Nevada women dominate San Jose State

RENO - The Nevada women's basketball team created more problems with its defense than the ice storm did to the Truckee Meadows the night before.

"We're so much better when we play Nevada defense," Wolf Pack coach Kim Gervasoni said.

Nevada nearly dominated every phase of the game in beating San Jose State, 74-47, Saturday afternoon at Lawlor Events Center.

"We weren't going to underestimate San Jose State," Nevada guard Dellena Criner, who had a game-high 18 points, said. "Coach told us we needed to play for the win. We did a good job putting it all on the floor."

Jessica Preslar scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Brandi Fitzgerald added 11 points to help Nevada (3-1 Western Athletic Conference, 8-7 overall) climb past the .500 hump for the first time since beating Portland State last month.

"It's been an amazing experience," freshman forward Marianne Lombardi, who scored a career-best eight points, said. "I'm excited to keep it up. Our guards did a really good job getting the ball to me inside."

The Wolf Pack dominated the Spartans (0-4 WAC, 1-16) in rebounds (48-34), field goal percentage (42.9-25.9), assists (15-5) and steals (11-5). Nevada also did a better job scoring in the paint, off turnovers and on second chances.

"It happens defensively when we have a lot of fun," Criner said. "When we play Nevada defense, the fun is there and the focus is also there."

With her team leading San Jose State by 30 points for most of the second half, Gervasoni rotated her inexperienced players into the game and said she was pleased with their effort. Coty Feest, Jessica Harrison and Marissa Hammond each saw more than 10 minutes of playing time.

"I coach for 40 minutes. I don't care how much we're up by. I just keep coaching them till the end," Gervasoni said. "We tried to get them (reserves) the ball. It was a great team win."

Natalie White led the Spartans with 14 points and Lynette Jacobs added 12. Amber Hall was the team's leading rebounder with eight boards.

With Nevada traveling to WAC favorite Louisiana Tech on Thursday, Gervasoni said she is liking how the team is playing. Nevada won its fourth straight home game and is on a two-game winning streak after defeating Hawai'i on Thursday.

"They're very athletic. Rebounding is going to be huge against them. It's a battle of the boards," the fourth-year coach said about the Lady Techsters.

Gervasoni, though, said San Jose State reminded her of Nevada two years ago, a team that battled tough before falling late in the game.

"We did some great things tonight," Gervasoni said. "San Jose reminded me of my team the first two years. San Jose's a good team. Their record isn't reflective of how good of a team they are."

Gervasoni looks forward to the rest of the conference schedule after it plays at Louisiana Tech.

"WAC's going to be interesting," the fourth-year coach said. "If we take care of what we need to, other teams are going to help us out. I like the way we're playing. I like our focus."

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