Wahine Basketball: Nevada 77 Hawaii 62

Nevada hands Hawaii their first conference loss of the season.

RENO, Nev.--Nevada used a strong first-half performance to defeat Hawaii, 77-62, Monday night at the Lawlor Events Center. The Rainbow Wahine dropped to 3-8 overall and 1-1 in the WAC with their first conference loss of the season.

It was just the second win of the season for the Wolf Pack who improved to 2-10 overall and 1-1 in the WAC. The Rainbow Wahine, who picked up a big win at Fresno State on Saturday, have yet to win back-to-back games this season. The loss also snapped UH's three-game road win streak in regular season WAC games, dating back to last year.

An inspired Nevada squad jumped out early and never looked back. UH took a 4-2 lead two minutes into the game, but after that it was all Wolf Pack. Nevada used a pair of runs to break it wide open. Nevada scored 10 straight points to take a double-digit lead, then went on a 17-6 run to end the half. The Wolf Pack took a commanding 43-23 lead at the half.

Nevada shot 51 percent in first half, including a sizzling 7-of-11 from behind the arc. UH did not help its cause, shooting just 26 percent and missing close to half of its free throw attempts (8-15). The Rainbow Wahine, who entered the game as the WAC's top free-throw shooting team at better than 71 percent, converted just 55 percent for the game, missing 15 attempts (18-of-33), including numerous front-end opportunities.

UH made one final push, led by senior April Atuaia, who scored a game-high 16 points. Atuaia's free throws with four minutes left cut the lead to 12 points, but that would be as close as it would get. April Bankston scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half to thwart the Rainbow Wahine comeback. Jocelyn Mancebo led Nevada with 16 points and hit four of Nevada's nine 3-pointers.

Amy Sanders added a season-high 10 points as did Jade Abele, who scored in double-digits for the ninth straight game. Abele gathered a team-high seven rebounds, but was held seven points below her average after missing eight of her 10 free throw attempts.

Hawaii looks to rebound against San Jose State in the final game of a three-game road trip on Thursday, January 8. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. Hawaii time.

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