Bulldogs (7-13, 1-9 WAC) will be attempting to snap an eight-game skid and also set a new single-game attendance record against SMU on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Feb. 6, 2004
"Ren's Court Report," an online diary
from sophomore Lauren Selmon.
Fresno State Bulldogs (7-13, 1-9 WAC)
vs. SMU Mustangs (10-9, 6-4 WAC)
Date: Sat., Feb. 7
Time: 1 p.m.
Site: Fresno, Calif.
Facility: Save Mart Center (16,116)
Series History: SMU leads 8-5
Last Meeting: SMU 67, Fresno State 62 (Jan. 8, 2003- Dallas, Texas)
TV: Comcast Cable (local channel 14)- tape delayed
Play-by-play: Scott Goldsmith, color: Rob Emler)
Radio: ESPN Radio 1430 AM (play-by-play: Paul Swearengin, color: Phil Hawkins)
Fresno State was dealt its eighth straight loss on Thursday night, falling to No. 8 Louisiana Tech 85-52. That loss gives the Bulldogs 13 on the year- equaling the same number of defeats the team suffered all of last season. Saturday's opponent, SMU (10-9, 6-4 WAC), has won three straight games and is coming off a 71-68 win at Nevada on Thursday night. Fresno State's last victory occurred back on Jan. 5, when the 'Dogs dispatched of San Jose State 81-39.
Shatter The Mark
When Fresno State hosts SMU on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 1 p.m., the Bulldogs will attempt to establish a new single-game attendance record for women's basketball at the Save Mart Center. ALL tickets for this game are available for just $3. Fans can purchase their tickets at the Save Mart Center Box Office or by calling Ticketmaster at 559-485-TIXS. The current record stands at 4,882- set back on Jan. 17 against UTEP. Fresno State is 17-6 at home combined over the last two years.
Junior forward Aritta Lane left Thursday night's game against Louisiana Tech in the second half with a high right ankle sprain. Her status for Saturday against SMU will be a game-time decision.
Game Time Note
Fresno State's game against Rice on Saturday, Feb. 21 has been scheduled for a 2 p.m. tip, or approximately 20 minutes following the conclusion of the men's Bracket Buster game against East Tennessee State at 12 p.m.
Single-game tickets to all Fresno State women's basketball home games are available at the Save Mart Center Box Office, by calling Ticketmaster at (559) 485-TIXS or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for juniors (ages 2-17). After today, Fresno State has just three home games remaining.
Hoops and Hockey
The final Fresno State women's basketball-Fresno Falcons hockey doubleheader is slated for tonight, as the Falcons host the Bakersfield Condors at 7:30 p.m. Fans attending the Fresno State women's basketball game against SMU receive a free ticket to the Falcons' match, good for any seat in the Silver Section.
Saturday's game can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1430 AM. Paul Swearengin calls the action while Phil Hawkins provides the color commentary. In addition, the contest will also be televised on Comcast Cable (local channel 14) on a tape-delayed basis. Scott Goldsmith and Rob Emler handle the broadcast chores. The game can also be heard live on Fresno State's official athletics website, www.gobulldogs.com.
SMU stands at 10-9 overall and 6-4 in conference play. The Mustangs defeated Nevada 71-68 on Thursday and also swept a two-game homestand last weekend with wins over UTEP (54-39) and Boise State (66-41). The numbers might be deceiving though, as SMU has been outscored (64.8 to 60.4), outrebounded (45.1 to 38.1) and outshot (38.8 to 36.3) by its opponents this year. Another reason to scratch your head- not one SMU player is currently averaging double figures in scoring. The Mustangs are led by Kaira White (9.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 45 assists), Sarah Davis (9.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 32 assists) and Kendall Shead (6.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 78 assists, 31 steals). SMU is just 2-4 in WAC games on the road so far. The head coach of the Mustangs is Rhonda Rompola, now in her 13th year.
Fresno State All-Time vs. SMU
Even though the Bulldogs have four of the last six games, SMU owns an 8-5 edge in the all-time series. SMU registered a 67-62 victory when the two teams hooked up back on Jan. 8 in Dallas, Texas. Fresno State swept all three meetings last year, including an 81-67 victory in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament. SMU won the first five meetings between the two schools. SMU is 2-3 all-time in Fresno.
Fresno State's current eight-game losing skid is the team's longest since the 1980-81 season, when the squad dropped 14 straight games during a 4-21 campaign. Four of the team's eight losses during the skid have been by 10 points or less; the other four have been by margins of 18 or more.
Conference Start Worst Since 1980-81
Fresno State's current 1-9 record through nine WAC games is the school's slowest 10-game start in conference play since the aforementioned 1980-81 season. That year, Diane Milutinovich's team also started out conference play at 1-9.
It's That Time Of Year?
