Wolf Pack women return home

There is no place like home. At least that's what Nevada women's basketball coach Kim Gervasoni is hoping.

The Wolf Pack (2-3) have lost three straight road games, but hope to even their record at .500 when they host San Diego State tonight at 7 at Lawlor Events Center.

Nevada shot poorly in losses to Gonzaga and Alabama State at the Sun Devil Classic last weekend. Nevada finished the game against Alabama State at 25 percent from the floor. That percentage isn't good enough to beat a grade-school team let alone a college team.

"It wasn't bad shot selection," Gervasoni said. "We ran into some solid defense by both teams. We rushed shots a bit. We had a couple of turnovers late in regulation (in OT loss to Alabama State) that let them back in the game. I was a little disappointed. Our senior guards have to do a better job of taking care of the ball."

Gervasoni said San Diego State is an undersized team that relies on quickness, three-point shooting and half-court execution. The Aztecs run Princeton's spread offense, which means a lot of movement, a lot of screens and hard cuts to the basket.

"They execute pretty efficiently in the half court," Gervasoni said. "The key will be how well we defend that."

The Wolf Pack needs more consistent production from April Bankston and Jessica Preslar, both of whom struggled over the weekend. Thus far, Megan McGuire and Talisha Anderson have been the most consistent scorers.

n Despite the fact that Nevada lost two straight in Arizona, Gervasoni was happy to visit her old stomping grounds in Tempe. She was an assistant coach at Arizona State for three seasons, and current Wolf Pack assistant coach Amanda Levens played at ASU.

"It was nice to see everybody; the boosters, the ASU coaches and players," Gervasoni said. "I helped recruit almost every player on this year's team when I was there."

Two current Nevada players - Amber Young and Cherlanda Franklin - grew up in Arizona. Both obviously had nice rooting sections for the weekend games.

n There are eight men's basketball teams with winning nonconference records through Sunday.

Both Fresno State and Hawai'i are 4-0. Fresno State's schedule has been very weak thus far. Nevada, picked to finish fourth by WAC coaches, is next at 4-1. Preason favorite UTEP is 4-2 along with Boise State, and Rice is 3-1. San Jose State and SMU are both 3-2.

On the women's side, Fresno State and Tulsa are both 5-0, followed by SMU at 5-1 and Rice at 5-4. Louisiana Tech and San Jose State are both 3-2.

n Rice forward Michael Harris was one of 30 senior basketball players to be nominated for the fourth annual Bayer Advantage Senior Class Award. The award is presented annually to the nation's senior player of the year for NCAA Division I men's and women's basketball. A national media committee will select 10 finalists in February, and the winner will be honored during the CBS telecast of the Final Four in April.

n According to the Idaho Statesman Journal, Boise State has approved a new contract for head football coach Dan Hawkins that would boost his salary and increase the buyout a school would have to pay to acquire his services.

According to the story, Hawkins was involved in crafting the contract, which wuld pay him a base salary of $525,000 per year for five years. Under his old contract, he would make $396,750.

Hawkins is 44-6 since taking over at Boise, and his name has been linked to Pac-10 openings at Washington and Stanford. If he stays on at Boise State, the salary hike would still leave him well short of the reported $800,000 made by June Jones of Hawai'i and Fresno State's Pat Hill. Boise has yet to lose to either of those schools under Hawkins.

n And speaking of Boise State football, Chris Petersen, the Broncos' offensive coordinator, is a finalist for the 2004 Broyles Award. The award is named in honor of longtime Arkansas athletic director, and recognizes the top collegiate assistant coach. The winner will be announced Jan. 11 in Arkansas. The other finalists are Oklahoma offensive coordinator Chuck Long, Auburn defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory, Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker and Norris Wilson, UConn's offensive coordinator.

n All the bowl mess has been figured out, and the WAC has four teams playing in post-season games.

Hawai'i, which won its last three games to go 7-5 overall, will host Alabama-Birmingham on Dec. 24 in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. On Dec. 27, Fresno State (8-3) plays Virginia (8-3) in the MPC Computers Bowl in Boise and UTEP (8-3) plays Colorado (7-5) in the Houston Bowl on Dec. 29. Boise State (11-0) plays Louisville (10-1) in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.

The WAC failed to put a team in the Silicon Valley Football Classic this year because both UTEP and Boise went to higher-paying and higher-profile bowl games. Northern Illinois and Troy State will play in that game.

Darrell Moody can be reached at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or by calling (775) 881-1281.


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