Nakai's sharp shooting lifts Nevada over Cal Poly 71-40 in Holt's return
Behind one of its best defensive performances of the season, the Nevada women’s basketball team concluded non-conference play with a 71-40 victory over visiting Cal Poly Saturday afternoon.
The Wolf Pack (7-5, 0-1 MW) led wire-to-wire, grabbing the lead 17 seconds into the game and did not look back. It was quickly all Nevada as the Pack jumped out to a 7-0 lead before the Mustangs (2-8) tallied their first point of the game nearly three minutes in. Nevada didn’t let up in the first, pushing its lead out to double digits after a triple by junior Jacqulynn Nakai stretched the lead to 12. The Pack maintained its double digit lead for the remainder of the first quarter, taking a 21-11 lead into the second.
That momentum was carried into the second period where the Nevada defense was not messing around. The Pack held Cal Poly to just 8.3 percent shooting as the Mustangs made just 1-of-12 from the field and went 0-of-5 from beyond the arc. Cal Poly scored just two points in the second quarter, meanwhile the Wolf Pack posted 15 in that period and recorded its best shooting quarter of the game, hitting 46.7 percent from the floor.
Quarters three and four were played more evenly, but Nevada still managed to outscore its opponent in all four quarters of the game, maintaining a double digit lead throughout. The Pack led in most facets of the game, including assists (19), rebounds (55), steals (10) and made 3-pointers (7). Nevada outscored Cal Poly 24-16 in the paint and got 34 points from its bench.
Junior Nia Alexander posted her first career double-double in the win, scoring a team-high 14 points and grabbing a team-best 10 rebounds. Alexander was perfect from the free throw line, hitting 8-of-8 and added two assists and four steals to her day. Fellow junior Miki’ala Maio also reached double figures, adding 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Nevada was led in the assist department by freshman Jená Williams, who tallied five assists to no turnovers. Sophomore Da’Ja Hamilton also had a strong day in that area, dishing out four assists to one turnover.
Nevada will resume Mountain West play next week with a road contest at Colorado State on Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 6 p.m. PT.