IRVINE, Calif. The University of Nevada women’s basketball team saw its three-game win streak come to an end Friday night, falling at UC Irvine 77-74. With the loss, Nevada falls to 5-3 this season while UC Irvine improves to 4-4.
Nevada jumped out to a 4-0 lead on baskets by Dellena Criner and Mikail Price before a three by UC Irvine’s Miranda Forry cut the Pack’s early lead to 4-3. With 18 minutes remaining in the first, Criner completed a three-point play to put Nevada up 7-5.
Brandi Fitzgerald hit a layup with 16:42 remaining to spark a 13-0 Nevada run and put Nevada up 20-8 with 12:42 remaining in the first half.
The Anteaters used a run of their own to cut Nevada’s lead to one point, 20-19, with 6:40 left in the first half. UC Irvine took a 21-20 lead on Keyonna Johnson’s layup but the lead was short-lived as a jumper by Fitzgerald and a steal and layup on the next possession by Price helped Nevada regain the lead, 24-22, with 5:32 left in the first half.
Fitzgerald’s three extended Nevada’s lead to 27-22 before Sabrina Key’s basket with 2:15 remaining in the first half put Nevada up by six, 34-28.
The Pack, who took a 38-30 lead into halftime, shot 43.2 percent (16-37) from the floor in the first half and 60.0 percent (3-5) from three-point range. The Anteaters shot 48.0 percent (12-25) from the floor in the first. Price led the Pack in the first half, scoring 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field, while Criner and Fitzgerald each recorded nine first half points.
The Anteaters opened the second half with an 11-4 run to cut Nevada’s lead to 42-41 with 17:08 left in the second half. UC Irvine tied the game at 51-51 before a layup from Shavon Moore on the next possession put Nevada back on top 53-51 with 11:34 remaining.
Back to back three’s by Criner with 7:22 remaining gave Nevada a two point lead, 63-61. A pair of Criner free throws with 5:58 left in the game put Nevada up by four, 65-61. Consecutive baskets by Price with 3:16 remaining put the Pack up 69-63 before the Anteaters tied the game at 72-72 with 1:07 remaining.
UC Irvine's Miranda Forry hit a three pointer with 28 seconds remaining to put the Anteaters up 75-72 as the Anteaters went on to post the 77-74 victory.
Criner, who ended the game with 20 points, led three Nevada players in double figures. Price ended the game with 19 while Fitzgerald ended the game with 11. Criner has led the team in scoring for six consecutive games dating back to November 11. In that six-game span, Criner has a streak of six consecutive double-digit scoring games. Cherlanda Franklin and Keys each grabbed a team-high six rebounds for the Pack.
Nevada shot 41.7 percent (30-72) from the floor for the game, while UC Irvine ended the game shooting 53.4 percent (31-58).
Nevada will travel to Riverside, Calif., to take on UC Riverside on Sunday at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast in Reno on AM 1450 with the pregame show starting at 1:45 p.m. PT.