The University of Nevada women’s basketball team used balanced scoring to down Hawai`i 75-57 on Senior Day Saturday afternoon at Lawlor Events Center. Nine of the 13 players to see time for Nevada scored at least five points for the Pack.
With the win, Nevada finished the regular season 16-13 and 10-6 in the WAC while Hawai`i fell to 7-22 and 4-12 in the WAC. With the win, the Pack also tied the school record for most conference wins in a season. The 2006-07 and 1997-98 teams also finished the conference season with 10 wins.
In the first half neither team led by more than three until a layup by Dellena Criner with 10:30 to play in the half put the Pack ahead, 21-16. Hawai`i cut Nevada’s lead to two, 21-19, on the next possession before the Pack pushed its lead to eight, 29-21, with 4:53 left in the half.
Hawai`i tied the game at 32-32 with 1:34 remaining in the half before a free throw by Ciner with just over a minute left gave Nevada a 33-32 lead.
Cherlanda Franklin led Nevada at the half with eight points while Marianne Lombardi led the team at the half with five rebounds. Nevada shot 31.3 percent (10-of-32) from the floor in the first half while Hawai`i shot 44.4 percent (12-of-27).
In the second half, Nevada used an 11-0 run sparked by a pair of free throws by Johnna Ward to push the Pack’s lead to 50-39 with 13:17 to play. With 4:28 to play, Marianne Lombardi’s free throw gave Nevada a 24-point lead, 69-45 as Nevada went on to post the 75-57 win.
Franklin finished with a double-double for the Pack with 14 points and 10 rebounds for her third career double-double. Criner finished with nine points while Cherry tied her career high with nine points. Ward and Brandi Jones each scored eight for Nevada. Prior to the game Nevada four seniors (Dellena Criner, Brandi Jones, Cherlanda Franklin and Bre`Anna Henry) were honored for their careers at Nevada.
As a team the Pack shot 36.7 percent (22-of-60) from the floor and 81.8 percent (27-of-33) from the free throw line. Hawai`i finished the game shooting 38.3 percent (18-of-47) from the floor. Nevada outrebounded Hawai`i 43-30 marking the 20th time this season Nevada has either outrebounded or tied its opponent in rebounding.
“At halftime we calmly pointed out to them that we were getting outworked,” head coach Jane Albright said. “We said to them ‘you decide what to do.’ I’m proud of their effort in the second half where they showed great quickness and speed. Our play was really, really unselfish and balanced.”
Nevada will open WAC Tournament play on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. in Lawlor Events Center. A bracket and seeding will be announced tonight after the completion of the regular-season games.