March 9, 2014
Game #30 March 11, 2014 6 p.m. PT
Thomas & Mack Center (18,500) Las Vegas, Nev.
No. 2 Seed Fresno State (19-10, 13-5 MW) vs. No. 7 Seed UNLV (12-18, 9-9 MW)
Radio: ESPN2 790 AM
Live Stats: GoBulldogs.com
TV: Mountain West Network
Fresno State opens the 2014 Reese's Mountain West Championships as the No. 2 seed and has a first-round bye for the tournament being held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev. for the eighth consecutive season. Fresno State is set to face UNLV in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Christian Lukens with ESPN2 790 AM is calling the game on the radio and fans can also watch it live online at the Mountain West Network.
The Bulldogs enter the tournament on a roll, winning their last five games of the regular season. That is the longest winning streak of the season for the 'Dogs.
Fresno State senior guards Taylor Thompson and Bree Farley both garnered All-Mountain West accolades, as the end of the year awards were announced on Sunday. Thompson was named the Co-Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-Mountain West first-team. This is the second season in a row that a Bulldog has been named the MW Defensive Player of the Year, as Ki-Ki Moore won the award last season.
Farley, who averaged 15.2 points in conference play, was a second-team selection. This is the first time in her career she has earned all-conference honors.
The two seniors will be looking to lead the Bulldogs to their fourth-straight conference tournament title. Fresno State is also looking to secure the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The 'Dogs have appeared in the last six NCAA Tournaments.
► Fresno State won the Reese's Mountain West Tournament in its first season in the league last year. The last team to repeat as MW Tournament champions was New Mexico in 2007 and 2008.
► In the 14-year history of the Mountain West Championships, the No. 1 seed has won the tournament five times while the No. 2 seed has won it four times.
► Alex Sheedy was named to the All-Tournament team last year when she averaged 13.0 points and 5.3 rebounds. She enters this seasons tournament coming off a 22-point, 11-rebound performance in Fresno State 107-80 victory over San Jose State to close out the regular season.
► Fresno State won four-straight games entering the 2013 Reese's Mountain West Tournament that it won. The 'Dogs enter this year's tournament on a season-high five game winning streak.
► Raegan Pebley is 43-19 (.694) overall in two seasons as Fresno State's head coach.
Fresno State, currently standing at 19-10 overall on the season, is in the hunt for yet another 20-win season. The Bulldogs have won 20 or more games in each of the past six seasons, although Fresno State had to vacate its 22 wins during the 2007-08 season due to NCAA violations.
The Bulldogs have out-rebounded four out of their last five opponents, which is their best streak on the boards this season.
Fresno State and Wyoming are the only teams in the Mountain West that enter the 2014 Reese's MW Championship with three players all averaging over 13 points per game.
Excluding NCAA Tournament games, Fresno State has won 16-straight games in the month of March. Their last loss in the month of March came in the 2010 WAC Tournament Championship game, a 68-66 loss to Louisiana Tech.
This probable starting five is the same lineup the Bulldogs have used to start each of their last 11 games of the regular season. They went 8-3 in with this starting lineup this year.
Bulldogs Look to Repeat as MW Tournament Champions
In the 2013 Reese's MW Championship, the Bulldogs as a No. 2 seed defeated Boise State, Wyoming and San Diego State to win the conference tournament in their first season in the league. Fresno State did it with defense a year ago at the Thomas & Mack Center, forcing a total of 61 turnovers in three games and setting a new tournament record with 40 steals. Now the Bulldogs look to become the first team since New Mexico in 2007 and 2008 to repeat as champions. Fresno State has a strong history in conference tournaments, winning three-straight and five of the last six tournaments it has competed in. The 'Dogs won the WAC Tournament in 2008, '09, and '11. Fresno State's two seniors look to become the first senior class in school history that won a conference tournament in all four seasons of their eligibility.
Getting Hot At the Right Time
In two seasons at Fresno State, head coach Raegan Pebley's squads have been playing its best basketball at the right time of the year. Last season, Fresno State entered the Mountain West tournament on a four-game winning streak and that momentum helped the Bulldogs, who were the No. 2 seed in Las Vegas, win the tournament title. Fresno State had a seven-game winning streak entering the 2013 NCAA Tournament, which was its sixth-straight appearance in the Big Dance. This season, Fresno State carries a season-best five-game winning streak into 2014 Reese's Mountain West Championship. Over these last five games, the Bulldogs have been led by seniors Bree Farley and Taylor Thompson who are averaging 18.2 and 17.0 points per game, respectively. Fresno State is shooting 43.9 percent during its current winning streak and only had 12.2 turnovers per game. Although Fresno State has allowed 69 points per game over these last five games, the 'Dogs did rank No. 2 this season in the Mountain West in scoring defense by allowing just 62.9 points per contest overall.
