Dogs Lose Triple OT Thriller To La Tech
Jan. 13, 2011
FRESNO, Calif. -- - For nearly three hours Thursday night, the Fresno State women's basketball team engaged in a marathon slugfest with WAC rival Louisiana Tech.
Advantages were both precious and fleeting, as neither team gave an inch. Indeed, it took three overtime periods and a 3-pointer from guard Brietta Thomas with 2.1 seconds remaining to end the deadlock and send the Lady Techsters to a 94-92 win over the Bulldogs in what was the first triple-overtime game in Fresno State history.
"Just the loss at home hurts," said guard Jaleesa Ross, who finished with 18 points. "We say it all the time; we don't lose at home, especially in conference. But it's still early, and we've got a lot of games to go. We're still looking for a WAC championship."
The setback snapped Fresno State's 20-game WAC winning streak and leaves the Bulldogs (11-6, 2-1 WAC) with some ground to make up in that quest. But with ESPNU cameras rolling and 3,275 fans in attendance at the Save Mart Center, the game lived up to the hype surrounding it.
After all, back-and-forth battles have become the rule, not the exception, when Fresno State and Louisiana Tech (11-5, 3-0) cross paths. Perhaps Thursday's thriller was not that surprising given their history. Just last season, the Lady Techsters knocked off the Bulldogs on a last-second shot in the 2010 WAC Tournament championship game, ending their 19-game winning streak.
Fresno State coach Adrian Wiggins acknowledged the pattern but refused to focus solely on the late-game dramatics.
"We just didn't make enough free throws," said Wiggins, whose team was 21-for-35 from the charity stripe. "I know it comes down to the last shot at the end, but we have to look at the big picture."
For a time, it seemed as though victory was Fresno State's for the taking. The Bulldogs led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but once Louisiana Tech climbed back into the game, the squad was in it for the duration.
The Lady Techsters even mounted a 74-71 lead with 37.4 seconds to play in regulation. That proved to be ample time for Fresno State to strike back. Freshman guard Taylor Thompson, who provided the heroics in last week's 79-69 victory at Utah State, came through once again, nailing a last-second 3-pointer from well beyond the arc to send the game into the first overtime. Thompson finished with 17 points and had five steals in 51 minutes.
"I just knew I had to make it," she said. "Honestly, I just threw it up, but I usually make those."
The Bulldogs weren't able to maintain the momentum, and a jumper by Jasmine Bendolph sent the game into a second overtime. Bendolph finished with 13 points and was one of five Louisiana Tech players to score in double figures. Adrienne Johnson, the second-leading scorer in the WAC, led all scorers with 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting.
"Their scorers are very similar to ours," Wiggins said. "We knew they'd be tough, and we matched that for the most part.... I felt like we had a great effort."
"We Are Your Team!" -- Fresno State returns to the Save Mart Center on Saturday for a 6 p.m. contest against New Mexico State.