Fresno State Outlasts San Diego State, 76-70, To Win First-Ever Mountain West Championship
March 16, 2013
The Bulldogs (24-8) won the women's basketball crown in its first year in the Conference. With the win, they earn the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. It is the sixth-straight year they have qualified for the NCAA Tournament. San Diego State (26-6), the MW regular season champion, had its 17-game winning streak ended with the defeat and will have to wait until Monday's Selection Show to see if they receive an at-large bid into the tournament.
"We were prepared to be successful in the Mountain West," said Fresno State first-year coach Raegan Pebley. "The baton was just passed off to me and it was my responsibility to keep it going. "It's going to be a great bus ride home."
Tournament Most Valuable Player Ki-Ki Moore was the top scorer for Fresno State. The junior guard finished with 22 points to go along with 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals. She was 10-of-11 from the free throw line.
"Ki-Ki is a special player," Pebley said. "We wanted her to believe that she could be great in our system, and she really adapted to it."
Fresno State, who set a MW Championship record for steals with 40, fell behind 7-0 and 15-6 early in the first half. They outscored San Diego State 39-19 over the final 13 minutes to take a 45-34 lead into halftime.
The Bulldogs opened the second half scoring the first 11 points to stretch its lead to 56-34 with 16:25 to play. San Diego State drew within two at 71-69 with 1:13 remaining but couldn't draw any closer.
"We played good, hard defense, one-on-one and made them take tough shots," said Moore, who led all players in the MW Women's Championship in scoring with a 20.3 points per game average, and averaged 3.67 steals per game.
Sophomore forward Alex Sheedy scored 21 points, senior guard/forward Rosie Moult had 14 and junior guard Bree Farley added 13 for Fresno State.
"We're very excited to be going to the NCAA Tournament," said Moult, who was 4-of-6 from three-point range.
The Aztecs were led by senior guard Chelsea Hopkins, who nearly recorded her fifth triple-double of the season. She finished with 15 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists. The 15 rebounds are a new MW Women's Championship game record. She averaged 11 points, 11.7 rebounds and nine assists per game for the Championship.
Senior guard Courtney Clements had 15 points and sophomore forward Erimma Amarikwa scored 11 points to go along with 11 rebounds for San Diego State, who broke the MW Women's Championship game record for most blocks with 10. The Aztecs out-rebounded the Bulldogs 48-38; the 48 rebounds set a new championship game record.