May 2012 Archives

Catching Up with Tahnee Robinson

Former Wolf Pack women's basketball star Tahnee Robinson is back in Reno and will be signing autographs tomorrow (Friday, May 25) from 1-3 p.m. at the Nike Factory Outlet at the Legends in Sparks. She is serving as an athlete ambassador for Nike N7 and recently returned to Reno after playing professional basketball in Israel. She is proudly enrolled in the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana and is Eastern Shoshone, Pawnee and Sioux as well.

At Nevada, Robinson became just the 10th player in school history to score 1,000 career points, doing it in just two seasons, and led the Wolf Pack to back-to-back Women's National Invitation Tournament postseason appearances. A two-time All-Western Athletic Conference first-team selection and the 2010 WAC Newcomer of the Year, Robinson ranked in the national top 10 in scoring in each of her two seasons at Nevada and finished in the Wolf Pack's career top 10 in five categories. She was a finalist for the 2011 Sullivan Award, which is annually given to the nation's top amateur athlete, and was drafted by the Connecticut Sun in the 2011 WNBA Draft, becoming just the second Native American to play at that level.

Robinson graduated last weekend with her degree in general studies and recently took the time to answer a few of our questions.

Q: What are you doing now?
A: I am doing rehab. I tore my hamstring in Israel. As soon as I can get better, I am going back to the Nike campus in Oregon to finish my training for the upcoming season.

Q: What was it like to play in Israel?
A: I loved playing in Israel. It was different. We had four Americans and four Israelis on the team and I was the oldest player on a young team. For my first year, it was a good experience. I enjoyed the people and the culture. We went to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. It is a beautiful place to go.

Q: How have you enjoyed serving as a Nike N7 ambassador?
A: It has been amazing. Now that Nike has released the N7 summer line, I'm going to be traveling to a lot of different stores. I've gotten to meet President Obama and his wife, Michelle, and have been involved in some amazing community service campaigns like Let's Move and Big Brothers Big Sisters. I've been very fortunate.

Q: What is the biggest lesson you learned from your time at the University of Nevada?
A: I learned that you reap what you sow. Hard work pays off. Kami (Malnaa) and the other coaches were always in the gym with me. They all wanted me to succeed as much as I wanted to. If you put in the time, everything pays off in the end. Maybe not right away, but it pays off.

Q: What is the biggest different between college basketball and professional basketball?
A: Being a rookie, you have to start at the beginning again. You have to establish yourself as a good player before they take you seriously. The pace of the game is faster and more physical, and the girls are bigger. It's not a huge change, but there is definitely a difference when you move to that level.

Q: How excited are you to have finally earned your bachelor's degree?
A: School was never my favorite, but I am so thankful for all of the people who helped me get through my classes and put together my schedule. I am so happy I'm graduating. There was a few times in my life that I never thought I would be in college, let alone graduate, so it is so amazing to have it done.

Q: What is next for you?
A: After I am done with rehab, I am going to train in Oregon until September. Then I am going to Europe to play. The season starts in October and lasts until late spring. 

Former Pack Player Lyle Overbay on a Tear

Former Wolf Pack star and current Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Lyle Overbay has been on a tear at the plate recently.

He has gone 15 for 31 in his last 16 appearances (15-31), including a 4-for-4 outing with a home run and three runs scored in last night's loss to the Dodgers. He has increased his batting average to .370 from .217 earlier in the year.

Overbay has spent the better part of the last decade playing in the Major Leagues after being drafted by the Diamondbacks in 1999. He was an All-American during his time at the University of Nevada, helping the Wolf Pack to an NCAA Regional appearance in 1999 and Big West titles in 1997 and 1998. He was inducted into the Nevada Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.

The 2012 WAC champion Wolf Pack baseball team had a chance to catch Overbay's game on Monday night since Nevada is in Mesa, Ariz., for the WAC Baseball Tournament. Hopefully the Wolf Pack bats can be as productive as Overbay has been lately when the team opens postseason play tonight against Louisiana Tech. Listen live at 7 p.m. Pacific Time on ESPN Radio 1450 AM with Don Marchand calling the action. 

Lucas Looks To Extend Stellar Season

For the fourth straight year, Nevada has seen one of its men's golfers selected for the NCAA Regionals. This morning, senior Kevin Lucas will tee off at the Norman Regional hosted by Oklahoma. He is one of five individuals competing alongside 14 teams. Lucas must be the low individual not amongst one of the top five teams to advance to the NCAA Championships.

As men's golf coach Jacob Wilner said yesterday, 2011-12 has been a stellar season for Lucas, who registered eight top-20 finishes in 11 starts, including a victory in the fall at the Pacific Invitational. A juco transfer, Lucas earned All-WAC honors each of his two seasons at Nevada.

He also set the bar for one of the youngest teams in the country as Nevada often sent Lucas and at least three (sometimes four) freshmen to compete during the course of the year. The Wolf Pack had some bright moments during the course of the season, highlighted by Lucas's play and a glimpse at the future with such a young team.

Today is the first day of the three-day, 54-hole regional. Click here for more information, including live scoring.

The following was compiled by Mike Samuels, with help from Jack Kuestermeyer and the Western Athletic Conference:

Nevada baseball (30-21, 10-5 WAC) seeks its first-ever WAC Championship in Hawai`i (28-22, 8-7 WAC) this week. You can follow all the action here. With that in mind, here are a few important points to ponder:

-    The Wolf Pack is 10-5 in WAC action and one-half game in front on second place Sacramento State, which is 11-7 and has completed WAC regular season play.
-    In the event of a tie, the WAC will award a co-championship for the regular season title but will use a tie-breaker to determine who gets the top seed in the WAC Tournament.
-    The winner of the WAC Tournament receives an auto-bid to the NCAA Regionals.
-    Both New Mexico State and Hawai`i are in reach of first place, each standing at 8-7 with three WAC games to play.

