Fresno State succumbed to a barrage of 13 three-pointers in the first three quarters Monday night at Matthew Knight Arena as Oregon shot its way to an 84-59 victory to end the Bulldogs’ run in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
“Any time somebody hits that many threes on you … we just didn’t have an answer,” Fresno State coach Jaime White said. “They can shoot the threes.”
The Ducks made 65 percent of their 20 attempts as the Bulldogs (22-12) lost in the second round of the WNIT for a second consecutive season. Oregon ended up shooting an overall percentage of .564 (31 of 55).
We could not stop the threes.
Bulldogs coach Jaime White
“I haven’t seen that all year, and we are a good defending team,” White said. “We could not stop the threes.”
The win moves the Ducks (22-10) on to a third-round matchup Wednesday night at home against Utah.
Toni Smith led Fresno State with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting and Bego Faz Davalos added 12 and 10 rebounds – the sophomore’s program-record 14th double-double of the season – but that couldn’t counter Oregon’s outside shooting and balance. Four Ducks, led by Maite Cazorla’s 20 points, finished in double figures and each of those four made at least two three-pointers.
14 Double-doubles this season for Fresno State’s Bego Faz Davalos, a program record, after she had 12 points and 10 rebounds against Oregon
The Ducks also benefitted from a strong presence on the inside by 6-foot-5 Jacinta Vandenberg, who spent her first two seasons at Fresno State before transferring to Oregon and sitting out a year. The junior scored six of her eight points in the opening minutes and that was only a hint of her importance as she finished with 10 rebounds and also handed out five assists after drawing defenders to her.
“When they zone like that, we just like to spread people out and let her kind of roam the middle, so it just kind of worked out that way,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said of the early emphasis on Vandenberg. “I thought she gave us a big lift right off the get-go. When you can get her to score, anything she can give us there is a real bonus, and that opens up a lot of other things.
39:48 Amount of game time that Oregon held the lead Monday, after getting a three-pointer by Kat Cooper 12 seconds into the opening quarter
“I’m just happy for her. Ten rebounds and then five assists out of the center position, that’s getting it done. I know this game meant a lot to her.”
Oregon hit five threes in the first quarter for a 24-15 lead, but Smith kept Fresno State close in the second quarter and had 12 points by halftime as the Bulldogs went into the break trailing 44-36.
Oregon pushed its lead to 54-38 two minutes into the third quarter on a pair of three-pointers by Lexi Bando and Cazorla’s steal and layup, prompting a timeout by the Bulldogs that proved of little value.
“Nothing was going our way there,” White said. “You’ve got to believe you can do it and after those shots were going in, our kids were wondering: ‘Can we do this or not?’ ”