Nevada will have its hands full against Rice

RENO - The Nevada women know they have their hands full tonight against Rice.

Nevada lost both regular-season meetings by nine points apiece, and gave up an average of 86 points a game.

"They are an incredible team," Nevada coach Kim Gervasoni said. "They are very athletic.

"Michelle Woods is one of the top players in the country. She can do it all. They are a very deep team. We have to defend in transition. They hurt us a lot in both games."

Nevada will have to do a better job on the boards compared to its win over Hawai'i. The Rainbow Wahine out-rebounded Nevada 42-35. The Pack gave up 22 offensive rebounds, leading to 21 second-chance points for Hawai'i.

Gervasoni said she expects to have Traci Graham in the lineup tonight. Graham took a hard spill in the closing seconds of the win. She did not have a concussion, according to the Nevada coach.

NOT AGAIN

For the fourth straight year, Boise State won the 8-9 play-in game, and for the fourth straight year the Broncos will face Louisiana Tech in the quarterfinals.

Boise State handed the Bulldogs one of their four conference losses this season.

"We are excited about the matchup," BSU coach Jen Warden said. "This has really opened up to be anybody's conference."

Added senior guard Jodi Nakashima, "We want to go as long as we can. Anybody can beat anybody on any given day."

JOHNSON COACHES LAST GAME

San Jose State's Phil Johnson coached his last game Tuesday night, and first-year athletic director Tom Bowen said he hopes to have an announcement by March 15.

Johnson, who coached four seasons with the Spartans, finished at 31-83.

Bowen said final interviews were finished Tuesday, and that all six finalists are Division I assistant coaches.

"All have ties to Northern California, and all have ties to me," said Bowen, who has worked at De La Salle High School and St. Mary's College.

Bowen refused to divulge the candidates' identity, but Cal assistants George Nessman and Lou Reynaud worked for him at De La Salle. According to a story in the San Jose Mercury News, Pack assistant David Carter also has been interviewed.

Bowen hopes the new coach can get things turned around. He said he wants to get a coach in place because the Spartans have three scholarships to give. He wants the new coach to be able to recruit locally.

"I wish Phil Johnson all the success in the world," Bowen said. "He handled a difficult decision with a lot of class and dignity."

Johnson said the last couple of weeks haven't been real tough despite the fact that he knew he wasn't coming back.

"It has become obvious that there hasn't been the necessary progress in our program," he said. "The lack of progress and failures of the program rest squarely on my shoulders."

A GOOD START

BSU point guard Tasha Harris showed no signs of freshman jitters. She scored 14 points, dished out three assists, pulled down three rebounds and had only two turnovers in 33 minutes.

"It was definitely different (than regular season)," she said. "This was the third time we had played them, and it was win or go home. The intensity was a lot higher."

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