Nevada Women Basketball Defeats Air Force in Mountain West Opener, 67-54
RENO, Nev. – Nevada sophomore Emily Burns powered the Wolf Pack to a 67-54 win over Air Force in the team's Mountain West opener Wednesday evening at Lawlor Events Center.
With the win, Nevada improves to (6-8, 1-0 MW) on the season while Air Force drops to (1-13, 0-1 MW). Head coach Jane Albright is now 3-2 in conference openers at Nevada.
Nevada got out to an 11-6 lead over Air Force with some strong post play by sophomore Emily Burns and freshman Nyasha LeSure. The two combined for eight points in the game's first several minutes. Sophomore Kelsey Kaelin gave the Wolf Pack a 19-10 lead with a made jumper at the 7:21 mark. A basket by Burns supplied Nevada its first double-digit lead of 25-14 with four minutes to go before halftime. Air Force guard Alicia Leipprandt responded with four points to get within seven of Nevada. The Wolf Pack went into the break with a 31-22 lead, shooting 41.2 percent from the field. Junior Danika Sharp led Nevada at the half with seven points.
Air Force cut the deficit to four at 32-28 on a basket by Camille Thompson to start the second period. A three-pointer by Burns extended Nevada's lead to 42-31 with 14:21 on the clock. The Falcons answered back, getting within three points of the Wolf Pack at 44-41 near the midway point. Nevada stretched its lead to 50-44 on another shot from downtown by Burns. Two free throws by Falcons forward Missy Byrd got Air Force down by two at 54-52. A layup by LeSure and two free throws by Burns pushed Nevada's lead to 58-52 with a minute to go. The Wolf Pack hit 7-8 from the free throw line down the stretch to pick up a 67-54 win in its first Mountain West game.
Burns led Nevada with 16 points and 12 rebounds for her fourth career double-double. The point total is a career high for Burns, passing her previous high of 13 that was set earlier this season against Cleveland State. Junior Arielle Wideman added 15 points, six assists, and four steals. Junior Danika Sharp pitched in 13 points and five assists. The Wolf Pack held the Falcons to 26.9 percent shooting from the field. Freshman Nyasha LeSure had eight points and eight rebounds.
The Wolf Pack will travel to Laramie, Wyo. to face the Cowgirls Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.