'Dogs Open NCAA Tournament Saturday vs. Nebraska
Fresno State looks for its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory against 13th-ranked Nebraska
March 19, 2014
Fresno State Game Notes | Women's NCAA 2014 Official Team Bench Chairs - Buy Now
2014 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championships
Game #33 Saturday, March 22, 2014 1 p.m. PT
Pauley Pavilion (18,500) Los Angeles, Calif.
No. 13 Seed Fresno State (22-10, 13-5 MW) vs. No. 4 Seed Nebraska (25-6, 12-4 Big Ten) - Lincoln Region
Radio: ESPN2 790 AM
Live Stats: GoBulldogs.com
TV: ESPN2 | Dave Pasch (play-by-play) and Doris Burke (analyst).
The first and second round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament are regionalized across ESPN's family of networks, with Fresno State's game selected for ESPN2. For Bulldog fans out of region (LA/California) looking to tune in to the game, you may do so online at WatchESPN by clicking on the following link.
ESPN's Coverage Map
REFERENCE: "Fresno State" (never: FSU, CSUF, Fresno State University or just "Fresno"); ABBREVIATIONS: Fresno St. or FS
The Fresno State women's basketball team heads to its seventh-straight NCAA tournament, as the No. 13 seed Bulldogs travel to Los Angeles and are set to face No. 4 seed Nebraska on Saturday, March 22 at 1 p.m. from Pauley Pavilion.
The game is being televised live on ESPN2 with the broadcast team of Dave Pasch (play-by-play) and Doris Burke (analyst). Fans can also listen to the game on the Bulldog Sports Network with Christian Lukens calling the action on ESPN2 790 AM.
Fresno State (22-10) earned its seventh consecutive tournament appearance by winning the 2014 Reese's Mountain West Championships for the second year in a row. It was the programs fourth-straight conference tournament title overall and sixth in the last seven seasons. The Bulldogs joined the Mountain West in 2012 and were previously in the Western Athletic Conference from 1992-2012.
Fresno State seniors Bree Farley and Taylor Thompson represent the only senior class in school history that won four conference tournament championships. They lead the team in scoring, accounting for 40 percent of the Bulldogs' points this season.
Thompson was a first-team All-Mountain West selection this year, the MW's Co-Defensive Player of the Year and the MVP of the 2014 Reese's Mountain West Championships. Farley was a second-team All-MW pick, was a two-time MW Player of the Week this season and was also selected to the MW All-Tournament team out in Las Vegas.
Nebraska and Fresno State have never met in women's basketball.
► The No. 13 seed is the second-lowest the Bulldogs have drawn in their seven all-time NCAA Tournament appearances, trailing the No. 12 seed Fresno State had in the 2011 and 2012.
► Fresno State is making its seventh consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament (2008-09-10-11-12-13-14). The Bulldogs are 0-6 overall in the NCAA Tournament. Its streak of seven-straight tourney appearances is tied with Iowa and Texas for the 14th-longest active streak in the nation.
► Fresno State, at 22-10 overall, has won 20 or more games for the seventh-straight season. This was the 14th season overall in program history with 20 or more victories, although the 2007-08 squad had to vacate their wins due to NCAA violations.
► The Bulldogs enter the 2014 NCAA Tournament on an eight-game winning streak, which is their longest winning streak in two seasons under head coach Raegan Pebley.
► Fresno State enters the NCAA Tournament riding a season-best eight-game winning streak.
► The Bulldogs ranked No. 2 in the Mountain West in scoring defense this season, allowing 63.4 points per game. In the three victories in the 2014 Reese's Mountain West Championships, opponents shot just 35.0 percent against Fresno State.
► Fresno State tied for the MW lead with 245 made 3-pointers this year and tied for 33rd nationally with 7.7 made threes per game.
► The Bulldogs are no stranger to playing on UCLA's campus, having played 11 games at UCLA in school history. The last time the Bulldogs played at UCLA was on Dec. 21, 2003 in the Pauley Pavilion. Fresno State also played at the Galen Center on the USC campus in the first-round loss to Cal in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
► The 'Dogs played two other NCAA Tournament teams this season - Stanford, a No. 2, seed and USC, a No. 9 seed. The Bulldogs lost both of those games that were played in Fresno at the Save Mart Center.
Head Coach Raegan Pebley
► Is 46-19 (.708) overall in two seasons as Fresno State's head coach. Is 156-174 (.473) overall in 11 seasons as a head coach.
► Has coached a conference defensive player of the year in each of the past three seasons. Taylor Thompson (2014) and Ki-Ki Moore (2013) were both the MW Defensive Player of the Year while Ashlee Brown (2012) was the WAC Defensive Player of the year in her last season coaching at Utah State.
► This is her seventh NCAA appearance - four as a player at Colorado, two as head coach at Fresno State and one as an assistant coach at Colorado State (2001).
Raegan Pebley is very familiar with March Madness, having been to the dance as a player, assistant coach and now twice as a head coach. The 11-year head coach (nine at Utah State, two at Fresno State) has led the Bulldogs into the NCAA Tournament in both of her seasons at the school. Pebley tied the record for most wins by a first-year head coach at Fresno State with 24 in 2012-13 (tying Adrian Wiggins mark of 24-8 in 2005-06). She is now 46-19 (.708) overall at Fresno State.
