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Fresno State Outlasts UNLV in MW Tournament

Photo Credit Jayson Ortiz


Fresno State’s freshman phenom Haley Cavinder led the way early on with a dominant 16 first-half points by using a couple of shifty moves to get past her defenders and also knocking down a pair of triples. Cavinder also led the game in rebounding, collecting four. Cavinder’s first-half performance exhibited why she won the accolade of Mountain West Freshman of the Year.

Nevada came off of their victory against New Mexico slightly sluggish. The Wolfpack were scoring as a committee led by Amaya West with seven-points early.

As the second half got underway, it was obvious for the Wolfpack to mount a comeback, they would have to string together a scoring run. Nevada only led briefly in the first quarter and needed to pick up the pace against the Bulldogs as the game transitioned to halftime with Fresno State up 34-29.

Cavinder started off the second half the way she ended the first by pouring in the first five points for the Bulldogs. In response, the Wolfpack Head Coach Amanda Levens called a timeout to regroup which worked like a charm as the ladies strung together their largest run of the game scoring five straight points.

Fresno State changed their defensive strategy to pressure the Wolfpack in a 1-2-2 full-court press that dropped into a 2-3 zone defense. This shift has caused Nevada to turn the ball over three times in the third quarter leading to multiple fast-break buckets for Fresno State.

Nevada still found themselves trailing by five at the end of the third quarter as Fresno State leads the game 53-48.

Nevada came out to play for the final 10 minutes of regulation with tons of defensive energy that translated to a fastbreak layup from Alyssa Jimenez. In two possessions, the Wolfpack recorded two blocks, one steal and one-shot clock violation for Fresno State.

With seven minutes to play, Cavinder regrouped the bulldogs by knocking down a timely three bringing her game total to 21. Her twin sister, Hanna Cavinder, helped contribute by chipping in 14 points of her own.

Essence Booker of Nevada notches back-to-back threes to keep the game to a manageable five point striking range. The back and forth action continued as Haley Cavinder quickly responded by firing a 3-pointer of her own from 20+ feet at the top of the key.

For the final minute of regulation, Nevada shows a full-court press which is quickly broken by the precise passing of the Bulldogs guards. Head coach of the Wolfpack, Amanda Levens, chooses to stay in the press forcing the Bulldogs into no-mans-land forcing a timeout. Haley Cavinder and Aly Gamez knock down both of their shots from the free-throw line to extend the Bulldogs lead to six points with 13.2 seconds to go.

The final score of the afternoon was Fresno State 75 – Nevada 71. Fresno State finishes the game with four of their five starters in double figures. Nevada finishes the season with a 15-16 overall record.

Fresno State Head coach, Jamie White says in the post-game conference “It was one of those games to get the jitters out.. I thought we braved the storm and finished strong.” Another game awaits the bulldogs in 24 hours as they take on the winner of San Jose State and UNLV, both teams they’ve beaten twice this regular season.