Nevada women edge Boise, reach semifinals
Nevada Appeal Staff Report
RENO – Shavon Moore has made plenty of big plays in her Nevada career, but none bigger than the offensive rebound she pulled down in the closing seconds Wednesday night.
Leading 61-59 with 17.2 seconds left, Moore grabbed the offensive rebound off a missed free throw by Amanda Johnson and was fouled.
Moore, who finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds, made one of two free throws to extend the Wolf Pack lead to three points, and Nevada went on to a 64-59 win over Boise State in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament at Lawlor Events Center.
Nevada moves on to play Louisiana Tech Friday at 2:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals. Fresno State and Idaho play in the other semifinal at noon.
“It was a very important play,” Moore said. “I’ve made many like it. It comes down to knowing you have to get a rebound. I didn’t want them to get another chance.”
Even after Moore’s free throw, Boise State came down with a chance to tie the game. Jessica Van Hoogen drove the lane, and instead of kicking the ball out for a potential game-tying 3-point attempt, she put up a two-pointer that went off the backboard. Johnna Ward was fouled and made two free throws to salt away the win.
“We had two plays drawn up,” BSU coach Gordy Presnell said. “One play was for two points if she missed the free throw and one for three if she made the free throw.
“Nevada played a great game. The defeat could be attributed to second-chance rebounding and free throw shooting. We made some critical errors and you lose when you do that against a team like Nevada.”
Nevada coach Jane Albright was so excited with the win that she spent probably double the time coaches take with her initial post-game comment.
“I’m proud of our team,” she said. “We beat a great team. Boise State has one of the best programs in the country.
“The second-chance points was 20-7. If she (Moore) doesn’t get that rebound, we don’t know what would have happened. That (rebounding) is one thing we talked about. It enables us to run (or to score at the offensive end). We were plus-11 rebounding and it would have been plus-15, but they had a possession where they got four rebounds.”
Nevada led 53-45 with 7:54 left, but Van Hoogen, who finished with 13 points, scored nine straight to give the Broncos a 54-53 lead with 4:30 remaining.
Nevada bounced right back, scoring six of the next eight for a 59-56 lead with 1:29 remaining. Nicole Williams drained two free throws, Moore scored on the inside and Tahnee Robinson knocked down two free throws.
Van Hoogen cut the lead to 59-57 with a free throw, but Johnson canned two free throws for a 61-57 lead. Tasha Harris made it 61-59 with 17.2 left.
Johnson was fouled on the ensuing inbound play. She missed both free throws and Moore grabbed the offensive rebound on the second miss, which set the stage for the dramatic finish.
Boise State came out strong to open the game, outscoring Nevada 11-2, as Harris scored six of those points.
“We were playing on their homecourt so right away we were at a disadvantage,” Harris said. “We wanted to come out and throw the first punch which we did.”
Nevada answered back with a 17-3 run of its own to take a 19-14 lead with 8:08 left in the first half. Williams came off the bench to score six of her points in that surge, while Robinson added a a bucket and two free throws.
“I think Nicole sparked us in the first half,” Albright said.
Boise State scored eight straight points in a 3-minute 30-second span to tie the game at 23 with 3:24 remaining. Robinson scored four points to finish the half, giving Nevada a 27-25 lead.
The Wolf Pack built its lead to 43-33 five minutes into the second half thanks to a 16-8 surge which was keyed by two 3-pointers from Ward and one from Robinson.