Feb. 8, 2014
San Jose, Calif. – Sophomore Riana Byrd scored what may be the biggest bucket of her Spartan career, a layup with one second left, to give the San Jose State women’s basketball team to a 68-66 win over the Fresno State Bulldogs in Mountain West Conference action on Saturday afternoon in The Event Center.
“Everyone wants the ball in their hands in that situation,” Byrd said. “I didn’t really know how much time was left, I just went up strong and it went in for us.”
After Fresno State’s Robin Draper sank a pair of free throws to tie the game 66-66 with 30 seconds to play, the Spartans (9-13, 3-8 MW) inbounded the ball and called their last time out with 22 ticks left.
“We were looking to get a two-man game, the high pick-and-roll, with Ta’Rea (Cunnigan) and Riana,” said head coach Jamie Craighead of the final possession. “If Ta’Rea was able to get around the corner and they came to help, I though we could get an easy bucket from Riana. It didn’t go exactly as we wanted, but Ri got the ball, rolled to the hoop and made the play.”
The win is just the second against Fresno State (13-9, 7-4 MW) in the last 22 games, but the second time in as many games the Spartans have come out ahead of their rivals.
“I knew this game was going to be intense,” Craighead said whose team was wearing pink jerseys in its Play4Kay game. “When I was hired the first thing I was told was to never wear red. After the first half I understood why. This rivalry goes pretty deep. It was a very physical game and I was proud of our team for taking care of the scoreboard and not being drawn in to anything.”
Rebecca Woodberry drained 6-of-9 shots from 3-point range on her way to a game-high 22 points. She moved into third place on the program’s single-season 3-point list and now has 66 for the year. This was the sixth time this season Woodberry had hit at least five treys in a game and is eight threes from tying Kari Steele for the single season record of 74 in 1996-97. She also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out a pair of assists and had two steals.
Ta’Rea Cunnigan also grabbed eight boards, scored 18 points and had six assists. Byrd finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
Fresno State’s Draper scored a layup on her team’s first possession, two of her 10 points on the night. A Bree Farley jumper capped a 9-to-0 run by the Bulldogs who led by 14 points, 20-6, with 10:49 to go in the half.
Woodberry’s second three of the night ended the run, but the Spartans struggled to get the deficit down to single digits. Sparked by a 3-pointer from Cunnigan, San Jose State made a push in the final three minutes. Jayzyl Tauala, who equaled her season-high with eight points, also hit a three down the stretch and the teams went to the locker rooms with the Spartans trailing 37-31.
Getting 3-pointers from Classye James and Woodberry in an 8-2 run to start the second half, San José State tied 39-39 with 18:13 to play.
“If they get a run and you go down 13, 14 to start the second half, its tough to come back,” Craighead said. “At halftime we told the team to be aggressive and take the game to them. That opening stretch was huge for us.”
A 10-0 run by the Bulldogs midway through the half gave them a 58-48 lead. But a Woodberry three once again stopped the momentum for Fresno and started an 11-1 run for the Spartans who tied it up 59-59 with 5:30 to play.
“Even when we were down, I felt that the players never thought they were out of this game,” Craighead said. “I think the rivalry has a lot to do with that. We kept playing and battling. When Becca hit that three everyone relaxed a bit. From then on they knew they were okay.”
The Spartans built a five-point advantage just inside two minutes to play, but Fresno State’s Farley, who along with Taylor Thompson finished with 15 points each, hit a three and Draper’s free throws tied it with 30 seconds to play to set up the dramatic finish.
San José State heads out on the road next week. Their first stop is at Air Force on Wednesday, February 12. Tip off against the Falcons is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. (MT).
Fresno State vs San Jose State
02/08/14 2:00 p.m. at San Jose, Calif. (The Event Center)
At San Jose, Calif. (The Event Center)
SAN JOSE STATE 68, FRESNO STATE 66
FRESNO STATE (13-9, 7-4 MW)
THOMPSON, Taylor 6-8 2-4 15; FARLEY, Bree 5-16 4-6 15; SMITH, Toni 6-10 2-6
14; DRAPER, Robin 3-10 2-2 10; FAULK, Moriah 2-4 0-0 5; FURR, Alex 0-6 3-4
3; FOX, Raven 1-4 0-0 2; SAINT-FELIX, Jessy 1-1 0-0 2; VOLK, Emilie 0-2 0-0
0; VANDENBERG, Jacinta 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-61 13-22 66.
SAN JOSE STATE (9-13, 3-8 MW)
23-66 11-20 68.
Fresno State.................. 37 29 - 66
San Jose State................ 31 37 - 68
3-point goals--Fresno State 5-20 (DRAPER, Robin 2-5; THOMPSON, Taylor 1-2;
FARLEY, Bree 1-6; FAULK, Moriah 1-2; VOLK, Emilie 0-1; FOX, Raven 0-1; FURR,
out--Fresno State-FOX, Raven; VANDENBERG, Jacinta, San Jose State-JAMES,
Classye. Rebounds--Fresno State 41 (SMITH, Toni 12), San Jose State 41
(Byrd, Riana 9). Assists--Fresno State 11 (THOMPSON, Taylor 5), San Jose
State 14 (Cunnigan, Ta'Rea 6). Total fouls--Fresno State 22, San Jose State
20. Technical fouls--Fresno State-None, San Jose State-None. A-621
2:55 left in first half - Flagrant I foul on Fresno State #11