By Stephen Trembley
DANDENONG, Australia -- The Australian tradition woven into the fabric of the Fresno State women's basketball program was present in a special way Thursday night as the Bulldogs visited the Dandenong Lady Rangers for game two of their preseason foreign tour.
Six of the 10 Bulldogs to have played at Fresno State throughout the past decade reunited at Dandenong Stadium. Bree Farley, Courtney Gaze, Hayley Munro, Faith Probst, Alex Sheedy and Jacinta Vandenberg were the six members of the Bulldogs' Australian connection in attendance with Farley and Sheedy suiting up for Fresno State and Probst on the Lady Rangers' bench. Unfortunately, Probst had to miss the game due to injury. Meanwhile, Gaze, Munro and Vandenberg all watched as spectators.
"It was awesome to see the girls out there, it " Probst said. "It feels a bit weird since I'm older now, and they seem so young. It brought back a lot of memories, like the cheers that we used to receive, so I miss that."
Probst, the Australian that began it all as the first to make the journey to the Central Valley to play women's basketball at Fresno State, is very proud of what she was able to start and the legacy that has been created over the years.
"I like to say I'm the `Original Aussie" at Fresno State - all those years ago back in the 2002-03 season, I'm very proud of that," Probst said. "It's great that so many Aussies are going through the program and they are doing so well. It's really good."
Munro also reflected on how appreciative she was to be a part of the Fresno State-Australia legacy.
"It was a great experience to come out and see the new team, coaches and system," Munro said. "It's hard to explain. It's great feeling because of how Fresno State welcomed us in with open arms. The four years that I had there were just amazing and unforgettable."
Two of the other four Australian Bulldogs - Rosie Moult and Chantella Perera - had wanted to be at the game, but could not make it due to training commitments related to their Australian professional playing careers. Moult was able to meet up with the team earlier in the week during a stop at Queen Victoria's Market in Melbourne.
Game 2 - Dandenong 74, Fresno State 69
The defensive intensity was dialed up and the Fresno State women's basketball team continued to show significant progress even in a 74-69 loss to the Dandenong Lady Rangers on Thursday night inside Dandenong Stadium.
"Our defense was pretty good all around and we kept playing hard," first-year Fresno State head women's basketball coach Jaime White said of her team's effort. "Dandenong can shoot the ball and they did not miss much. We played a very good team."
Fresno State received another strong effort from freshman center Bego Faz Davalos, who along with junior Moriah Faulk, led all Bulldog scorers with 13 points each. Faz Davalos posted a double-double as she added 11 rebounds for the second straight exhibition game.
"I thought that they were quite a bit taller than us and that posed a few problems, but Bego (Faz Davalos) came out, played very well and got rebounds."
While the `Dogs trailed for much of the game against a bigger and more seasoned Dandenong squad, Fresno State responded to a nine-point deficit late in the third quarter by going on a 9-1 run over a three minute span that cut the Lady Rangers' advantage to just three points shortly into the fourth.
Dandenong answered back and held on for the win despite a few furious Fresno State spurts late in the game.
Bulldogs' senior Alex Sheedy, who used to play for Dandenong and is entering her fourth and final season at Fresno State, scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds against her former team.
Junior point guard Shauqunna Collins added nine points through a combination of gritty play of attacking the basket and distributing the ball into the Bulldogs' offense. Senior guard Raven Fox tallied seven points to go with a pair of steals.
Fresno State is off Friday for a travel day to Sydney before returning for its final of three practices on Saturday. The Bulldogs then play their third game and fourth games on back-to-back days on Sunday (Sydney) and Monday (Cairns).
"Be Bold." -- To stay connected with the #DogsDownUnder, be sure to follow @FresnoStateWBB on Twitter and continue visiting www.GoBulldogs.com for updates direct from Australia.
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