As a player at Colorado (1994-97), Pebley made two Sweet 16's during her career and in her freshman season, made it to the Elite 8 by winning a school record 30 games (30-3 overall). Colorado had won 25-straight games that season and finished the year ranked No. 5. As an assistant coach at Colorado State in 2001, Pebley's Rams advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament under head coach Tom Collen.
Seniors Lead Bulldogs Back To the Big Dance
Fresno State is making its seventh-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, which is tied for the 14th-longest active streak in the country. The Bulldogs are 0-6 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Fresno State seniors Taylor Thompson and Bree Farley are the only senior class in school history that has won the conference tournament all four seasons (the Bulldogs received an at-large bid into the Big Dance in 2010 when it did not win the WAC Tournament - the only time in the last seven years that Fresno State did not win its conference tournament). Farley and Thompson were huge in the 2014 Reese's Mountain West Championship, combining to score 118 of Fresno State 239 points (49.4 percent) in its three games. In the MW title game, Thompson and Farley combined for 49 points, 15 rebounds and hit nine of Fresno State's 10 3-pointers in the game. Farley set a MW finals record with 26 points, while Thompson went for 23 as she matched her career-high with five 3-pointers made against top-seeded Colorado State. Thompson was named the MVP of the tournament and Farley was selected to the All-Tournament team.
Series History with Nebraska
Fresno State and Nebraska have never met in women's basketball. The Bulldog baseball team, winners of the 2008 College World Series played in Omaha, Neb., will be back in the state of Nebraska this weekend playing Creighton at TD Ameritrade Park. Fresno State and Nebraska met in football back in 2011 and the Huskers are set to play in Bulldog Stadium this coming fall on Sept. 13.
Nebraska, ranked 13th in the latest Associated Press Top 25, will be making its third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, and its 11th overall in school history. Nebraska's No. 4 seed ranked second only to NU's No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region in 2010. That Husker team advanced to the school's first NCAA Sweet 16. Nebraska, which has matched the second-highest victory total in school history (25), has been to two Sweet 16's in the last four years. The Huskers, who earned the Big Ten's automatic bid as the conference tournament champion, went 25-6 overall and 12-4 in Big Ten play this season. The Big Red not only captured their first Big Ten women's basketball title, they also claimed the first conference tournament title in Husker history.
Fresno State and Nebraska have played two common opponents this season - Washington State and Utah State. The Huskers defeated Utah State 95-75 and lost to WSU 76-72. Both of those games were played at home. The Bulldogs defeated Utah State 72-70 on Feb. 22 at home when Taylor Thompson hit the game winning shot at the buzzer to break what was a tied game. Fresno State played at Washington State on Nov. 22 and held a 47-35 halftime lead, but ended up losing 92-79 after allowing 57 points in the second half - the most points surrendered in a half by the Bulldogs this season.
Coming In Hot
Fresno State enters the NCAA Tournament riding a season-best eight-game winning streak. In each of the past three seasons, Fresno State has entered the tournament riding at least a five-game winning streak. In 2011, the Bulldogs won 10-straight games entering the tournament. In 2010, the lone season in the past seven the 'Dogs did not win a conference tournament championship, Fresno State had a 19-game winning streak before falling in the WAC Tournament championship game. The Bulldogs received an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament that year as a No. 13 seed and fell to No. 4 seed Baylor in the first round when Brittney Griner was a freshman.
Over the current eight-game winning streak this season, Fresno State has outscored opponents by an average of 9.9 points per game. The 'Dogs have shared the ball well, averaging 14.3 assists on 26 made field goals per game. Leading the way has been the seniors, Bree Farley and Taylor Thompson who have averaged 18.6 and 17.6 points per game, respectively, during this strech.
Three with 13+
Fresno State has three players scoring 13 or more points per game this season. Taylor Thompson leads the team with 14.3 points per game, Bree Farley is second at 13.8 and Alex Sheedy is third at 13.0. Only two other teams in the Lincoln Regional have three players on their roster scoring 13 or more points per game. Joining the Bulldogs in that category is No. 2 seed Duke and No. 11 seed James Madison.
Fresno State had five players score in double figures in two of its three victories at the Mountain West tournament. The last time the Bulldogs had five players score in double figures was during the 2012-13 regular season finale against UNLV. Fresno State's starting five in that 2013 game all went for 10 or more points, with two going for over 15. In the quarterfinal win over the UNLV on March 11, 2014, four of the five Bulldogs in double figures had 15 or more points. The last time Fresno State had four players score 15 or more points in the same game was back on Jan. 13, 2011 in a 94-92 triple-overtime loss to Louisiana Tech. This season, Fresno State had four players score 10 or more points in 14 of the 32 games during the regular season.
