Pack captures Nugget Classic title

By  | 

RENO, Nev. – Five members of the Nevada women’s basketball team scored in double figures for the second straight game as the Wolf Pack defeated SMU, 80-72, on Sunday to capture the Nugget Classic title.

This is the Wolf Pack’s (3-2) first Nugget Classic championship since it defeated North Carolina State and San Diego State en route to the tournament title in 2010. Senior Halie Bergman was named the Nugget Classic Tournament MVP after she poured in 16.0 points per game, added 11 rebounds and 10 assists to just one turnover. For the weekend she connected on 54.2 percent (13-of-24) of her shots from the field, including 6-of-13 from beyond the arc.

Senior Teige Zeller and junior AJ Cephas both earned a spot on the Nugget Classic All-Tournament team as well. Cephas barely missed all weekend, shooting 70.8 percent (17-of-24) of her shots and collected 17 rebounds, 10 of which came on the offensive end. Zeller also posted solid numbers with two games in double figures, including a career high 22 during Friday’s win over Sacramento State.

In Sunday’s win over SMU (3-4) Nevada kept very good care of the basketball, turning it over just eight times. The eight turnovers are tied for the second-lowest in a single game in program history and the lowest since 2012. The Wolf Pack combined for 24 assists, its highest in a single game since 2012, for one of its best assist to turnover ratios in years. Bergman led the wave of assists with a career-high six.

Nevada did suffer from the free throw line on Sunday, making just 5-of-11 from the charity stripe to SMU’s perfect day, going 11-of-11. However, the Wolf Pack made up for it by hitting nine threes and shooting 46.5 percent (33-of-71) from the field. Junior Jade Redmon aided in the Pack’s strong shooting percentage, knocking down 60 percent (6-of-10) of her shots to claim a new career high with 14 points. She also added five assists and did not turn the ball over. Senior T Moe added 13 points in the win.

The Wolf Pack took a slim four-point lead into halftime but came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter. Nevada outscored the Mustangs 28-13 in the third to take a 63-44 lead into the final quarter. In that third period the Pack sunk five three-pointers, including three from sophomore Camariah King and one that swished in at the buzzer. The Mustangs gave the Pack a fight in the fourth, outscoring the home team 28-17 but did not get any closer than nine points.

Nevada welcomes the No. 1 team in the nation, UConn, to Lawlor Events Center this Tuesday at 6 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS Sports Network. For tickets, call (775) 348-PACK or visit Ticket prices will increase on gameday.