Brandi Fitzgerald scored a game-high 21 points and added 11 rebounds and Dellena Criner added 19 points as the University of Nevada women’s basketball team beat Hawai`i 75-65 Saturday night.
The Pack (11-4) improved to 2-0 in WAC play and won its first two WAC games of the season for the first time since the 2000-01 season. The Rainbow Wahine fell to 6-9 overall and 0-2 in the WAC.
Hawai`i led just once in the game, taking a 1-0 lead with 19:49 left. The Pack went up by nine, 25-18, in the first half on a jumper from Cherlanda Franklin. Hawai`i held Nevada without a field goal for the last 2:10 in the first half but the Pack still took a 35-29 lead at the half.
In the first half, Nevada shot 37.1 percent (13-of-35) from the floor while Hawai`i shot 35.5 percent (11-of-31). Fitzgerald scored nine of her game-high 21 points in the first half.
Hawai`i cut Nevada’s lead to two, 35-33, to open the second half before a jumper from Fitzgerald sparked an 11-0 Nevada run that pushed Nevada’s lead to 49-35 with 13:39 remaining. With 10:16 remaining in the game, the Pack extended its lead to 17 points, going up 58-41. The Rainbow Wahine pulled to within five, 60-55 in a layup by Leilani Galdones with 5:55 remaining but used a 7-0 run to push its lead to 67-55.
“We fought hard and battled tonight,” head coach Kim Gervasoni said. “Hawai`i came to play and I thought they had a good game plan. We hit key baskets down the stretch and got key stops and we did what we had to do to win. They were a tough matchup for us but overall I’m happy with our focus.”
Fitzgerald recorded her second career double-double, scoring a season-high 21 points and tied her career high with 11 boards. Criner scored 19 points for the Pack including 10-of-13 from the free throw line.
Cherlanda Franklin ended the game with a career-high 11 steals and a career-high four blocks. As a team the Pack recorded 15 steals.
Nevada will play at Idaho on Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. MT and will face Boise State in Boise, Idaho on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. MT.