Vandal women fall 75-61 to Nevada

FOR MOST OF THIS WAC QUARTERFINAL GAME the Vandals were in command. They led 36-29 at the half against Nevada, and 51-44 with 11:38 remaining in the game. But over the final minutes of the game the Wolf Pack outscored Idaho 31-10 to post a 75-61 win, ending Idaho's 2011 season. Idaho, without senior Derisa Taleni who was hospitalized earlier in the day, finished 2010-11 with a 15-15 record.

LAS VEGAS: No one wearing the Vandals' black road uniforms offered any excuses. They led 36-29 at the half against Nevada and 51-44 with 11:38 remaining in the game, but over the final minutes of the game the Wolf Pack outscored the Vandals 31-10 to post a 75-61 win, ending Idaho's 2011 season.

Nevada improved to 21-9. Idaho closes the season at 15-15.

The Vandals were without the services of senior Derisa Taleni who was hospitalized earlier in the day. During the course of the game junior guard Ganeaya Rogers was poked in the eye and saw limited action afterwards. Still, the Vandals played solid basketball all over the floor until hitting the wall late in the game. Nevada's Tahnee Robinson had a lot to do with that, scoring 35 points and taking control of the game at both ends of the floor with physical defense and deadly shooting on offense.

Coach Jon Newlee told the media his team came out and did exactly what it needed to do against a Wolf Pack team which had problems with the Vandal offense. "I thought we really came out and played extremely well in the first half, handled the pressure, defended, pretty much like we wanted to. We gave (Tahnee) Robinson some open looks that of course we don't want to give her, but I thought the first half went the way we wanted it to, and really I thought three quarters of the game went the way we wanted it to," Newlee said.

"All the credit in the world to Nevada. They're a great basketball team. They're extremely well coached, and Tahnee Robinson is a great basketball player. She had 24 points in the second half when they beat us by six at home, and she goes for 35 tonight. We knew what she's capable to doing and I'm disappointed that we couldn't stop her. But there are a lot of people who haven't stopped her, and that's why she's the player she is.

"I thought our players really battled and just kept battling. I'm really proud of the way we just hung in there and kept going. I just feel like we ran out of gas. We were depleted obviously with our roster, with Derisa in the hospital and guys banged up and sick, but that's no excuse. (Nevada) didn't have (senior forward) Shavon Moore. I think if we'd had a little extra gas in the tank we would have been right there at the end. I think that's what happened to us.

"I'd like to say I'm proud of our players for the way they played last night and tonight, all season. We had a really good season, and we were really close to having a great season. There were some that were lost right at the end."

Nevada coach Jane Albright also praised the Vandals. "I'd like to congratulate Idaho," she said. "It's unbelievable to me that they did what they did tonight. They had one of their best players, a fierce competitor, in the hospital and they're banged up and they've had some sickness, and for them to come out and battle really says a lot about their character. He's a great coach and they run a lot of great sets. I hate that they were so banged up and kinda sick, but I think a lot of hard things happened to them the last couple days."

Yinka Olorunnife closed out a remarkable four year career with 23 points and 15 rebounds against Nevada, 14 and 10 respectively in the first half. She shattered her own single-season rebounding record with 317 boards to break her existing mark of 310 set two years ago. She too did not offer any excuses for the loss. "I didn't feel fatigued. I think half our team is sick and it is hard playing back to back, but that's what you've got to do to win a tournament; so I think we rebounded," she said, then added "but it caught up with us at the end of the game."

The Vandals rotated seven available players into the game, but Robinson was overwhelming. Trailing by seven with 1!:38 left she scored 9 unanswered points in 1:33 to pace an 11-0 Wolf Pack run. A three from deep in the corner by Bianca Cheever powered the Vandals pack into the lead three minutes later. The teams again swapped leads before Robinson again scored seven straight points to build Nevada's lead to five. The Vandals then started to miss shots that had been falling in the first half, especially point blank in the paint. The committed fouls and Nevada sank 15 of 17 free throws. The Vandals, down by five with 3:01 left, simply did not have enough to finish as were shutout 9-0 the rest of the game.

Alyssa Charlston finished with 12 points and 3 assists, Rachele Kloke finished her Vandal career with 9 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Keri Arendse had 8 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Jessica Graham had 4 points and 3 rebounds, Cheever had 3 points, 2 assists and a rebound in her final game for Idaho, and Rogers added 2 points and 3 assists.

Nevada moves into the tournament semifinals Friday night against #1 seed Louisiana Tech.

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