Bulldogs Hope to Build on Historic Season
March 22, 2008
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The Fresno State women's basketball team's history making season came to an end Saturday afternoon in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Despite suffering an 88-67 loss to the No. 3 seed and 12th ranked team in the country the Baylor Lady Bears, this year's Bulldog squad left The Pit with their heads held high.
"I wanted them to understand how proud of them we were," coach Adrian Wiggins said. "We have several banners to hang up on our arena and we are very proud of that."
Not only is this year's Fresno State team the first team to advance to the NCAA tournament but they are also the first team to win a WAC championship and a WAC tournament championship. The Bulldogs were rewarded for their 22-11 season as coach Wiggins earned WAC Coach of the Year, Tierre Wilson WAC Player of the Year, Jaleesa Ross WAC Newcomer of the Year and WAC Tournament MVP and Hayley Munro was named to the WAC All-Freshman team.
Now coach Wiggins hopes the experience his team got in the NCAA tournament carries over to next year.
"We just don't want them to settle for being good," the Bulldog coach said. "You can leave this arena today and be happy that you were good or you can get a taste of this and want to be great. We want to be great."
One person who was great in her final game as a Bulldog was Wilson. She led Fresno State in scoring with 23 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Today's outing moved Wilson into fifth place on the Career All-Time Scoring Leaders at Fresno State.
Now Wilson hopes to continue playing basketball somewhere at the next level and one person who believes she can play at the next level is her head coach.
"I've been advocating for that for quite a while," Wiggins said. "She scores 23 against Cal, 23 against Baylor and 20 something against Oklahoma State. In open court one-on-one if you have ever watched her more than three times you'll understand that she can take anyone off the dribble which I think is an asset at the next level."
What is even more impressive about Wilson and her fellow teammate and senior Erica Henry was how well they led a team of five freshmen, two junior college transfers and two Division I transfers.
"What is best about Tierre and Erica is that they really were good followers for three years and they emerged as leaders this year," Wiggins said. "That will give a lot of confidence to the younger players. I think they are going to have a lot of confidence in how to do things and what is the right thing to do."
The young players are confident that they can build off this year's historic season and make Fresno State a powerhouse for years to come.
"That is definitely our aim," freshmen point guard Emma Andrews said. "Each year we hope to get better and better. This year was a great year. I love the girls and the coaches. I couldn't be more happier with what I have learned on and off the court."
And Wiggins couldn't be happier with how his team represented Fresno State on and off the court too.
"I am very proud of the fact that when we go through airports, restaurants or play basketball games I think people understand when we leave that we have a very fun group that treats you very well, each other very well and they compete," he said.