Fresno State might have come across the perfect remedy for a losing streak without even stepping on the court. In 2002-03, when the month of February rolled around, the Bulldogs caught fire. Needless to say, the team will be looking for a repeat this year as well. Fresno State was 6-1 during the month of February last year and started a five-game winning streak midway through the month that ultimately propelled them to an appearance in the postseason WNIT. They'll have to find a solution quickly, because Thursday's loss to No. 8 Louisiana Tech makes them 0-1 in February this season.
Fresno State's matchup against Louisiana Tech on Thursday night represented the first game of second-half regular season WAC competition. The Bulldogs struggled through the first half, going 1-8 in nine games. Perhaps Fresno State can look back at last year's second-half success for encouragement, as the 'Dogs went 7-2 in its second half after producing a 4-5 mark through the first nine conference contests.
It's Just Not Falling In
A string of losses can usually be traced back to poor shooting, an area that has hurt the Bulldogs in recent games. Fresno State's shooting woes continued Thursday in an 85-52 loss to Louisiana Tech, as the Bulldogs shot under 32-percent overall from the field for the fifth straight game. Against the Lady Techsters, the Bulldogs were 17-70 for a 24.3-percent clip overall. For the season, the 'Dogs are shooting 38.2-percent compared to a 41.6-percent clip by its opponents. Only two players have field-goal percentages of 45-percent or better: regular starter Mindy Clark is just over at 46-percent, while freshman reserve Jasmine Plummer checks in at 50.5-percent.
Close Calls Going The Other Way
20 out of Fresno State's 34 games in 2002-03 were decided by 10 points or less, with the Bulldogs posting an impressive 14-6 record in such games. This season has been a little different, as the team has played just nine games within 10 points and is sporting a 3-6 record under those circumstances. The Bulldogs are 1-2 in games decided by three points or less, with two of those losses coming at home in conference play (48-46 to Hawai'i and 52-50 to Boise State).
Winning The Rebound Battle
As long as the Bulldogs continue to win the battle of the boards, victories should be right around the corner. Fresno State is outrebounding its opponents 40.7 to 35.3, including a season-best 53 against Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 28. Three different players are averaging at least five boards per contest, with Mindy Clark pulling down 7.3, Jasmine Plummer at 6.3 and Aritta Lane at 5.5 per game. A Dec. 13 victory over Santa Clara proved to be a telling example, as the Bulldogs outrebounded the Broncos 48-33 overall and 23-8 on the offensive glass.
Freshman Stepping Up For The 'Dogs Paige Diggs: Has been steadily gaining more playing time as a result of her recent success. Diggs had her best game of the year on Dec. 13 against Santa Clara when she established career highs in points (9) and rebounds (6). Against UTEP on Jan. 17, she played 23 minutes. She is averaging just 3.5 ppg but has provided a spark off the bench in the last few games for the 'Dogs.
Brittani Green: The Dallas, Texas, native is developing into a solid post option for the Bulldogs. Green notched a career-high 14 points in a loss at Rice on Jan. 22 and was 10-13 from the charity stripe in that contest. She has been active on the glass, grabbing 67 rebounds and has been consistent from the foul line with an 41-56 clip. She has pulled down at least five boards in a game seven times.
Jasmine Plummer: Aggressive on defense and opportunistic on offense, Plummer notched five assists in her first career game at Washington State and is second on the team with 33. She is currently fourth in scoring with 6.1 ppg and is second on the club in rebounding at 6.3 per contest. Plummer is also leading the team in steals with 32 on the year. Her 11 blocked shots are a team-best.
Part of Fresno State's early success has hinged on the contributions it has received from three freshmen: Paige Diggs, Brittani Green and Jasmine Plummer.
Recapping the Bulldog's Recent Action
No. 8 Louisiana Tech 85, Fresno State 52 (Feb. 5, 2004 at Fresno, Calif.)
Trina Frierson and Amisha Carter didn't beat Fresno State all by themselves. It just seemed that way. Frierson scored 22 points and Carter added 21 as No. 8 Louisiana Tech routed Fresno State 85-52. Frierson and Carter, bookend 6-foot-1 forwards, combined to shoot 19-of-28 from the field. Guards Amber Obaze and Lakiste Barkus added 10 points apiece for the Lady Techsters. Arrita Lane led Fresno State with 11 points before leaving with an ankle injury. Mindy Clark added 10 points and 13 rebounds. The Lady Techsters are now 44-2 in WAC play since joining the conference before the 2001-02 season. Louisiana Tech shot 52.4 percent from the field and 94.7 percent (18-for-19) from the free-throw line.
Home Sweet Home
Nine games have been played at the Save Mart Center so far this year and the home crowds have been impressive. Fresno State, now 4-5 at home, has topped the 4,000 mark every time, with the 4,882 fans that turned out for a Jan. 17 contest against UTEP representing the largest crowd in program history. The Bulldogs finished 13-2 at home last year. The Red Wave played an important role in 2002-03, as Fresno State drew an average of 1,462 fans in 15 home dates. 13 of the 15 home games featured crowds of at least 1,000, including five sellouts.