LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Ki-Ki Moore hit a floater just outside the paint with 2.5 seconds remaining to lift the second-seeded Fresno State women's basketball team to a 63-62 victory over No. 3 seed Wyoming on Friday in the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Bulldogs (23-8) now advance onto Saturday's title game at the 2013 Mountain West Basketball Championships and will face top-seeded San Diego State at 7 p.m. in a nationally televised game on the CBS Sports Network. Fresno State will be playing for its fifth conference tournament championship in the last six years.
"I mean, I was excited, but it wasn't time to celebrate yet," Moore said of hitting the shot with 2.5 second remaining. "There was still another play, they got the ball in and I knew had to defend. Couldn't celebrate until the buzzer went off and the shot did not go in.
After the final buzzer went off, Moore added "my teammates just surrounded me and everyone was happy, just jumping on me. I felt love from my teammates. Just getting the opportunity to take that shot shows they love me and trust me a lot."
Fresno State led 61-55 with 4:18 to play, but went scoreless and slowly Wyoming (24-7) cut into that lead. Cowgirl guard Kayla Woodward gave UW the 62-61 lead with a bucket in the paint with 13 seconds remaining.
The Bulldogs got the ball up the court and called timeout to set up the winning play.
"We were excited in our huddle," junior guard Taylor Thompson said. "We knew we were going to pull it through somehow. We have great players all across the board, so I knew someone was going to make a big play."
Thompson got the inbound pass with 9.5 seconds remaining and Moore, who started on the right wing, ran to the left side aided by a screen to get the pass from Thompson. Moore then drove in strong on the left side of the paint, hesitated for just a second, which allowed her to get an open look and she sunk the game winner. "In the end I knew we had players - didn't matter what I drew up - we have players that wanted to win this game," head coach Raegan Pebley said. "We practice these situations. You don't want to go to something that they've never seen before, so we put the ball in the hands of somebody that we trusted and put around her people she knew where they were going to be at, and there were multiple options for that score."
Moore scored 22 points to lead the Bulldogs and she had five steals, five rebounds and four assists. Thompson added 17 points and three assists, as the two guards carried the team for much of the game.
Junior guard Bree Farley added 11 points, nine of which she scored in the first half. Her 3-pointer in the final minute of the opening half gave the Bulldogs a 34-31 lead at the break.
This was a very intense and tight game pretty much all the way.
Fresno State used a 10-1 run over a two-minute stretch to pull out to an early 20-10 lead eight minutes into the game.
Wyoming came back with a 14-4 run that featured a pair of 3-pointers from Woodward to tie the game at 24 at the 7:10 mark of the first half. After that, the game remained close the rest of the way. There were five lead changes and eight ties in the semifinal matchup.
Woodward finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. Wyoming as a team shot 47.1 percent, but the feisty Bulldog defense caused the Cowgirls to turn the ball over 21 times.
After tying the MW Championship record with 17 steals in Thursday's win over Boise State, the Bulldogs had 14 steals on Friday. The 31 total steals has already tied the record for the most from a team in a MW tournament.
Now Fresno State moves on to face the San Diego State Aztecs, who they split the two regular season meetings with.
"So this is just a great matchup for the conference, for the fans," Pebley said. "I think ideally you want No. 1 and No. 2 in the championship game."
Courtesy: Fresno St. Athletics
The Fresno State baseball squad opened up their first season in the Mountain West Conference with a 1-0 win over San Diego State. Taylor Ward drove in the lone Bulldogs run. Tyler Linehan threw a complete game shutout. He gave up eight hits, two walks, and struck out seven. Same two teams go at it on Saturday at 6:35 p.m. at Beiden Field.