PROVO Brigham Young senior guard Mallary Gillespie-Carling knew that if she just kept shooting, she would eventually come out on top.
Despite going 0-for-9 from behind the 3-point line, Carling ended with a game-high 17 points in BYU's 78-59 home opening victory against Fresno State.
"I know I can make them, so I just wanted to keep shooting," Carling said.
After the game, BYU coach Jeff Judkins pointed out the athleticism of the Bulldogs.
"It's nice to get a win, because it was a real track meet, especially in the first half," Judkins said. "Fresno gives us a different look than we usually get in conference."
BYU (2-1) jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but the Cougars struggled with Fresno State's full-court press. Turnovers helped the Bulldogs eventually even the score at 11-11.
Tied at 33, back-to-back jumpers by Mindy Nielson and Shawnee Slade, and a layup at the buzzer by Carling gave the Cougars a six-point advantage at halftime.
"We tried to slow down a little bit and spread the floor, but it's hard to prepare for that," Judkins said about the struggles with Fresno State's full-court pressure. "I think this team naturally calms down at halftime."
It was Fresno State that struggled in the second half, shooting just 21 percent after the break. The lack of scoring from the field allowed BYU to build its lead to a comfortable margin, at one point leading by 24 points.
BYU started to dominate the inside game in the second half, ending with a 55-42 rebound advantage. That total equals the Cougars' second-highest rebound total in team history. In addition, BYU tallied 14 second-chance points, compared to just three for the Bulldogs.
Slade, who said that she was especially focused on guarding Fresno State's Tierre Wilson who ended with a team-high 14 points was also on her game offensively.
"I had a job to guard number 3 (Wilson), and I think I had the mind-set to play with a lot of energy," said Slade, who ended with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Lauren Riley-Varley just missed a double-double with 13 rebounds and eight points on 4-of-7 shooting. Mindy Nielson contributed 11 points.
Fresno State's Marnique Arnold tallied 11 points, Emma Andrews finished with nine, and Erica Henry pulled down eight rebounds.The Cougars are at home for two more games, against Hartford next Tuesday and Seton Hall on Friday.
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