Fresno State, Cal Set to Meet in NCAA Tournament

March 20, 2013

No. 2 Seed California (28-3, 17-1 Pac-12) vs. No. 15 Seed Fresno State (24-8, 13-3 MW)


Game #33 • March 23, 2013

1:20 p.m. PT • United Spirit Arena (15,000) • Lubbock, Texas

Radio: ESPN2 790 AM with Christian Lukens • Live Stats:

TV: ESPN2 with Cara Capuano (play-by-play) and Stephen Bardo (analyst).

Series Record: Cal leads 21-5 • Last Meeting: 3/21/09 - Cal 70, FS 47 in 2009 NCAA Tournament

Fresno State Postseason Guide | Bulldogs 2013 NCAA Tournament Central

Opening Tip
Fresno State, a No. 15 seed in the Spokane Region, opens the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championships on Saturday when it faces No. 2-seed California at the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas. Tip-off is set for 1:20 p.m. PT and the game is being televised nationally on ESPN2 with Cara Capuano (play-by-play) and Stephen Bardo (analyst).

The Bulldogs secured the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament from the Mountain West by winning the 2013 Reese's MW Basketball Championships. The Bulldogs were a two-seed at the conference tournament and defeated top-seeded San Diego State 76-70 in the championship game.

2013-NCAA-Tournament-LogoFor Fresno State, this will be its sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance. That is tied for the 14th longest active streak in the NCAA and the second longest from any school not in a BCS conference. The Bulldogs are 0-5 all-time in the Big Dance, but look forward to the opportunity to compete for the school's first win in the NCAA Tournament - a goal for the team, especially for seniors Rosie Moult and Jeanna Furst who are making their fourth trip to the Big Dance.

The Bulldogs, who have already played four other Pac-12 schools this season (Stanford, Washington State, USC and Oregon), have faced Cal once before in the NCAA Tournament. That came in the first round in 2009 when the Bears defeated the Bulldogs 70-47 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.

Fresno State's defense is what got it into the Big Dance. In the MW Tournament, the Bulldogs forced a total of 61 turnovers in three games and set a new tournament record with 40 steals. Fresno State ranks third nationally with 13.0 steals per game this season.

Bulldog Headlines
► Fresno State enters the tournament hot, having won seven-straight and 14 out of its last 16 games.

► Junior guard Ki-Ki Moore, the MVP of the Mountain West Tournament and the 2013 MW Defensive Player of the Year, leads the 'Dogs in scoring at 17.2 points per game.

► The Bulldogs have won nine-straight games away from home, including all three games at the 2013 Reese's MW Championships. For the entire year, Fresno State is 12-6 away from home.

► Marist, with eight-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, is the only school from a non-BCS program that has appeared in more consecutive NCAA Tournaments than Fresno State has with six.

► Head coach Raegan Pebley has tied the school record for the most wins by a first-year coach.

► The No. 15 seed is the lowest the Bulldogs have been for any one of their six NCAA Tournament appearances. They have been as high as a No. 12 seed.

► Fresno State's starting 5 of Bree Farley, Alex Sheedy, Ki-Ki Moore, Rosie Moult and Taylor Thompson scored 195 of the 211 points (92.4 percent) for the Bulldogs in the MW Tournament.

► Behind their full-court pressure defense, the Bulldogs were able to rank No. 3 nationally with 13.0 steals per game. Fresno State needs three more steals to tie the program record of 420 set last season for the most steals in a year.

► Fresno State has won seven-straight and 14 out of its last 16 games. Its seven-game winning streak is its longest of the season.

► Head coach Raegan Pebley has tied Adrian Wiggins for the most wins from a first-year coach in Bulldog history.