From Way Downtown
Fresno State set a Mountain West tournament record by making 31 3-pointers in its three victories out in Las Vegas. The Bulldogs hit at least 10 threes in every game, which marked the first time all season they hit double-digits on 3-pointers made in three consecutive games. Fresno State actually shot better from the three than they did overall from the field in the MW tournament. The 'Dogs were 31-of-70 (.443) on 3-point attempts while connecting on 76-of-179 (.425) total field goal attempts.
Not Skipping A Beat
Junior forward Alex Sheedy missed 10 games from Jan. 22-Feb. 26 due to a foot injury. In the five games since she her return on March 1 at San Diego State, Sheedy has averaged 14.2 points per game, 7.0 rebounds and has shot 46.9 percent from the field. She has scored in double figures in all five games since returning with a high of 22 that she recorded in the regular season finale against San Jose State. Sheedy also had 11 rebounds in that 27-point win over the Spartans, which was one of four double-doubles she had on the year. Sheedy was a third-team All-Mountain West selection as a sophomore in 2013 and was named to the MW All-Tournament team a year ago.
Off the Bench
Sophomore guard Moriah Faulk, who originally is from Phoenix, Ariz. but attended her last three years of high school in Santa Monica, Calif., has been playing at her best recently for the Bulldogs. Faulk, a UCLA transfer, averaged 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in the Mountain West tournament. Her biggest game came in the semifinal win over Nevada, when she scored 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting while draining 4-of-7 3-point attempts. Faulk also had seven rebounds in that contest. Her 19 points were the most she scored since putting in a career-high 27 against Portland on Dec. 14. Faulk was named the Mountain West Player of the Week after that Portland victory. In addition to her ability to score for the Bulldogs coming off the bench, she has also been big for Fresno State on the boards. Faulk has a team-high five double-digit rebound games this year and averaged 5.1 rebounds overall on the year. During Fresno State's eight-game winning streak, she averaged 9.6 points and 6.8 rebounds and had three-straight games with 10 or more rebounds from Feb. 19-26. She is the only Bulldog this year to have consecutive games with 10 or more rebounds.
All four school's playing in Los Angeles for the first round games have at least two players on their team that have scored over 1,000 career points. Fresno State has two with Taylor Thompson and Bree Farley. Nebraska has two with Jordan Hooper and Emily Cady. NC State has two with Kody Burke and Myisha Goodwin-Coleman. Then BYU has three with Kim Beston, Lexi Eaton and Jennifer Hamson.
Both of Fresno State's 1,000-point scorers got to the milestone with big senior seasons. Thompson ranks No. 10 in Fresno State history with 1,274 career points after scoring a team-high 458 points this year. Farley ranks 20th in school history with 1,062 points after putting in 440 this year. Thompson's 2013-14 scoring total is 130 more points higher than any of her three previous season totals while Farley's senior season mark is 155 more points than any other year in her career.
Family in the NCAA Tournament
Sophomore center Jacinta Vandenberg and her brother, Jordan Vandenberg at NC State, are both playing the NCAA Tournament this year. Jordan helped NC State to a 12-seed where it defeated Xavier on Tuesday night in the first round of the men's tournament. He had nine points, four rebounds and four blocks in the win. Jordan started 31 games this year for the Wolf Pack, averaging 4.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Jacinta started all 32 games for the Bulldogs, averaging a team-best 6.7 rebounds to go with 5.8 points per game.
Mountain West Leader in Ball Security
Senior point guard Taylor Thompson led the Mountain West this year with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.3. Thompson had 143 assists on the season against only 61 turnovers. That ratio was good for the 26th best in all of Division I. Her 143 assists ranked fourth in the Mountain West and are the ninth most in Fresno State single-season history. For Thompson's career, she has a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio playing in 129 games with 126 starts.
Thompson is one of only three players in school history that has scored over 1,000 career points and recorded over 400 assists. Joining her on that list is Lindsey Logan (2000-03) with 1,646 points and 561 assists and Wendy Martel (1984-87) with 1,595 points and 480 assists. Thompson ranks No. 2 in school history with 484 career assists and No. 10 with 1,274 points.
The Skinny On the Bulldogs' Season
Fresno State opened the year with 6-3 record following a Dec. 14 win over Portland. That victory was game three of a five-game home stand in the month of December. The last two games of the home stand were not so kind to Fresno State, who lost by 29 to San Francisco on Dec. 20 and by 32 to No. 4 Stanford on Dec. 28. That gave the Bulldogs a 6-5 record in non-conference play.
Fresno State quickly turned it around with the flip of the calendar year, winning its first four games in 2014 at the start of Mountain West play. After that four-game winning streak, the Bulldogs would go over a month without winning consecutive games. In that span from Jan. 15 through Feb. 15, Fresno State went 0-4 on the road. Like they did after non-conference play, Fresno State regrouped and finished the season strong by winning five-straight games to end the regular season in second in the Mountain West. The Bulldogs picked up a pair of key road wins in that five-game winning streak before the MW tournament, winning in overtime at Boise State on Feb. 26 and at San Diego State on March 1.
This is Fresno State's second year in the league, and both seasons the Bulldogs have finished the regular season in second place. However, both years, the Bulldogs have won the conference tournament to secure the league's automatic bid into the Big Dance.