Nevada women’s basketball falls to Fresno State | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada women’s basketball falls to Fresno State

By THOMAS RANSON

Appeal News Service

RENO – The Lady Pack basketball team is finding itself in a big hole after opening the league season with six wins, including a pair of road wins at Louisiana Tech and Fresno State.

“We can’t give up 86 points in a game and expect to win,” Nevada coach Kim Gervasoni said. “Defense and rebounding is going to win the game.”

Fresno State became the third team to get revenge over Nevada, beating the Wolf Pack, 86-81, Thursday night before 364 fans at Lawlor Events Center. The Bulldogs won the rebounding battle, 35-30, and committed six less turnovers, 19-13.

“We didn’t play very good defense this game,” said Tracy Graham, who led Nevada with 23 points, including three 3-pointers. “We didn’t ‘D’ off on the dribble and it hurt us. We came out real tentative tonight and it showed. They dictated, basically.”

The Wolf Pack drops to fourth place in the Western Athletic Conference with a 6-4 record, 12-11 overall, after being tied with Boise State for first two weeks ago. Since then, Louisiana Tech and Hawai’i both beat Nevada after each lost to the Wolf Pack in their first meetings.

Fresno State moves into sole possession of third place at 6-3, 13-9 overall.

“We’ve given up to Louisiana Tech and Hawai’i in the 70s and tonight in the 80s. That’s not our style,” Gervasoni said.

The Nevada bench came off strong, outscoring Fresno State, 35-20.

Marissa Hammond came off the bench with 16 points, and Jessica Preslar added 14. Dellena Criner, a starting guard, scored 14 but led the team with five turnovers.

“Jessica Preslar gave us some solid minutes and Marissa, obviously, came in and did some nice things,” Gervasoni said. “I trust the people I bring in.”

Hammond said a difference between the second and first halves of the season is lack of communication.

“The communication hasn’t been as good as it was when we were winning,” Hammond said. “We gave up stupid fouls.”

Gervasoni said she was disappointed in the steals with Fresno State outgaining Nevada, 11-7, in a category that the Wolf Pack ranks seventh in the nation at an average of 12 steals a game.

“We’re one of the top teams in the nation for steals and we only get seven tonight,” Gervasoni said.

After Nevada built at 40-36 lead in the first half, both teams came out battling in the second half in which there were 20 lead changes and 13 ties. Nevada’s biggest lead came at six points, two minutes into the second half Bre’Anna Henry beat the shot clock to give Nevada a 44-38 lead.

Chantella Perera’s quick penetration to the basket lead to points off layups. Perera led the Bulldogs with 23 points, Tierra Wilson added 15 and Andrea Roberson had 14.

The Wolf Pack’s last lead came at the four-minute mark when Criner made an NBA-range 3-pointer. Perera, though, countered the shot with a deeper 3-pointer to give Fresno State the lead it never lost.

Brandi Fitzgerald, a starting sophomore guard, did not play because of a leg injury.

“She tweaked her knew a little bit,” Gervasoni said.

Nevada travels to Utah State and San Jose State next week before returning home to face Idaho and Boise State in two weeks.

“We have to come out and practice really hard,” Graham said. “We can’t dwell on the loss. Our confidence is real low right now.”