Fresno State vs. California - Scouting Report
Cal earned its ninth overall berth to the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid. The Bears were seeded No. 2 after putting together their most successful season in program history with a 28-3 overall record and a Pac-12 Co-Championship. Cal enters Saturday's game having last dropped the Pac-12 conference tournament semifinal to UCLA, 70-58, after defeating USC in opening round 78-59. The Bears shared the regular season Pac-12 title with Stanford, sharing identical records of 17-1 in conference play having defeated each other once. Cal snapped the Cardinal's 81-game conference winning streak with a 67-55 victory on Jan. 13 at Stanford. The Bears are the only non-No.1 seed to have defeated one of the four No. 1 seeds with their win against Stanford. Statistically, Cal led the Pac-12 in offense, scoring 71.6 points per game. Other top marks in the Pac-12 were defensive rebounds per game (32.7) and rebounding margin (+11.6). The Bears top scorer is Layshia Clarendon, averaging 15.6 points per game, placing her sixth in the Pac-12.

Cal owns a 21-5 all-time series lead against the 'Dogs, having last met in the NCAA First Round game in 2009 at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.

'Dogs Go Dancing Again
Fresno State is making its sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Five of the six bids have come as automatic qualifiers, this season as Mountain West champ in its inaugural season in the conference. The one at-large berth into the Big Dance in program history came in 2010 after a 27-win regular season. Six consecutive trips to the Big Dance gives the Bulldogs the 14th longest active streak in the nation and it is the second longest streak from a non-BCS school, only topped by Marist (8). Fresno State is 0-5 in postseason play, having lost to Georgetown 61-56 most recently on March 18, 2012 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Fresno State's matchup on Saturday versus Cal will be the second time the two schools have paired up in the NCAA tournament after a first round matchup in 2009. The 'Dogs fell 70-47 in their second ever trip to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 13 seed in the Trenton region to a Bears team that was ranked No. 12 in the nation.

Seniors Rosie Moult and Jeanna Furst will be making their fourth trip to the NCAA tournament.

Raegan Pebley's First Dance (As Head Coach)
March Madness is no stranger to Raegan Pebley, having been to the dance as a player and assistant coach. The 10-year head coach (nine at Utah State) can now add head coach to her NCAA Tournament resume after leading the Bulldogs to the Big Dance in her first season at Fresno State. Pebley has already tied the record for most wins by a first-year head coach at Fresno State with 24 (tying Adrian Wiggins mark of 24-8 in 2005-06).

As a player at Colorado (1994-97), Pebley made two Sweet 16's during her career and in her freshman season, made it to the Elite 8 by winning a school record 30 games (30-3 overall). Colorado had won 25-straight games that season and finished the year ranked No. 5. As an assistant coach at Colorado State in 2001, Pebley's Rams advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament under head coach Tom Collen, current head coach of the Arkansas Razorback women's basketball team who made the WNIT this season.

Fresno State Run-Down
The Bulldogs, in their first season under head coach Raegan Pebley, got hot at the right time this year. After going 8-5 in non-conference play, where seven of those 13 games were on the road including a stretch of six-straight to end December and begin January, Fresno State came back and went 13-3 in conference play to finish second in its first Mountain West regular season. The Bulldogs were 12-2 at home this year and 12-6 away from home. Fresno State started off the year by losing its first four road games, the first one at No. 4 Stanford, and went 2-5 overall on the road in non-conference play. However, once the Bulldogs opened up conference play, they excelled on the road and went 7-1 in league road games. Fresno State's most impressive win of the regular season came in its very-first Mountain West game, as the 'Dogs won at San Diego State 80-72 on Jan. 9. Fresno State led SDSU by as many as 20 points with 15:08 to play in the second half of that game where it handed the Aztecs their only loss during league play.

Fresno State has used the majority of its minutes this year with its starting five of Bree Farley, Ki-Ki Moore, Rosie Moult, Alex Sheedy and Taylor Thompson, which has been the 'Dogs' starting five in each of the last 12 games and 21 times total this year. Everyone in that group but Sheedy, who averages 28.6 minutes per game, is averaging over 30 minutes. Robin Draper is the first Bulldog off the bench and she averages 18.4 minutes per game. Center Jacinta Vandenberg has averaged 13.9 minutes per game and made 10 starts this year. Fresno State's bench averaged just 11.9 points per game this season with Draper accounting for 4.4 of that. The Bulldog starting five combined to score 1,822 of the teams 2,176 points this season (83.7 percent).

