4 number of Bulldogs who scored in double figures
“It was my teammates screaming all the time and supporting me, and that was key in the game,” Davalos said. “I was just hearing my teammates and that got me hyped.”
Senior Moriah Faulk ignited the Bulldogs in the second half, hitting three three-pointers in a row to put Fresno State in front 58-54 with 3:39 left in the third quarter. She finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“We did everything we could in the game,” White said, admitting her players “need to clean up a couple runs here and there and take care of the ball a little bit.”
27.7 scoring average for Washington junior Kelsey Plum through the first three games of the season
“(Washington) is big and that bothered us just a little bit, but I felt a lot better about this game, and I feel like if we play with a team like this, that is going to do well in the Pac-12, we can play with anybody.”
The Bulldogs return to Save Mart Center at 7 p.m. Monday when they host No. 22 George Washington.
NO. 22 GEORGE WASHINGTON (ATLANTIC-10) AT FRESNO STATE
- Monday: 7 p.m. at Save Mart Center
- Records: Bulldogs 1-2, Colonials 2-0 (play at No. 15 Stanford at noon Saturday)
- Last meeting: Fresno State lost 73-64 at George Washington on Dec. 6, 2014