Late free throws help Nevada women win |

Late free throws help Nevada women win

Appeal News Service

RENO – Thanks to eight free throws in the final minute, the Nevada women’s basketball team was able to ice an 87-83 exhibition win against Bay Area Pro-Am on Sunday afternoon before 314 fans at Lawlor Events Center.

Nevada will have its last tune-up game as part of a double-header with the men’s team on Saturday. The women play Sonoma State at 5:05 p.m., followed by the men against Humboldt State at 7:05.

“We were trying to make things happen differently,” said Nevada coach Kim Gervasoni. “I liked their focus tonight. They didn’t play timid.”

Nevada committed 31 turnovers, but outrebounded Pro-Am 50-37 and shot 12 percent better from the field.

Out of the 31 turnovers, 20 came from steals, six from Toni Russell for Pro-Am. Pro-Am scored 35 points off those turnovers.

“We need to take care of the ball better,” Gervasoni said

Four players scored in double figures as Sabrina Keys led the Pack with 16 points. Brandi Fitzgerald scored 13 points followed by Traci Graham with 12 and Meghan McGuire with 11.

Former Pepperdine standout Sarah Richen scored 29 points to lead Pro-Am. Melanie Turner added 15 and Alicia Hernandez had 11.

“I thought we did good overall,” Keys said. “I want to win. I’ll do whatever it takes to win.

“It’s nice to have a presence inside,” Gervasoni said about the addition of Keys. “It’s going to be nice to have that luxury.”

Fitzgerald, a freshman guard from Moreno Valley High School (Canyon Springs, Calif.), said learning the offense seemed difficult in the beginning.

“At first, it was a hard time learning the new offense,” she said. “We have a lot of new people.”

The fourth-year coach emphasized the importance of winning the first and last two minutes of each half.

“I like our aggressiveness the whole game,” she said. “I thought they played really hard for those eight minutes.”

Gervasoni, though, said work needs to be done with the defense.

“We need to communicate more on defense. Our transition defense hurt us at times.”

As a result, Pro-Am scored 16 points off the fast break. Nevada had only six.

“I thought we could have done better on defense,” Fitzgerald said.

With Nevada up by three points and 34.8 seconds left in the game, Nicole Hayman sunk a lone free throw followed by a pair 14 seconds later to give the Pack an 84-80 lead.

“Pressure free throws – that’s fun,” Franklin said.

Melanie Turner is guarding Nicole Hayman in the second half.