Bulldogs Win 2013 Reese's Mountain West Basketball Championships
Fresno State won three games in three days to capture the 2013 Reese's Mountain West Basketball Championship in its first season in the league. The second-seeded Bulldogs defeated top-ranked San Diego State in the championship game, ending SDSU's 17-game winning streak and preventing it from matching its longest winning streak in school history (18 games). The Bulldogs found a way to win the tournament using their defense, because Fresno State shot below 40 percent in all three of its tournament games. For the tournament, the Bulldogs shot 37.0 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from 3-point land. In three of the last four games of the regular season, Fresno State shot above 40 percent, including a season-high of 55.4 percent in the regular season finale against UNLV.

Another Pac-12 School
No. 6 Cal will be the fifth Pac-12 school the Bulldogs have faced this season. Fresno State lost 72-61 in the opener at then fourth-ranked Stanford, beat Washington State 82-59 and USC 65-50 at home, and lost at Oregon 65-64. The Bulldogs are 39-93 (.295) all-time against Pac-12 teams, but have gone 3-4 versus them over the last two seasons.

Most Disruptive Defense
Fresno State led the Mountain West this season by forcing 20.1 turnovers per game and its 644 forced turnovers were 85 more than any other MW team forced this season. Fresno State did a good job of taking care of the ball this year - had only eight turnovers against UNLV in the regular season finale and a season-low seven turnovers in the MW Tournament championship game - and averaged 14.4 turnovers per game, which was the fourth lowest in the league. That gave the Bulldogs a +5.69 turnover margin, the best in the league and it ranked 11th nationally.

Top Thefts
Fresno State set a new Mountain West Tournament record with 40 steals in its three games in Las Vegas last week. For the season, Fresno State had a Mountain West record 417 steals, which is only three shy of the school single-season record of 420 set in the 2011-12 season. The Bulldogs rank No. 3 in the NCAA with 13.0 steals per game and have two players - Ki-Ki Moore (17th, 3.13) and Rosie Moult (25th, 2.93) ranked in the top 25 nationally in steals. Moore, Moult and junior guard Taylor Thompson ranked one, two and three in the Mountain West in steals this year. The three combined for 264 steals, which was more than five of the other eight teams in the MW had this season. With 100 steals on the year, Moore has broken the Fresno State single-season record of 97 that she set last year and she needs just one more steal to tie the MW record of 101 that was set by San Diego State's Jene Morris in 2009-10.

Good Handles
Junior guard Taylor Thompson, who ranks sixth in school history with 336 assists, enters the tournament with 36 assists against only seven turnovers in her last five games. She had nine assists with two turnovers at Air Force on March 2 and then in the regular season finale against UNLV, Thompson set a new career-high with 10 assists and she only turned the ball over one time in that game. Thompson also scored 14 points against the Rebels, giving her the second double-double on the season. Her first double-double came in the season opener at No. 4 Stanford when she scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds. For the season, Thompson ranked third in the MW in both assists (4.4 apg) and in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8).

The 'Dogs Have Range
Fresno State closed out the season averaging 7.4 made 3-pointers per game, ranking as the 22nd-best in the NCAA and tops in the Mountain West. Senior Rosie Moult ranks No. 11 in the country individually with 3.0 made 3-point baskets per game. She has 81 three's on the year and despite missing five games this season due to injury, she still made 13 more trey's than any other MW player. Moult made 38.2 percent of her 3-point baskets on 212 attempts, ranking her with 33rd best percentage in the NCAA. Moult's 333 career made 3-pointers are the second-most in school history.

