Game 16: Fresno State (7-8, 3-1 MW) at Air Force (8-8, 2-3 MW)
Jan. 19, 2022 • 5:30 p.m. PT • USAF Academy, Colo. (Cadet Field House)
TV/WEB: Mountain West Network (MWN)
RADIO: Bulldog Sports Network (BSN)/KRDU 1130AM (Matt Norville) and on the iHeartRadio App
SERIES HISTORY: Fresno State leads 17-1
LAST MEETING: Fresno State 62, Air Force 54 [2/11/21 – Fresno, Calif.]
Fresno State is currently on a three-game winning streak, its longest of the season.
All of Fresno State's wins this year have come when scoring at least 70 points (7-2).
Fresno State ranks No. 4 nationally in turnovers per game, committing just 11.3 per game.
The Bulldogs rank No. 14 in the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage (.374).
Haley Cavinder is the only player in the country averaging at least 18 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists per game. She is one of two players in the nation with multiple triple-doubles.
Cavinder leads all active Division I point guards in career rebounds with 588, doing so in 75 games.
RETURNING WITH A BANG
Following 12 days without a game due to a trio of postponements due to health and safety protocols, Fresno State ended what turned out to be a home-and-home series with San Jose State with a sweep over its rivals. The Bulldogs averaged 82.5 points and shot north of 50 percent.
• Haley Cavinder (23), Hanna Cavinder (24) and Wytalla Motta (23) each had a 20-point game during the series.
• Haley Cavinder also set a little Fresno State history in breaking the program's single-game assist record (13) while becoming the first Bulldog to post two triple-doubles in a season.
• The 12-day layoff was the longest of the season for Fresno State.
A continuing trend in recent years, Fresno State once again is one of the top team's in the country in turnovers per game. Committing 11.3 per contest, the Bulldogs rank No. 4 in the NCAA. The 'Dogs finished each of the last two seasons ranked inside the Top 20.
• Prior to the 2019-20 season, Fresno State had not finished the season inside the Top 60 and had finished outside the Top 100 three times since the start of the 2014-15 season.
SIZZLING FROM 3
Following a string of poor shooting games from 3 to end the month of November, the Bulldogs began to heat back up in December, and that has continued into the New Year. Since the start of December the 'Dogs have shot over 38 percent in seven games, including shooting north of 40 percent in five.
• The Bulldogs hit 74 3-pointers since the start of December, connecting at a 39.6 percent clip (74-of-187).
• The hot shooting has 'Dogs up to 14th in the NCAA in 3-point percentage (.374). While they sit third in the Mountain West with 116 made 3-pointers, the 'Dogs have attempted the eighth-most in the league (310).
• Fresno State finished the 2020-21 season ranked 26th in the NCAA in 3-point percentage (.363).
MULTIPLE LAYERS IN A TRIPLE-DOUBLE
Any time you break a program, it doesn't usually get overshadowed. But on Saturday afternoon, Haley Cavinder’s single-game program record of 13 assists was merely a side note. The reason--the junior did so as a part of her a triple-double (17 points, 13 rebounds, 13 assists), her second of the season, and the first Bulldog to record two in a season.
• The most staggering stat in the triple-double was a 13-0 assist-turnover ratio. Only one player in the last decade has posted a triple-double with an assist-turnover ratio of at least 13--2020 WNBA No. 1 pick Sabrina Ionescu who also had a 13-0 ratio in 2020.
• It was the highest assist-turnover ratio in a triple-double in Mountain West history.
• Cavinder joined Bego Faz Davalos as the only Bulldogs with two triple-doubles. They are the only two with one.
• At the time, Cavinder's second triple-double moved her into a tie this season with Iowa's Caitlin Clark for the nation's lead. Fast forward 24 hours and Clark retook the top spot with a third. Clark and Cavinder are currently the only players in the nation with more than one.
• Cavinder's first came in the season opener, dropping 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists at Utah Valley.
With two 10-assist games this, Haley Cavinder went three better on Jan. 15 versus San Jose State.
That 13th assist broke Fresno State's program record. It was also the fourth-best single-game total in Mountain West history.
• The eye-popping number, though, zero turnovers. The 13-0 assist-turnover ratio is tied for the 11th-best in the NCAA in the last decade.
• The ratio tied former Aztec Chelsea Hopkins for the best ratio in Mountain West history. Cavinder's though was done against a Division I opponent while Hopkins' was not.
• Breaking down the 13 assists: five different players scored, six were 3-pointers, seven were 2-pointers, 32 total points were scored. Along with her 17 points, Cavinder had a hand in 49 of the team's 87 points.
CAREER STAT STUFFER
1,200 points. 500 rebounds. 300 assists. 100 steals. Only three active players playing in their fourth year or less are in all four of the categories. Florida's Kiara Smith, Ohio's Erica Johnson and Fresno State's Haley Cavinder.
• While Smith and Johnson are in their fourth seasons, Cavinder is only in her third.
• Smith has played in 105 games and Johnson in 93. Cavinder has played in just 75 games.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Returning for her extra year of eligibility (covid waiver), Wytalla Motta made her impact felt at BYU. Sitting out the season opener, Motta returned two days later, scoring 10 points and grabbing three rebounds in 13 minutes. Motta had reached double figures two other times during the next 10 games. But during the last three, Motta has flipped a switch. The last three games have seen Motta averaged 19.7 points on 64.7 percent shooting along 9.0 rebounds.
• Motta started 44 games during her first two seasons, and has started the last eight this season.
• After six double-digit scoring games in her first two seasons, Motta has matched that in 14 games in her final season.
• Until Dec. 31, the 6-foot senior had not scored more than 13 points in a game. Her last three games have seen 17, 23 and 19 points.
SCOUTING AIR FORCE
Air Force enters Wednesday's game with an 8-8 record, 2-3 in the Mountain West.
The Falcons were 1-1 last week, first dismantling Colorado State in Fort Collins, 77-52, before being clipped by Wyoming in the final seconds in Laramie (57-54).
Despite ranking No. 8 in the Mountain West in scoring offense at 62.7 points per game, the Falcons defense has been stifling, holding opponents to 58.9 points, second-best in the league.
A large part of that defensive effort has come from its pressure. Air Force ranks No. 8 in the NCAA in total steals (201) and No. 11 in steals per game (12.6).
The Falcons' pressure extends to the 3-point line where they are holding opponents to a league-low 26.3 percent from 3.
Cierra Winters is in the top 20 nationally in both total steals with 46 (No. 15) and steals per game with 2.88 (No. 20).
Senior Riley Snyder is the Falcons' top offensive threat, ranking eighth in the conference at 14.1 points per game.
Haley Jones ranks 14th in the NCAA in offensive rebounds, pulling down 4.1 per game