Women: Fresno State vs. New Mexico
Thursday, 6 p.m., in Canyon Texas. Radio: 610 AM/95.9 FM. Streaming: themw.com (Game 2: Saturday, 11 a.m.)
What you need to know about Fresno State: The preseason Mountain West favorites have won four straight and seem to be rounding into form. Fresno State swept two games from Boise State last week — the first in a 92-57 rout. It’s a fast-paced team led by the ultra-talented Cavinder twins, who rank first and second in the MWC in scoring and force the tempo at every opportunity. Utti, the reigning conference player of the year, has been battling a shoulder injury but remains one of the league’s top insideoutside threats. The Bulldogs rank third in the MWC in scoring (79.4 ppg) and 3-point percentage (34.6) and do an effective job playing to their strengths. FSU lacks height and ranks last in the league in rebounding margin (-4.5 per game). The Bulldogs frequently employ a zone defense and extend their pressure to force turnovers. They may prefer man-toman against UNM, which also has more quickness than size.
What you need to know about New Mexico:
The Lobos face a stiff challenge in what amounts to a first-place showdown in this season’s strange Mountain West race. Postponements and cancellations have limited UNM to four league games, but a successful series against the Bulldogs could put the Lobos in a solid position in the standings. The teams have similar guard-oriented styles and figure to play at a breakneck pace. UNM leads the league in scoring (88.3 ppg), 3-pointers per game (11.3) and turnover margin (+4.0) and will need to play up to those standards. De La Cerda ranks third in the league in scoring and is coming off her best performance of the season (28 points vs. UNLV). A key individual matchup will pit Anderson against FSU’s Utti. Anderson had a monster game (29 points) against UNLV but has been plagued by foul trouble this season.