Nevada women win season hoops opener
RENO – Megan McGuire knows all about Cal-State Fullerton’s women’s basketball program.
McGuire went to Troy High School, which is right across the street from the Fullerton campus. Despite leading her team to a state championship her junior season and helping Troy to four league championships, she wasn’t even recruited by the Titans, a definite slap in the face.
McGuire didn’t say much about the oversight, but she had the last laugh, however. She scored 14 points, 11 coming in the second half, to spark Nevada to a season-opening 71-56 win over the Titans in the first round of the John Ascuaga Nugget Classic Friday night at Lawlor Events Center.
The last time Nevada won a season-opening game was the 2001-02 season when the Wolf Pack beat Memphis 82-65. The win also snapped a 10-game losing streak dating back to the last game of the first half of the WAC schedule.
The victory sends Nevada into the championship game tonight at 6 p.m. against Colorado, an easy first-round winner over Loyola. The Titans face Loyola in the 1 p.m. consolation game.
McGuire, who had just three points at the half, hit four of her seven second-half field goal attempts. She was especially effective inside where she hit two layups and a short jump shot.
“I was really pleased with Meghan (in the second half),” coach Kim Gervasoni said. “We were using our post isolation offense and she was doing a good job of sealing off (Amber) Pruitt and took it to the basket. She’s one of the best in that offense.”
McGuire knocked down her only three-pointer and hit two close-range shots to spark a 16-9 run to help the Wolf Pack to a comfortable 57-42 lead midway through the second half. After Pruitt connected from the paint, Nevada scored 10 straight points for a 67-47 bulge. Cherlanda Franklin had two buckets to lead the way.
“We didn’t finish the first half strong, but we didn’t let it affect us,” McGuire said, referring to Fullerton’s 10-0 run in the final two-plus minutes. “We came out with the same intensity we did in the first half.”
In the first half, the Wolf Pack got strong outside play from Talisha Anderson (11 of her 15 points) and good inside play from freshman Andrea Sitton, who scored seven of her nine points.
Sitton’s three-point play off a putback and a two-pointer from short range sparked a 9-4 run and gave Nevada an early 17-10 lead. A 14-3 run later in the half stretched the lead to 40-21 with 2:44 left. Led by India McDaniel (four points) and six by Dayana Frias, Fullerton scored 10 straight to make it 40-31 at the half.
“Andrea is so fundamental,” Gervasoni said. “She finds the basket real well. We needed her to step up and she did.”
Nevada stayed comfortably ahead in the second half, keeping its lead in double digits most of the time.
Gervasoni, whose team is coming off a 3-26 season, was obviously pleased with the Wolf Pack’s effort against the Titans. Good help defense forced Fullerton into 22 turnovers.
“We came with intensity and played aggressively,” she said. “Those are two things we can control. We came up with all the loose balls.
“We started a Pack Pride (award) for the defensive player of the week. Whoever wins will get a black wristband. We want to start building our trademark with defense.”
And, the Pack will need plenty of defense and rebounding to stay with Colorado, which finished third in the Big 12 last season.
“I’m excited,” Anderson said. “They’re a big-name school. It will be fun. We’re going to come out just as hard; even harder. We’re going to push through it and bring it.”
“They (Colorado) execute their triangle offense real well,” Gervasoni said. “They are big, and we’ll have to be ready to rebound.”
COLORADO 75, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT 58
The Lady Buffalos used a 13-2 second-half run to pull away from the scrappy Lions in the season-opener for both teams.
Leading 33-32, Colorado’s Whitney Law knocked down a three-pointer from the left corner and Kara Richards followed with a three-point play to make it 39-32. Anna Nedovic drained a three for a 42-32 lead. Loyola’s Jevay Grooms broke the 9-0 run with a layup, but a field goal by Veronica Johns-Richardson and a three-point play by Jasmina Ilic gave the Lady Buffs a 47-34 lead with 12:19 left to play.
Loyola never got closer than 10 points the rest of the game, as the Lady Buffs’ big height advantage was too much to overcome. Colorado enjoyed a 40-29 edge in rebounding.
Nedovic led Colorado with 23 points and 10 rebounds, Johns-Richardson added 15, Richards 13 and Law 10. Grooms led Loyola with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com or 881-1281.