LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The Fresno State women's basketball team set two new Mountain West Championship records and tied another, as the second-seeded Bulldogs defeated No. 7 seed Boise State 72-55 Thursday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Fresno State (22-8) now advances to the semifinals of the 2013 Reese's Mountain West Basketball Championships where it will meet the winner of the evenings Colorado State vs. Wyoming game.
"It was a great way for us to start the game. I think it helped a lot that we were able to turn 'em over and hit some early shots," said head coach Raegan Pebley, whose team opened the game on a 32-6 run. "We knew that was going to be important."
The Bulldogs set new MW Championship records with 29 forced turnovers and 77 field goal attempts while tying the record for most steals in a tournament game with 17.
"Obviously it's a good confidence booster for our team," senior guard Rosie Moult said about opening the tournament with the big victory. "Our main objective today was to start out hard, be aggressive with our press. I think them getting 29 turnovers was a result of our tough press."
This was the 17th game this season that the Bulldogs forced 20 or more turnovers and their 24th with 10 or more steals. Fresno State came into the game ranked third in the NCAA in steals per game with 13.0.
"I've seen us play consistent defense like that," Pebley said. "We've got a lot of different defensive schemes, different attacks. It doesn't matter what we do, it's about them executing. You know, they do a great job with it."
Four of Fresno State's starting five scored in double figures and the Bulldogs had 19 assists on their 28 made field goals. "We kind of just take what the defense gives us," said junior guard Ki-Ki Moore, who scored a game-high 17 points to go with four steals. "A lot of our teammates were driving and kicking, so them driving and kicking opened me up a lot tonight."
Moult finished with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting with six rebounds, four steals and four assists. Alex Sheedy added 13 points and seven rebounds and Bree Farley scored 10.
Taylor Thompson, the one Bulldog in the starting lineup not to score in double figures, had a great game controlling the tempo from the point. She had seven assists against one turnover and six steals in the win.
Fresno State played just about as perfect of a first half as you can, especially on the defensive end.
The 'Dogs held Boise State to just 8-of-25 shooting from the floor, including a 1-of-14 start, and forced 17 turnovers in the first 20 minutes. The Broncos didn't reach double-digits on the scoreboard until there was 4:52 left in the first half.
Fresno State shot 47.4 percent in the first half and led 41-23 at the break. BSU scored 14 of its 23 points in the last five minutes before the break.
The Bulldogs didn't shoot as well in the second half, starting the period 5-of-28 over 12 minute. However, they continued to force the Broncos into turnovers and with 7:55 left in the game held a 57-41 lead.
A 10-2 Bulldog run that featured four points from Jacinta Vandenberg, pushed the Fresno State lead back up past 20, 67-43.
Fresno State ended up shooting only 36.4 percent in the win, but led by as many as 26 in the game.
Courtesy: Fresno St. Athletics
Winona Lake, Ind. - FPU saw its national title hopes dashed on Thursday, falling 104-95 to Shorter (GA) in the NCCAA Tournament semifinal. The Hawks (20-11) used their tremendous athleticism to jump out to a 28-12 lead early in the first half and would build a 54-39 halftime lead.
The Sunbirds (21-8) came out determined in the second half, going on a 11-0 run to start the half and cut the lead to 54-50. That would be as close as the Sunbirds would come however.
With John Taylor battling foul trouble and a physical Hawks defense, Malcolm Griffin did all he could to put the Sunbirds on his back and keep FPU in the game. Griffin finished with a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds. Taylor added 27 points and Matt Samuels finished with 16. The Sunbirds had 18 turnovers.
All five starters scored in double figures for the Hawks, led by forward Anthony Banks with 28. The Hawks advance to Saturday's national title game. Shorter, like FPU, is transitioning to NCAA Division II and ineligible for NCAA postseason. The Hawks were the #1 team in the NAIA last season and reached the NAIA Final Four.
FPU will play in a consolation game for third place in the tournament, facing the loser of #2 Cedarville and #3 Oklahoma Christian at 10 am tomorrow (7 am PST).
Courtesy: FPU Athletics