Feb. 19, 2014
By Jason Clay
By Jason Clay
FRESNO, Calif. - Raven Fox scored a career-high 13 points and Taylor Thompson posted a double-double to help the Fresno State women's basketball team come from behind and beat Wyoming 65-60 on Wednesday night at the Save Mart Center.
The win was Fresno State's (15-10, 9-5 Mountain West) fourth in a row at home and by beating Wyoming (17-7, 8-5 MW), the 'Dogs now sit a half-game out of second place in the conference standings.
"This was a game that we knew coming in to was a need to get, a must-win if you say," head coach Raegan Pebley said. "I'm just really proud of the grit that our team showed and that's probably the best word that I have for this win and how we played."
The Bulldogs, behind just 9-of-32 (28.1 percent) shooting in the first half, found themselves in a 26-20 halftime hole. Imploring a five-guard approach for most of the second half, Fresno State was able to climb its way back into the game with penetration in the lane and a great defensive effort to come away with the victory over Wyoming to earn a season split with the Cowgirls.
"I think our second-effort defense and second-half defense [on Wyoming guard Kayla Woodward] was a big key to our victory, that she just wasn't able to get comfortable," Pebley said. "Team effort - defense is done through team effort, but I will say Raven was matched up to her quite a bit and Raven did a great job playing to her strengths defensively."
In the first meeting with Wyoming back on Jan. 29, the Cowgirls put up 87 points and got a combined 41 points from Woodward and Kaitlyn Mileto, who rank No. 3 and No. 6 in the conference in scoring, respectively.
After hitting three 3-pointers in the final 4:55 of the first half, Woodward, with Fox tightly guarding her for much of the game, only scored four second-half points and finished with just 13 in the game. Mileto, who hit five 3-pointers in the first meeting, scored just one point at the free-throw line this time around against Fresno State.
Not only was Fox a force on defense, but her career-night on offense sparked the Bulldogs' comeback. She used her quickness to penetrate into the lane for layups and scored nine points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to cut Wyoming's lead, which was as large as eight, down to one point on a layup at the 10:20 mark.
"I think Raven did an excellent job for us off the bench," Pebley said.
After Fox got the Bulldogs within striking distance, Thompson followed by giving the Bulldogs their first lead of the second half, 44-43, on a layup at 9:39 and proceeded with timely buckets down the lane. She scored 12 points in the final 10 minutes of the game, none bigger than her 3-pointer with 42 seconds remaining that put Fresno State up 62-55 and effectively sealed the victory.
"We just tried to get Taylor in some mismatch opportunities and Taylor played with great confidence," Pebley said. "I think just knowing that was what our team needed and she found the rim quite a bit tonight."
In all, Fresno State scored 24 of its 45 second-half points in the paint. A big part of that was going to the five-guard lineup that allowed Fresno State to spread Wyoming out, opening up the lane for penetration.
"I think our game changed when we went five guards out," Thompson said. "It opened the lane more because their posts were just crowding that lane and it really opened up that lane more for us guards, which was huge for us. That definitely helped me, Raven and our other guards get to the rim more."
Thompson finished with her second double-double of the season and fourth of her career, putting in a team-high 18 points with 11 rebounds.
Fox finished the game going 6-for-10 from the field for her career-high 13 points with one rebound and two steals.
"I was just really happy we got the `W', that's what I want and what our team wants," Fox said when asked how she felt about her performance. "Ultimately the `W' was just awesome."
Guard Bree Farley scored 13 points, had four rebounds and three assists with eight of her 13 points coming in that second-half comeback.
Coming off the bench, Moriah Faulk was big on the boards with 12 rebounds to help Fresno State out-rebound Wyoming 43-40.
Fresno State finished the game shooting 39.7 percent thanks to hitting 51.6 percent of its shots in the second half. Wyoming shot just 34.4 percent on the night. Both teams only had eight turnovers.
Now Fresno State remains at home for just its second and final back-to-back home games during league play. The Bulldogs host Utah State on Saturday at 2 p.m.
"This is one of our opportunities where we get to be at home two times in a row and we really need to try to hone in and take advantage," Pebley said.
"Catch the Wave" - ESPN2 790 AM is the home of the Fresno State women's basketball team.
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