Most recently the 'Dogs shot 19-of-65 (.292) from behind the arc in the Mountain West tournament. Fresno State struggled in its first two contests, but in the championship game the team went 9-for-22 (.409). Alex Sheedy and Moult led the way in the championship game versus San Diego State as each player went 4-for-6 from behind the arc.

Winningest Senior Class in Program History
Seniors Rosie Moult and Jeanna Furst have won more games at Fresno State than any other players in program history. The duo has helped Fresno State go 104-29 (.782) over the last four seasons, which is the best record for any players to play four seasons at Fresno State. In the four seasons between 2008-12, Fresno State went 104-30, but the 2011-12 senior class was comprised of Blakely Goldberg and Veronica Wilson - two players that transferred to Fresno State and only played two seasons with the Bulldogs (the program record for wins in any four-year stretch is the 104 wins) so the Bulldogs have a shot at breaking that by picking up a win in the NCAA Tournament, something Fresno State has never done before.

What A Time for a Career Night
Sophomore forward Alex Sheedy picked a good time to have the best game of her career. In the MW Tournament championship game, she scored a career-high 21 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including going 4-of-6 from downtown, to help Fresno State defeat San Diego State and secure the league's automatic bid into the Big Dance. Her four 3-pointers matched her career-high that she set on Jan. 9 in a win at San Diego State. Sheedy scored 18 points versus the Aztecs back in early January, and at that time, that was her career-high.

Fresno State led by as many as 22 points vs. the Aztecs in the championship game before SDSU came back to cut that lead down to two with a minute to play. The Bulldogs hadn't scored since the 4:25 mark when Sheedy, with 49 seconds remaining, got open to attempt a 3-pointer. She was fouled by SDSU guard Chelsea Hopkins, the MW Player of the Year, and drained all three free throws to seal the victory for the Bulldogs. A clutch play from a young player.

Bulldogs Reach 20 Wins
For the sixth-straight season and the 13th time in program history, Fresno State has reached the 20-win plateau.

A Trip to the Lone Star State
Although Fresno State has no conference opponent in the state of Texas, it hasn't been all that long since the Bulldogs played in the Lone Star State. Fresno State played three games in Texas last season, winning all three contests by a large margin. The Bulldogs played in the SMU Tournament, defeating Tennessee State (83-66) and SMU (88-67) on Nov. 25 and 26, 2011. Then on Jan. 3, 2012, the Bulldogs won at UT Arlington, 78-48.

Junior guard Alex Furr, who is sitting out the season recovering from knee surgery, is the only Bulldog on the roster from the state of Texas. She hails from Athens, Texas - roughly 417 miles away. The Bulldogs also have two players from Oklahoma - Taylor Thompson and Toni Smith. Thompson's hometown of Cache is only 250 miles from Lubbock and Smith's home town of Del City is 349 miles away.

• Junior guard Ki-Ki Moore was named to College Sports Madness 2013 All-High Major fourth-team.
• The Bulldogs enter the NCAA Tournament with an RPI of 76.
• Senior guard Rosie Moult made four or more 3-pointers in 12 of her 27 games this year. She has hit five or more three's 20 times in her career and she enters the tournament shooting 45.2 percent from downtown (14-of-31) over her last five games.
• Fresno State hit 131 3-pointers in its 16 Mountain West game this season, which are the second-most from any team in Mountain West history.
• The Bulldogs have now won 16 out of their last 17 conference tournament games going back to 2008 and have won the conference tournament in five out of the past six seasons.
• Cal ranks third nationally in rebounding margin at +11.6. Fresno State has faced one of the other top rebounding teams in the NCAA this year in Wyoming, who is 12th nationally in rebounding margin. In the first of three meetings against Wyoming, the Cowgirls out-boarded the 'Dogs by 17. In the second meeting, Fresno State out-rebounded UW by four. In the third meeting, the Bulldogs were out-boarded by eight, but Fresno State was able to win two of the three games against the Cowgirls this season.