Fresno State made quite an entrance to the Mountain West.
The Bulldogs won four out of their first five conference games behind an offense scoring 69.3 points per game. Their second ranked offense propelled them to second place in the league standings.
It will be up to CSU to figure out how to contain that firepower when Fresno State visits Moby Arena Saturday at 2 p.m.
“They’ve got a lot of pieces that can really score the basketball. The key is to guard their tails off and win the individual assignments,” CSU coach Ryun Williams said. “We’re going to have to compete and play with a great level of intensity.”
Junior guard Ki Ki Moore paces the Bulldogs with 16.7 points per game, good for third in the conference and ranks second on the team in assists.
Three Bulldogs rank in the top 20 individual Mountain West scorers and two rank in the conference’s top eight in terms of assists.
“They have a lot of threats and they’re strong all the way around. We’re gonna have to respect all of them,” CSU freshman guard Caitlin Duffy said.
Excellent three point shooting helps Fresno State rack up points in a hurry.
The Bulldogs hit 7.1 threes per game and make their shots from behind the arc 33.8 percent of the time, good for first and second in the conference respectively.
“That will be a focus for our defense. We need to recognize who the shooters are and get out there quickly,” CSU junior guard Hayley Thompson said.
Fresno State’s defense falls in the middle of the pack as far as points allowed in the conference (61.6 ppg, 5th MW), but excels at forcing turnovers.
The Bulldogs lead the MW in steals per game at 13.2 and force 19.7 total turnovers.
CSU has struggled holding onto the ball this season, so ball security becomes even more important in face of that kind of defensive pressure.
“I thought we did a really good job taking care of the ball (Wednesday) night against New Mexico. The key for us is to make sure we’re organized and handling the pressure,” Williams said. “They’ll throw multiple defenses at us so we have to be ready for whatever they throw at us.”
The Rams’ subpar offensive execution will have to improve in order to keep up with Fresno State if the game starts to work the scoreboard lights.
CSU only averages 55.5 points per game and any lead that gets above seven or eight “feels like 20” according to Williams.
But the Rams aren’t concerned about keeping pace or a lack of offense due to their confidence in each other.
“I believe in us in every game and that’s the most important thing in every game,” Duffy said. “We are enough and we have the ability. It’s just a matter of believing that and executing that.”