Nevada women fall to UNLV | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada women fall to UNLV

THOMAS RANSON
Appeal News Service

RENO – Scoring droughts for the Nevada women’s basketball team seemed as severe as a deadly plague.

UNLV used a 15-6 run late in the first half to take the lead en route to a 55-41 win Saturday night before 960 fans at Lawlor Events Center.

Nevada, which dropped to 1-7, hosts Sacramento State this upcoming Saturday before traveling to Northern Arizona on Dec. 28. The Lady Rebels, on the other hand, improved to 5-2 and haven’t lost to the Pack since 1999 in Reno.

The in-state rivalry game was also “Break the Record Night” where Nevada attempted to break the attendance record for a women’s game. The record of 3,160 fans was set in 2000 when North Texas came to Reno.

“It’s frustrating to lose to Vegas because they’re our rival,” said guard Traci Graham, who led Nevada with 10 points. “We cut down on our mistakes and it’s a better ball game for us.”

Nevada committed 25 turnovers in the game, including 16 in the first half. UNLV also recorded 15 steals including six from Faye Muller.

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“I think the turnovers killed us,” said Nevada assistant coach Amanda Levens..

Levens added that UNLV’s quickness forced turnovers and its trapping defense took advantage of Nevada’s poor passing.

“The thing with UNLV is they can cover gaps quickly,” Levens said. “You have make your own breaks. At this point, there’s no excuses. We just got to get it done. We need to make adjustments.”

Levens said Nevada’s inexperience is taking its toll on the Pack, especially with the 14-point loss to the Rebels.

“We need to have a game where everyone is on the same page, mentally,” Levens said. “That comes with consistency … Our record indicates that.”

Along with Graham’s 10 points, six different players tallied four points each including Brandi Fitzgerald, Meghan McGuire, Sabrina Keys, Dellena Criner, Jessica Preslar and Cherlanda Franklin.

“My performance, I’m disappointed in myself,” said Fitzgerald, who tied for the team lead in turnovers with four.

Preslar also pulled down six rebounds as did Nicole Hayman, who had only two points, both coming from the free throw line.

For the Lady Rebels, three players recorded double-figures in points including Sheena Moore with 13. Sherry McCraklin scored 11 points and Kisha Lee had 10.

UNLV beat the Pack in field goal percentage, 44.2-33.3, including a near-50 percent in the second half.

Nevada led for most of the first half after starting the game on a 6-0 run.

UNLV tied the game at 16 with 4:56 remaining in the half and took its first and only lead one minute later, 18-16, on McCraklin’s spinning lay-up.

The Lady Rebels bumped their lead to four points on another McCracklin basket with 2:57 in the half.

After Nevada cut the deficit to three points, 33-30, in the second half, UNLV responded with a 14-2 run, including 10 unanswered points.