Fresno State falls to No. 4 Stanford 86-54

Unranked Fresno State showed it could hang with No. 4 Stanford

on its home court for a little while on Saturday night.

Stanford ended the Bulldogs’ upset bid midway through the first

half with a 11-0 run that paced an 86-54 rout in nonconference

finales for both teams.

Fresno State took small solace in leading Stanford (11-1)

briefly for two possessions early in the game, or trailing 22-18

midway through the first half.

”We opened the game well,” Bulldogs coach Raegan Pebley said.

”But to beat a team like Stanford, you’ve got to play every

possession. You’ve got to play well every minute of the game.”

Fresno State did that for half of the first half before its

offense went cold – even as Stanford struggled with its shots.

Up 22-18, the Cardinal missed seven straight shots and one free

throw, but the Bulldogs failed to capitalize.

Stanford then strung together 11 points for a 33-18 lead with

5:54 left in the first half.

The Bulldogs pulled within 43-31 at halftime on Alex Sheedy’s

3-pointer. But any chance of a second-half comeback was ended by

Stanford’s 16-2 run coming out of the break.

”When a team like Stanford does hit a lull, that’s when you

need to be exposing it and really get your opportunities,” Pebley

said. ”It was tough.”

Fresno State guard Taylor Thompson did her part, scoring 12 of

her 14 points in the first half with a steady amount of left-side

drives to the basket. So did Sheedy, who had a game-high 11 points

and 15 points.

But the Bulldogs were no match for Stanford’s duo of Amber

Orrange and Chiney Ogwumike.

Orrange scored 12 of her 15 points in the first half. After

halftime, she guarded Thompson and held the Bulldogs point guard to

two second-half points.

Ogwumike scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the first half,

and finished with 10 rebounds for her eighth double-double of the

season.

With 1,257 rebounds, she is nine short of catching Kayla

Pedersen’s Pac-12 Conference and school rebounding records. She

also moved into fifth place on the school’s scoring list with 2,079

points.

”That’s an impact WNBA-level player,” Pebley said of Ogwumike.

”And one of the best players in Division I women’s basketball. I

thought we did a pretty good job on her, holding her to 20 points,

10 rebounds.

”And then you look over at that last column and it was only

over 23 minutes.”

Fresno State’s highlights came in the first 10 minutes. Down

5-0, the Bulldogs scored seven straight points, punctuated by

Moriah Faulk’s 3-pointer. Fresno State had a 7-5 lead at the

17-minute mark, but it lasted just 16 seconds.

Emilie Volk put Fresno State up again 14-13 with a 3-pointer at

13:26. But that lead didn’t last long before Ogwumike’s layup on a

full-court pass gave Stanford the lead.

”We were challenging them,” Pebley said. ”We competed with

them really well – as well as a lot of teams. They blew out a lot

of teams this year.”

Fresno State opens Mountain West Conference play Jan. 1 at

UNLV.