Fresno State Returns to MW Championship Game
LAS VEGAS - Fresno State, the No. 2 seed in the 2014 Reese's Mountain West Women's Basketball Championship, went on a 25-4 run spread out over both halves of Friday's semifinal contest with No. 3 Nevada and cruised to an 82-71 victory at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Bulldogs (21-10), winners of their last seven games, will meet up with regular-season champion and top-seeded Colorado State (25-6) in Saturday evening's championship game, which is slated for a 7 p.m. PT start and will be televised on CBS Sports Network. The Rams, who needed three overtimes to dispatch No. 5 seed Wyoming 95-92 in Friday's first semifinal contest, will be looking for their first MW tournament title since 2001, while the Bulldogs will attempt to win back-to-back tournament title for just the third time in the history of the Conference. New Mexico won three-straight titles from 2003-05, and back-to-back crowns in 2007-08.
"I mean, it's exciting to be in this tournament, obviously going into the championship is exciting," said Fresno State senior guard Taylor Thompson, who led all scorers with 22 points. "We're here for one goal, and that's to win a championship. We're definitely going to try and do that tomorrow night."
In addition to the five consecutive MW tournament wins, the Bulldogs have won 11 straight conference tournament games, dating back to their time as a member of the Western Athletic Conference. It is the seventh straight year Fresno State has advanced to a conference championship game, and the Bulldogs have won five of the past six, including the last three.
As they did in their 80-65 win on Tuesday against UNLV, Fresno State found its long-range touch against Nevada, knocking down 11 shots from behind the arc. Through two games, the Bulldogs have hit 21 three-point shots, just six away from setting a new tournament record. Colorado State hit 26 in the 2001 tournament.
The Bulldogs also had five players reach double figures for the second straight game, led by Thompson's 22 points. Also reaching double-digits for the Bulldogs were sophomore forward Moriah Faulk (19 points), senior guard Bree Farley (15 points), junior guard Robin Draper (11 points) and junior forward Alex Sheedy (10 points).
Nevada possessed a five-point lead late in the first half, but surrendered the final 10 points of the first period to fall behind 40-35 at intermission, and then allowed a 15-4 run by Fresno State to start the second half as the Wolf Pack deficit swelled to 60-39.
Leading the way for the Wolf Pack in scoring was senior guard Arielle Wideman, who poured in 17 points. Emily Burns, a junior forward, was the other player for Nevada to crack double-digits, finishing with 13 points.
"I'm really, really proud of our young ladies because we were picked at the bottom, I think 10th. I think Fresno State was picked first," said Nevada head coach Jane Albright. "To be able to get to this game and play as well as we played and as hard as we played, I am really proud of them. There was about a four minute stretch in there that (Fresno State) got away from us."