Fresno State women’s basketball: Mountain West Conference Tournament notebook

LAS VEGAS — Fresno State used the 3-ball in its 76-70 victory over San Diego State on Saturday to win the Mountain West Conference Tournament, taking 16 of them in the first half, almost as many as it had in either of the full games against the Aztecs during the regular season.

The Bulldogs had taken 21 shots from the 3-point line in a victory at San Diego State to open conference play, and 19 in a rough loss to the Aztecs at the Save Mart Center.

In the first half of the tournament final, they made seven of the 16, which was more than enough to hurt and force the Aztecs to try to extend their defense, which opened up some lanes for Ki-Ki Moore and Taylor Thompson and anyone else with the inclination to get into the lane.

‘’Obviously, it was a great confidence booster for our team,’’ said the Bulldogs’ Rosie Moult, who made 3 of 5 3-pointers in the first half and 4 of 6 in the game. ‘’We’re a great 3-point shooting team. When you’re hitting them early, it always helps.’’

Fresno State had hit only 33.1% of its 3-point shots coming into the game, so “great” might be stretching it bit. But with Moult and Alex Sheedy both hitting three shots from the arc and Bree Farley adding another in that first half, it definitely impacted the game.

‘’Credit to Fresno State, they didn’t miss a shot,’’ the Aztecs’ Courtney Clements said. ‘’I don’t think that they missed. When they had an opportunity to knock down an open shot, they took the opportunity. All credit goes to them. They found the flaws in our defense and they did what they had to do.’’

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The Bulldogs 12-0 run at the end of the first half started with 2:46 remaining when San Diego State point guard Chelsea Hopkins picked up a second foul and went to the bench.

Aztecs coach Beth Burns thought they could weather that final stretch. Turns out they couldn’t – or at the very least didn’t handle her absence it very well.

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Fresno State women will try to steal a Mountain West Conference Tournament title

LAS VEGAS – Fresno State kept up the pressure at the defensive end on Friday in a 63-62 victory over Wyoming in a semifinal game at the Mountain West Conference Tournament, which is a bit of a misnomer because the Bulldogs pressure the length of the floor and not just at one end.

They had 14 steals, giving them 31 in two conference tournament games, tying a record set by San Diego State in three games in 2010. The Bulldogs and Aztecs will play for the championship on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Ki-Ki Moore, the defensive player of the year in the conference, had five steals against Wyoming. Rosie Moult had three and Alex Sheedy and Robin Draper both had two.

‘’At times we’re really feisty,’’ point guard Taylor Thompson said. ‘’I like that about our team. We trust each other. We know that we can go for steals. If we don’t happen to get it, someone’s going to be behind our back helping us. So, you know, trust is a big thing. I think that’s why we’re allowed to get up in people and just, you know, play.’’

Moore has nine steals in the two tournament games and needs just three more in the championship to set a tournament record for steals by a player.

‘’We take a lot of chances trying to get steals,’’ she said. ‘’We play well off of each other. If we know one person doesn’t get it, we’re helping each other and having each other’s back.’’

In the two matchups this season with the Aztecs, Fresno State had nine steals in an 80-72 victory at San Diego State and eighth in a 74-49 loss at the Save Mart Center.

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