Nevada women roll by Hornets

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RENO, Nev. – Behind 56.1 percent shooting, the Nevada women’s basketball team downed Sacramento State, 95-68, in the opening game of the 2017 Nugget Classic on Friday afternoon.

The Wolf Pack’s (2-2) 56.1 percent (37-of-66) shooting was the eighth-highest percentage in a single game in program history, the highest since 2010, and led to a season-high 95 points. Nevada posted shooting percentages of at least 44 percent in three of the four quarters, including 76.5 percent (13-of-17) in the first quarter. The Pack’s offensive presence was especially felt in the paint where it outscored the Hornets (0-5), 50-20.

In total head coach Amanda Levens had five of her players reach points in double figures, led by senior Teige Zeller’s career-high 22. This was the first 20-point outing of Zeller’s career and it came on a near perfect night as she hit 8-of-10 from the field and went 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Zeller also added five rebounds and three blocks. Junior AJ Cephas poured in 18 points, senior Halie Bergman added 15 and junior Terae Briggs and sophomore Camariah King contributed 11 points, a career high for King. Senior T Moe had a balanced game with seven points, five rebounds and a team-high seven assists.

Sacramento State came out of the gate with the hot shooting hand, hitting 40.7 percent (11-of-27) of its shots in the first quarter and six three-pointers. The Hornets scored the first bucket of the game and quickly jumped out to a 12-2 lead over Nevada. The Pack chipped away at the deficit however as the quarter went on and trailed by just two after the first 10 minutes of play.

It wasn’t until the 7:03 mark of the second quarter that Nevada grabbed its first lead of the game, a lead it would not relinquish. The Pack poured on the points from that point on and the defense stepped up to hold the Hornets to just seven points total in the second quarter. Sacramento State did not score a single point until the 4:18 mark of the period.

It was all Nevada the remainder of the contest as it took a 49-37 lead into the halftime break and put the game out of reach in the third, outscoring its opponent, 32-20. The Wolf Pack, which ranks 23rd in the nation in three-point shooting percentage put on another strong display from beyond the arc in this one, connecting on 47.1 percent (8-of-17).

Nevada will play either SMU or UC Riverside in the Nugget Classic championship game this Sunday, Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. from Lawlor Events Center.

Postgame notes

-Nevada outscored Sacramento State, 50-20, in the paint and its bench outscored the Hornets’ bench, 49-16.

-Senior Teige Zeller scored a game-high 22 points in the game, the first 20-point game of her career, second game with double digit points this season and 14th game of her career. She also eclipsed 500 points for her career.

-Senior Halie Bergman finished with 15 points, her second consecutive game with points in double figures and the 14th of her career.

-Junior AJ Cephas poured in 18 points, her first game in double figures this season and 19th of her career.

-Junior Terae Briggs also scored in double figures, finishing with 11 points, her team-leading third game in double figures this season and 14th of her career.

-Nevada’s fifth player to reach double figures was sophomore Camariah King, who posted a career-high 11 points and knocked down 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.

-The Wolf Pack connected on 56.1 percent (37-of-66) of its shots from the field, the eighth-most in a single game in program history and highest since it shot 59.3 percent against Arizona in 2010.

-Nevada shot a season-high 60 percent (21-of-35) from the field in the first half, scoring a season-high 49 points.

-Freshman Janelle Sumilong scored the first points of her collegiate career on a layup in the fourth quarter.

-Sophomore, and North Valleys High School product, Sami Dinan and sophomore Kristin Dearth got their first career starts.

-The all-time series between Nevada and Sacramento State now stands at 18-11 in favor of Nevada. The Pack has won 12 straight over the Hornets.