RENO, Nev. – Johnna Ward led all scorers with a season-high 21 points while Dellena Criner added 17 and Brandi Jones scored 15 as the University of Nevada women’s basketball team beat Boise State 73-65 Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament hosted by Nevada.
Nevada, the third seed in the tournament, improved to 17-13 overall with the win while the sixth-seeded Boise State Broncos fell to 16-15 overall. With the win the Pack advances to Friday’s second semifinal game against the winner of the #2 La Tech, which beat #5 New Mexico State.
Nevada will play at 2:30 p.m. Friday with the winner advancing to Saturday’s championship game.
Shavon Moore recorded her fourth career double-double, and third of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Ward recorded her second career 20-point game and was one point off her career high of 22 points recorded versus Boise State last season. She also tied her career high with five made three pointers.
Wednesday’s game was close throughout as the game featured eight lead changes and six ties and neither team led by more than eight.
In the first half, Nevada jumped out to a quick 10-3 lead with 14:37 left in the half. Boise State went on a 19-6 run to go ahead by eight, 24-16, with 7:28 left in the first half. A jumper by Moore with just over three minutes left in the first half cut Boise State’s lead to two, 26-24. The Broncos went into halftime leading by four, 34-30.
Ward led Nevada at the half with 13 points while Moore led the team at the half with five rebounds. Nevada shot 37.0 percent (10-of-27) from the floor in the first half while Boise State shot 42.9 percent (12-of-28).
In the second half, Nevada took a one-point lead, 46-45, on Jones’ layup with 13:40 left in the game. The Pack extended its lead to five, on a jumper by Ward with 10:14 to play. Boise State went ahead by two, 61-59, before Franklin’s layup with 2:16 left in the game put Nevada up 64-63. Franklin recorded a steal on Boise State’s next possession which led to a layup by Jones to put Nevada up 66-63. Nevada went on an 11-4 run over the last 4:51 of the game to post the 73-65 win.
“The first game of the conference tournament is always the hardest, especially at home,” Nevada head coach Jane Albright said. “I was proud of our defense in the second half. Johnna was unbelievable tonight. Brandi was dominating in the second half and Dellena is our money player. I’m proud of how we won.”
As a team Nevada shot 42.1 percent (24-of-57) from the floor while Boise State shot 42.6 percent (23-of-54). The Pack outrebounded the Broncos 39-29 in the game.