A Win Against Every School
Fresno State has defeated all other 10 teams in the Mountain West at least once this season. Colorado State was the only other school in the conference that has defeated every school in the league. The 'Dogs also swept three teams - Air Force, Boise State and UNLV - while defeating New Mexico and Utah State in the lone game they played against those schools. Fresno State earned splits in its two games against Colorado State, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State and Wyoming.
Bree Farley Joins 1,000-Point Club
Bree Farley exploded for a career-high 31 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field and a perfect 12-for-12 from the free-throw line to lead Fresno State to a 107-80 victory over San Jose State in the Bulldogs' regular season finale. Farley, playing in her final home game of her career, put on a show for the Red Wave and on Senior Night she surpassed the 1,000 point milestone in her career, becoming the 21st Bulldog in program history to do so and the second on the current roster along with Taylor Thompson. Her 31-point outburst is the highest point total registered by a Bulldog this season and she became the sixth different player in the Mountain West this year to have a 30-point game. Farley hit three 3-pointers in the game, all coming in the first five minutes of the contest, and she scored 11 of Fresno State's first 17 points to help the Bulldogs jump out to an early 17-7 lead in the game where Fresno State never trailed. Her perfect 12-for-12 shooting at the free-throw line also set new career-highs for her in both free throws made and attempted. Farley also had seven rebounds in the contest, helping Fresno State out-rebound SJSU 49-36, and had three assists. She scored 17 points in the first half where the Bulldogs led 48-33 going into halftime and the 48 points are the most the `Dogs scored in a first half this season. She added 14 points in the second half.
Thompson All Over the School Record Books
By averaging 18.5 points in a pair of victories over Air Force and Colorado State in early January, senior guard Taylor Thompson became the 20th Bulldog in school history to go over 1,000 career points. She did so in the Jan. 11 win over Colorado State, in a game in which she scored 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Thompson also led Fresno State with nine rebounds, had four assists with no turnovers and two steals. She is also the school's all-time leader in career steals with 303, ranks No. 3 in school history with 466 assists and No. 13 in points with 1,214.
What is most impressive about Thompson reaching 1,000 career points is that she has done so while primarily being a distributor for much of her career. Thompson has played with four of the top 15 scorers in Fresno State history - Jaleesa Ross, Rosie Moult, Haley Munro and Ki-Ki Moore - and with five total players who have all scored over 1,000 career points. Ross, Fresno State's all-time leading scorer, and Munro, ranked seventh in school history, were both seniors in Thompson's freshman season. Ross scored 538 points and Munro had 409 in that 2010-11 season when Thompson had 77 assists. Moult, ranked sixth in school history, scored 1,023 of her 1,426 career points playing three seasons with Thompson. Then Ki-Ki Moore scored 1,153 points over the last two seasons playing with Thompson. Thompson is just the third player in school history to register over 1,000 points and 400 assists in her career.
Series History with UNLV
UNLV leads the all-time series with Fresno State 15-12, but the Bulldogs have won nine of the last 10 meetings in the series. Head coach Raegan Pebley is 4-0 at Fresno State against the Rebels, winning the four games by an average margin of 16.5 points. The Bulldogs have averaged 77.8 points in their last four games against UNLV. The two schools have faced each other just once before in a conference tournament and that came in the 1987 PCAA Tourney in Inglewood, Calif. when the Lady Rebels won 86-69.
Series History with San Jose State
Fresno State leads the all-time series with San Jose State 52-19. The two teams split the regular season series with each team winning at home. The Bulldogs closed the regular season with a 107-80 win over San Jose State. The 107 points scored marked the first time the 'Dogs hit the century mark since Nov. 14, 2010 when Fresno State had 120 points in a win over Sacramento State. Fresno State also set new season-highs in free throws made (29) and attempted (41) in the home win over the Spartans and tied their season-high with 22 assists on 36 made field goals. Fresno State had won 20 consecutive games over the Spartans before SJSU defeated the 'Dogs on Feb. 25, 2012, which started a two-game winning streak for the Spartans before Fresno State's win last Friday. In the first meeting this season between the schools up in San Jose, the Spartans came away with a 68-66 victory on Riana Byrd's layup with 1.3 seconds remaining. There were 41 combined turnovers in that game (21 by San Jose State, 20 by Fresno State), but the difference was SJSU's 11 made 3-pointers and the Bulldogs shooting just 31.3 percent in the second half. Fresno State is 2-0 all-time vs. San Jose State in a conference tournament, defeating the Spartans in the 2003 and 2008 WAC Tournaments.
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