How can Nevada secure the WAC Title?
-    Win two of three games in Hawai`i.  Doing so would put Nevada at 12-6, one game ahead of Sac State in the final standings. This would put Hawai`i at 9-9.  New Mexico State could at best finish 11-7 if it won all three games against San Jose State this weekend.  In this scenario, Nevada would also secure the No. 1 seed for the WAC Tournament.

What if Nevada only wins one game against Hawai`i?
-    If Nevada only wins one game, it will end tied for first place with Sacramento State and also possibly New Mexico State (if the Aggies sweep all three from San Jose State).
-    In the event of a tie, the WAC will award a co-championship.  So, it is possible that Nevada, Sacramento State and New Mexico State will all be crowned 2012 WAC Champions.
-    The closest call to a tri-championship for WAC baseball occurred in 1968.  That season Arizona, Arizona State and New Mexico all finished 6-6 in WAC play placing them in a three-way tie for the Southern Division title.  Arizona was awarded the title on a run-differential tie-breaker ruling.  However, this was not for the WAC Championship as they most likely still had to play the Northern Division champ, BYU, to determine the outright WAC Champion.
-    A tie-breaker will be used to determine the WAC Tournament seedings in the event of a tie in regular season play. 
-    In the event of a two-way tie, Sacramento State would take the No. 1 seed and Nevada the No.2 seed, due to the Hornets winning two games in the regular season series meeting between the two schools.
-    In the event of a three-way tie, Sacramento State would take the No. 1 seed (having defeated both Nevada and New Mexico State in the respective regular season three-game series).  New Mexico State would take the No. 2 seed (having defeated Nevada in the regular season head-to-head three-game series).

What if Nevada loses all three games against Hawai`i?
-    Best-case scenario - The Pack would finish at 10-8.  This would guarantee them to finish in third behind both Hawai`i (sitting at 11-7 after beating Nevada three straight games) and Sacramento State (11-7).  Nevada gets a No. 3 seed in the WAC Tournament.
-    Middle-case Scenario - New Mexico State takes two games from San Jose State this weekend to finish tied with Nevada at 10-8.  Nevada finishes in a tie for third place but gets a No.4 seed in the conference tournament due to the tie-breaker.   
-    Worst-case Scenario - New Mexico State sweeps San Jose State this weekend to finish at 11-7.  Nevada finishes in fourth place and gets a No. 4 seed in the WAC Tournament.

What is the importance of being a top seed in the WAC Tournament?
-    The No.1 and No. 2 seeds in the WAC Tournament receive a first-round bye.  Not only does this mean the top two seeds have one less game to play and get more rest, but it also allows them (theoretically) to throw their top pitcher in the second round of the tournament.

With all this in mind, here are some quick facts on the Nevada/Hawai`i matchup:
-    Hawai`i is currently tied for third place with New Mexico State at 8-7. 
-    Hawai`i won three of the four games from Nevada last season in Reno.
-    Hawai`i is 24-11 at home and 5-1 in WAC play in Honolulu.
-    Nevada leads the series with UH (30-23) in WAC play. 
-    UH holds a 15-11 advantage in WAC games played at Les Murakami Stadium.

Sporting News Lists Ault as 23rd-Best Coach in the Country

Steve Greenberg and Matt Hayes of the Sporting News recently released rankings of all 124 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision football coaches, and Nevada's Chris Ault is listed as No. 23 in the nation on the magazine's list of the best coaches in the country.

Ault is second among Mountain West coaches, behind just Chris Petersen of Boise State (who was also second in the nation on the list). Ault and Petersen are the only two Mountain West coaches in the national top 25.

According to the rankings, "Chris Petersen is a carpet-bagger compared with Ault, who expertly piloted the Nevada program through multiple rises in altitude. The record since the Wolf Pack went FBS is sterling. Ault's team won 13 games in 2010--that's not easy."

Click here for the Sporting News' complete list of coaches and more information about how they selected their coaches.

Former Wolf Pack Skier Katie Lyons Continues to Help Others with Scoliosis

As Wolf Pack fans may remember, former skier Katie Lyons racked up a list of impressive accolades while she was at Nevada: All-American, academic all-district selection and finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year to just name a few.

But what people may not know about Lyons is that her skiing career was nearly ended when she was diagnosed with scoliosis when she was 15. After having major back surgery, she returned to the slopes and had a great career at Nevada while continuing to work with her surgeon to help others overcome what can be a debilitating disease.

Lyons is now in her second year at the University of Nevada's School of Medicine where she plans to pursue a career in orthopedics. She also continues to help others who have been diagnosed with scoliosis and has recently shared her story as part of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons' A Nation in Motion campaign that allows Americans to share their personal stories.

Here is a story on Katie Lyons and the great work she continues to do, recently aired by Dina Kupfer and KRNV in Reno.

New University President Knows Wolf Pack is Two Words

Dr. Marc Johnson was recently named the 16th president of the University of Nevada after serving as the interim president for the past year.

Dr. Johnson has been a loyal fan of the Wolf Pack (two words) during his time at Nevada, but most fans may not realize that he has ties to the other Wolfpack (one word) from North Carolina State University.

As this clever story by the NC State Alumni Association points out, Dr. Johnson was a student and professor at NC State earlier in his career.

It is definitely worth a read to get to know the leader of the Wolf Pack a little better.

Congratulations to Dr. Johnson on his appointment as university president. We look forward to seeing him at many Wolf Pack events this year.


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