RENO, Nev. The University of Nevada women’s basketball team made history Friday afternoon opening conference play 6-0 after a 77-45 won over Boise State.
Nevada, who remains undefeated and in first place in the WAC, improved to 12-7 overall and 6-0 in WAC play. Boise State, who entered the game tied for second on the conference standings, fell to 11-10 overall and 4-3 in WAC play.
Nevada’s 6-0 start in conference play marks the first time in program history the Pack has opened a conference season 6-0. Nevada’s six game winning streak marks the first six-game winning streak since the 1986-87 season. With the win, the Pack improved to 8-1 at home this year and Nevada is 20-4 at home since the start of the 2007-08 season.
Boise State scored the game’s first two points before Nevada scored 12 unanswered points to take an early 12-2 lead with 15:43 left in the first half. The Broncos cut the Wolf Pack’s lead to five, 16-11, with 12:36 remaining before a three pointer by Johnna Ward with 7:17 left in the half gave Nevada 14-point lead, 30-16.
The Pack extended its first-half lead to 17 points, 37-20, on Kayla Williams’ layup and Nevada had a 14-point lead at the half, 39-25.
Nevada shot 44.8 percent (13-of-29) from the floor in the first half while Boise State shot 30.8 percent (8-of-26). Ward led all scorers at the half with 11 points.
In the second half Brandi Jones’ three pointer put Nevada ahead by 18, 46-28, with 16:29 left in the game. The Pack used a 9-0 run, sparked by a three pointer by Dellena Criner, to extend its lead to 23 points with just under 11 minutes to play.
A jumper by Amanda Johnson gave Nevada a 77-43 lead with 2:09 to play as Nevada went on to post the 77-45 win.
“Our ball pressure today was outstanding,” assistant coach Ron Stewart said. “It starts with Dellena and then onto Brandi and Johnna. Our ball pressure caused some problems for Boise State.”
Nevada shot a season-high 48.2 percent (27-of-56) from the floor while Boise State shot 29.1 percent (16-of-55). Criner (20 points) led three Nevada players in double figures as Ward finished with 14 and Jones added 11. Cherlanda Franklin finished with nine points and nine rebounds while Marissa Hammond added a career-high eight rebounds.
“The situation today wasn’t an easy one to step into and to be (head coach) Jane Albright - nobody can do that,” Stewart said. “It is tough to do and handle a situation like that but we played team basketball and it’s a testament to what our head coach means to us.”
Albright was not at the Pack’s game Friday as she was in Cary, N.C., attending the funeral of long-time friend and former NC State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow. Yow was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and passed away on January 24. The Pack wore pink uniforms on Friday in honor of Yow.
Friday’s game was also “Washoe County Partners with the Pack” Day as all middle and elementary schools were invited to attend the game for free. The students were each given a math packet to complete at the game based on events that happened at the game.
Nevada will host San Jose State Sunday at 2 p.m. Admission to the game is just $1.