Dogs Mark Roberts' Return With Win
Jan. 15, 2011
Fresno, CALIF. - Yvette Roberts sat at attention inside the Save Mart Center as senior guard Jaleesa Ross scooped up a loose ball and drove to the basket, moving one step closer to breaking the record that has been hers for more than two decades.
Past and present collided Saturday night when Ross scored 16 points to help Fresno State beat New Mexico State 76-49. Ross now needs 21 more points to surpass Roberts' 1,778-point scoring record and become the most prolific scorer in program history.
"I think that's great," said Roberts, who played for Fresno State from 1985-89. "Records are made to be broken. I had my run. If she does it, congratulations. I would love to shake her hand."
Roberts got that chance Saturday. She was introduced to coach Adrian Wiggins, Ross and the rest of the Bulldogs following the game, an occasion that brought a big smile to Ross' face.
"That was awesome," Ross said. "She put a huge smile on my face. I was so surprised."
Roberts watched intently as Fresno State (12-6, 3-1 WAC) used a 20-4 first-half run to distance itself from the Aggies (8-10, 2-2). The Bulldogs led by as many as 29 points. Sophomore forward Rosie Moult led all scorers with 19 points, and senior forward Hayley Munro added 16 points.
Roberts was on hand for the duration and received a warm round of applause from the 2,895 fans in attendance. She was repeatedly stopped by onlookers, many of whom had watched her dominate the hardwood years before.
While there has been much made of Ross' climb up the scoring ladder, no such attention was paid to Roberts' accomplishment. Indeed, Roberts has no idea when she set the record. She doesn't know who the Bulldogs were playing at the time or whether they were at home or on the road.
"I don't remember at all," she said. "It wasn't for me to be a top-scoring person. I couldn't tell you when it happened. It was all basketball."
Former Fresno State coach Bob Spencer had everything to do with that.
"He said, `You better not think about that record,'" Roberts recalled. "You better get your (butt) out there and play. Don't think about any of that.'"
Of course, it was a different time when Roberts roamed the floor. A Fresno native, she readily recalls the Bulldogs having to clean trash from the bleachers at Bulldog Stadium before every home game in order to raise money for the team.
"We had our buckets, soap and water," Roberts said with a laugh. "That was our Saturday afternoon."
Times may be different, but Roberts' sense of pride for the program remains the same. Over the years, she's watched from afar as the Bulldogs began building their national profile, winning three consecutive WAC titles and regularly competing in the NCAA Tournament.
"When I was playing, we were always trying to get there," said Roberts, who spent 12 years playing professional basketball overseas before becoming a social worker for Fresno County's Department of Social Services. "As the years have gone by, they've gotten coaches in there to put Fresno State on the map. (Wiggins) is doing an excellent job getting girls in there to play for him. I'm very proud of all of them."
"We Are Your Team!" -- Fresno State returns to action Jan. 24 against Hawaii. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.