Dellena Criner scored 25 points, and Nevada upset No. 7 Louisville 85-82 on Saturday night in the championship game of the Nugget Classic for the school's first victory over a top-10 team.
The lead changed hands nine times and the game was tied six
times in the second half. Criner scored six points in a flurry that
gave Nevada a 72-70 lead with 3:30 to play. Her two free throws
with 11.8 seconds left gave Nevada (4-3) an 84-78 lead and secured
"This is why you coach," first-year Nevada coach Jane Albright
said. "This is why they play the game. This is for all the players
and everybody that believed in me and brought me here."
Criner put it even more succinctly.
"It is the biggest win I've ever been a part of," she said.
"It's an amazing feeling."
Angel McCoughtry scored a game-high 34 points for Louisville
(5-1), and became the first women's player in school history with
2,000 career points. She scored her 2,000th point on a layup with
just under nine minutes to play that tied the game at 61-61.
She is also first Louisville player, men's or women's, to score
at least 2,000 points and pull down at least 1,000 rebounds.
Louisville opened a 24-13 lead, but had to settle for a 36-33
halftime advantage after McCoughtry sat out all but the final
second of the last 10 minutes because of fouls.
The decision by Louisville coach Jeff Walz to put the team's
best player on the bench for so many minutes allowed Nevada to get
back in it.
"It's one where you look back on, I probably from now on have
to keep her in the game in that situation," Walz said.