Nevada women leave Titans seeing double | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada women leave Titans seeing double

Nevada women leave Titans seeing double

BY DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – The Nevada women’s basketball team reached a couple of plateaus in its 82-57 non-conference win over Cal-State Fullerton Sunday at Lawlor Events Center.

The win moved Nevada to 7-3, tying it for its best start since the 1979-80 and 2002-03 seasons, respectively. The 82 points is the most a Nevada team has scored since Dec. 1, 2002.

And the Wolf Pack gave coach Kim Gervasoni plenty of things to be happy about. The win was Gervasoni’s 48th of her career at Nevada, leaving her two wins shy of becoming the second Nevada women’s coach to record at least 50 victories. Ada Gee was 117-161 from 1993-2003.

“I liked our intensity, liked our hard work,” Gervasoni said. “I thought we did a good job in transition (16 points) off shots, off made baskets and off missed baskets. We’re changing it up in practice. We’re focusing more on offense than on defense. The kids know they have to play defense. We have our defensive system in place. We’re relying on execution.”

She had to like what she saw, especially in the first 13 minutes. The Titans were unable to stop Nevada, which shot 58 percent from the floor.

Fullerton State led once in the first half, 4-2, with 18:27 remaining. The next nine minutes belonged to the Pack, which scored 27 of the next 30 points to grab a 29-7 lead.

Two freshmen – Shavon Moore and Johnna Ward – played big roles in the surge. Moore converted a three-point play and drained a shot in the key, and Ward, who led the Pack in the first half with eight points (she finished with 10), drained back-to-back 3-pointers.

“That (fast start) really helped,” said Cherlanda Franklin, who finished with 14 points and was one of five Pack players in double figures. “The UC Irvine game we started really weak. It was great to start the second half so well.”

The defense was especially solid in the span, too, as Fullerton had trouble getting the ball upcourt. The Titans turned the ball over 15 times, which Nevada turned into nine points.

The Titans didn’t go away, however, and managed to shave that 22-point deficit down to 10, 41-31, at the half.

Lauren Chow spearheaded the Fullerton comeback, scoring 14 points. Eleven of those came in the final eight minutes before intermission. Chow made her first four 3-point shots and went 5-for-7 from the floor.

Fullerton started to pressure Nevada, and the Pack didn’t react well.

“We haven’t had a team press since San Diego State,” Gervasoni said. “We haven’t seen that kind of pressure. I’m kind of glad they did it.”

The Pack opened the second half with a 13-4 half-opening run in the first 4:44.

Franklin started the surge with a nice three-point play, and after the Titans’ Ashley Richie scored, Franklin scored again to make it 46-33. After a Titan turnover, Moore (11 points, five rebounds) drained a free throw and Brandi Fitzgerald scored on a putback following Moore’s miss at the line.

Richie broke up the 5-0 run with a bucket, and Nevada went back to work again with seven straight points. Mikail Price (10 points) scored on a layup in transition, Franklin scored on a three-point play and Dellena Criner (10 points) picked Britt Peters clean and went the length of the court for a layup to give Nevada 56-35 lead.

The closest the Titans got the rest of the way was 17 points. Nevada went on to score 13 of the next 19 points to get the lead to 24, 69-45, with 8:44 remaining.

“I thought we came back from a weak seven minutes at the end of the first half,” Ward said. “I thought we played well in the second half.”

• Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281