Fresno State still without a NCAA tournament win
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP)—Fresno State is still looking for its first NCAA win.
The Bulldogs lost for a sixth straight time in the first round of the tournament, falling 90-76 to second-seeded California on Saturday.
But Fresno State didn’t make it easy for the Golden Bears, using 3-point shooting to stay with California.
The loss stung, but winning the Mountain West tournament in the Bulldogs first season in the conference helps.
“We are just excited for what we’ve done this season and what we’ve accomplished as a team with our new coaches as well as a new system,” Ki-Ki Moore said. “So I think we have no regrets with what we did this season.”
Moore scored a career-high 33 points on 12-of-28 shooting and Rosie Moult added 15 to lead Fresno State (24-9).
The Bulldogs kept it close with their 3-point shooting, making 12 of 29 from beyond the arc. Moult hit 4 of 11 and Taylor Thompson hit 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
Coach Raegan Pebley said the 3-pointers her team got in the first half didn’t work as well after the break.
California “changed how they defended the on ball screens,” she said. “They went to a switch. And we’re going to really test their bigs to see if they could test our guards off the dribble. It’s one reason why Ki-Ki (Moore) was able to get to the basket a lot, but it did limit our 3-point opportunities.”
Brittany Boyd scored 21 points and added a career-high 13 rebounds to lead second-seeded California. Layshia Clarendon added 19 points and Gennifer Brandon had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Cal (29-3).
The Golden Bears fell behind early against the 15th-seeded Bulldogs, but found their footing midway through the first half to advance to play South Florida on Monday.
California outrebounded the Bulldogs 51-28. The Golden Bears scored 56 points in the paint and held the Bulldogs to 26.
The Golden Bears shared the Pac-12 regular-season title with Stanford and began their 16-game win streak by beating the Cardinal in Palo Alto, Calif.
If the Golden Bears win their second-round game they will play in Spokane, Wash., and could possibly face Stanford for a third time this season in the regional semifinal.
Moore kept Fresno State in the game in the second half. She drove to the basket, hit from the outside and went 7 for 8 from the free throw line.
California went up 61-48 with 12:57 remaining in the game on the second of two field goals by Clarendon. Then Moult and Moore hit back-to-back 3s to pull within 64-55, but that was as close as the Bulldogs would get the rest of the way.
The Bulldogs used 3-pointers to go up early in the first half against the Golden Bears. But then Cal, which hit on only 3 of 9 from the field early, used a 10-0 run, including two baskets each by Boyd and Reshanda Gray, to go up 19-13 with 9:16 remaining.
But Fresno State kept shooting from beyond the arc, and by halftime equaled its per game average of 3s this season, hitting eight.
The half ended when Moore missed a short jumper with six seconds remaining and Boyd grabbed the rebound and went nearly the length of the court to hit a 3 at the buzzer. Her only other 3 in the first half came on her first shot that opened the game.
Cal scored on 12 straight possessions to end the half leading 48-41.