It turns out the Nevada women couldn’t.
The Trojans built a quick 8-0 lead and never looked back, ending the Pack’s season with a 78-59 defeat in the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament Sunday afternoon at Lawlor Events Center.
Tahnee Robinson, Nevada’s leading scorer at 22 points per game, erased the goose egg off the scoreboard with a basket at the 17:19 mark of the first half. However, she struggled pushing the action too much, making just two of her first eight shots from the field. She did finish with eight points in the first half.
After a Johnna Ward 10-foot jumper cut the deficit to 11-4 with 16:14 to go before halftime, USC went on a 19-7 run over the next nine minutes to put the game out of reach.
Nevada tried to get back in contention. Ward and Kate Kevorken nailed back-to-back 3-pointers, making it a 32-19 game with 5:27 left in the half. But that was as close as the Wolf Pack could get.
The Trojans enjoyed a 44-26 lead at the break due in part to shooting 50 percent from the field (17-of-34) and by out-rebounding the Pack 19-12. USC also forced 10 Nevada turnovers in the first 20 minutes of play, leading to 15 points.
USC had two players reach double figures in scoring before the first half was done. Jacki Gemelos led all scorers with 13 first-half points, while Cassie Harberts added 10.
Nevada couldn’t get much of a run going after the break. With an 18-point lead, USC was content just trading baskets with the home team.
The Wolf Pack closed the gap to 58-43 on a Megan Cherry free throw with 11:33 to go in the game. But it was all Trojans after that and Nevada was resigned to the fact it would end its first ever 20-win season with a 22-11 record.
USC increased its lead to a game-high 27-point margin, 76-49, with 4:43 remaining. A 10-2 Wolf Pack run to close out the game made the final score a little more respectable.
Gemelos and Ashley Corral led all scorers with 20 points apiece. Harberts finished with 15.
For Nevada, Robinson paced the offense with 19 points, while Kevorken and Ward chipped in 12 and 10 respectively in the losing cause.