All-around effort propels Fresno State to perfect start in conference play

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Practices have gotten a little shorter for the Fresno State.

That doesn’t mean they’ve gotten easier. If anything, practices have gotten more intense for the winners of 10 in a row and off to a perfect start in Mountain West play.

“We’ve got to replicate the game and replicate the scout and make sure that we are going against it at an even higher level than we’ll see in the game,” coach Jaime White said.

That dedication to replication paid off last Saturday when the Bulldogs (13-4, 6-0) beat Wyoming for the first time in Laramie on Shauqunna Collins’ game-winning layup with 4.9 seconds remaining.

I feel like we have our focus on one thing and that’s taking it one game at a time every time we hit the floor. We want to reach the Sweet 16 [of the NCAA Tournament], so we need to play with a Sweet 16 effort.
— Shauqunna Collins

Collins adjusted, found the mismatch in the second half and attacked inside, scoring 16 points after halftime in the 66-65 victory — showing that Fresno State has more than one threat able to adapt to the situation.

Earlier this season, Raven Fox dropped 31 points to fuel the Bulldogs to a 93-88 victory at San Diego.

Inside, the trio of Alex Sheedy, Toni Smith and Bego Faz Davalos has powered Fresno State to become one of the best rebounding teams in the conference. The Bulldogs hold a league-best plus-9.2 rebounding margin against opponents.

Offensively, the three are also producing big numbers. In two of the past three games (including the 65-43 win against Nevada on Jan. 10), they’ve combined to score 40 or more points. Sheedy is averaging a team-best 16.9 points per game, with Davalos adding 7.9 and Smith 6.4.

“They’re getting the minutes and taking advantage of it,” White said.

“When you have an Alex Sheedy and the speed of Shauqunna Collins and you have the returners that we have in Alex Furr and Robin Draper, you have the pieces to be successful,” she added.

Furr has scored in double figures eight times this season, including a season-best 17 at Utah State on Jan. 7.

“[Opponents are] trying to key on Sheedy and that’s been taking a lot of attention, but then all of a sudden you’ve got Q [Collins] and Furr — and those kids can score and they’re ready for it.”

One thing seems for certain: When the Bulldogs dominate inside, they win. The Bulldogs are 13-0 when outscoring their opponents in the paint.

“I feel like we have our focus on one thing and that’s taking it one game at a time every time we hit the floor,” Collins said. “We want to reach the Sweet 16 [of the NCAA Tournament], so we need to play with a Sweet 16 effort.”

This article was written by Angel Moreno from The Fresno Bee and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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