RENO - Heads up Western Athletic Conference, the Nevada women's basketball team means business.
"We're the kind of team that once we get going, you can't slow us down," Nevada forward Shavon Moore said.
After two months of non-conference play, Nevada sent a message to the rest of the WAC in its league opener by pounding San Jose State, 72-51, Thursday night in front of 331 fans at Lawlor Events Center.
Nevada (1-0 Western Athletic Conference, 10-5) used a balance attack from both ends of the floor to beat San Jose State (0-2 WAC, 1-14) for the fourth straight time.
"Especially after (the) Utah Valley State (loss last week), I wanted to play the next day," Nevada coach Kim Gervasoni said. "We had to wait for a week, but we were just so anxious."
Dellena Criner led four players in double figures, scoring 17 points including 7-of-8 from the free throw line. Moore scored 13 points and Johnna Ward buried two 3-pointers to finish with 11. Mikail Price added 10 points.
The Wolf Pack bench, though, was one of the main highlights of the 21-point win. Nevada outscored San Jose State 24-13 off the bench with Ward leading the effort.
"The bench helped step up and keep the intensity and wear San Jose State's bench down," Criner said. "They gave us a lot of productivity."
Experiencing a harsh season so far, San Jose State has lost eight straight games since its only win at Cal State Northridge in November. The Spartans' guard duo, though, presented a challenge.
"They did good things (at the beginning)," Moore said. "We just overcame it and played our offense and defense."
Natalie White posted a game-high 22 points for the Spartans and Myosha Barnes added 10.
Except for a lapse midway in the second half, Nevada tore down the San Jose State offense, scoring 33 points off 31 turnovers. The Spartans, who went on a 15-1 run in the second half, scored only 13 points off Nevada's 16 turnovers.
"I just think we need to finish a little better," Gervasoni said. "We had a drop off with finishing. We're trying to get the girls to go game speed when we're practicing. Shooting 36 percent in the second half is a little disappointing."
Nevada erased its only deficit of the game, 8-6, with a 19-2 run, holding San Jose State scoreless for 7 minutes, 43 seconds in the first half. After its last basket at the 17:07 mark, the Spartans didn't find the hoop until 9:24 left when Brittany Powell hit a jumper.
The Wolf Pack scored 16 unanswered points in a span of 3:15 with Moore leading the run with seven points. Price capped off the scoring rampage with a short jump shot with 10 minutes left. Criner's 3-pointer 30 feet from behind the arc (3-point line is 19 feet, 9 inches from the basket) at the buzzer ended Nevada's 50-percent performance from the floor.
"I think it was near the ear (of the wolf logo on center court) if I'm not mistaken," Criner of her long 3. "There wasn't enough room for me to penetrate it."
Nevada hosts Hawaii Saturday night at 5 p.m. on Dollar Night. All tickets, small sodas, popcorn and cotton candy will all be available for $1.
"They're a talented group, big and strong," Gervasoni said of Hawaii. "They have quick guards and can really play a good game."