Oct. 11, 2013
By Jason Clay
By Jason Clay
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State women's basketball team is entering its second season under head coach Raegan Pebley and her seniors Bree Farley and Taylor Thompson have the Bulldogs focused on building off of last year's 24-win season.
The Bulldogs return three starters and eight letter winners to the team that won last season's Mountain West tournament, but also welcome in seven newcomers.
Now with a year under their belts knowing what the coaching staff expects from the team out on the court, Farley and Thompson have the team focused on another big year in their final seasons at Fresno State.
"Last year it was just getting to know these coaches and this system and trusting them, but going into our second year we already trust them and trust the system so there is a lot better chemistry," Thompson said.
The team chemistry is very important to the success of a program. Sometimes it takes a long time to develop, but with this group, even with a large group of newcomers, the bond between teammates already seems to be there.
"We have great people that are willing to learn and that's a big thing with this team, that is what is going to make us successful," Thompson said.
Thompson likes how there are more pieces to the puzzle this season, whereas last year the 'Dogs were limited depth wise with a short bench.
"That's a big thing with this new team, getting people to jell together, but as each practice goes on it just looks like we were already the team we were last year," Thompson said. "We're starting to connect with each other, starting to learn how each other play. I feel like we are going to be fine once game-time comes."
Farley believes the team is poised to excel in year two under Pebley and her staff.
"Just the fact that this will be our second year with the coaches, the returners at least know the system better than last year," Farley said. "Last year was a building block for what we can do this year."
Thompson is the veteran of the group, a fifth-year senior who has played in 97 games and made 94 career starts. The Bulldogs' floor general, she already ranks sixth in school history with 341 assists and needs 221 more to break the all-time school record held by Lindsay Logan (2000-03). Thompson, who redshirted as a true freshman in 2009-10 because of injury, has been a part of teams that have gone to the NCAA Tournament the past four seasons.
"Our expectation is just like every year, we want to go win that championship," Thompson said. "We want to go to the NCAA [tournament], we want to go further [in the tournament] and for me I want to have the best year I've ever had."
For Farley, her goals for this season are to continue being a leader and to step up and help fill the void left by losing the two leading scorers off of last year's team.
"I want to step up big time for the team," Farley said. "We have two really big shoes to fill with Ki-Ki [Moore] and Rosie [Moult] gone, so I expect myself to fill that in. As long as we all rise together, I'll be happy because team success is way more important for me."
Farley and Thompson and the rest of the Bulldogs have been on the courts since the end of September getting ready for the season.
"We have so many new girls this season, it's exciting to see how everyone is going to fit and how we fit in to the conference," Farley said. "The coaches have recruited so many great girls and I'm just excited to see what we can do with a new team."
The Bulldogs host Notre Dame De Namur in an exhibition game at the Save Mart Center on Nov. 3 before opening the regular season at home on Nov. 8 against UC Merced.
"Catch the Wave" - ESPN2 790 AM is the home of the Fresno State women's basketball team.
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