The San Jose State University women's basketball team thwarted the University of Nevada-Reno's attempt at five-straight wins on Thursday at the Event Center, defeating the Wolf Pack 53-48.
"It definitely feels good to be able to come home and close out the WAC play," SJSU coach Janice Richard said. "Nevada has been one of the hottest teams in the WAC lately ... and I just thought our ladies did a great job defensively."
Nevada (12-15, 8-7) came into the game winners of nine of its past 11 games, including a 68-67 upset of Fresno State on Feb. 16, which was then a first-place contender in the Western Athletic Conference. The Wolf Pack now hold the fourth-place spot in the standings.
The Spartans are now 7-8 in conference play and 12-14 overall, making SJSU fifth in the WAC.
At halftime, SJSU was leading 23-16. The Spartans outrebounded the Wolf Pack 22-15 in the half, led by senior forward Lamisha Augustine, who scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds. Though she fouled out with seconds left to play in the second half, she finished the game with 17 points and 17 rebounds.
The Spartans recorded 15 steals to Nevada's nine and outrebounded the Wolf Pack 44-35.
"Those are the types of efforts that get big wins, and tonight was a big win for us," Richard said.
Augustine, who leads the team in blocked shots with 57, set SJSU's all-time single-season record in blocked shots on Feb. 25 against the University of Hawai'i in Honolulu.
The record was previously held by Elinor Banks, who had 55 blocks in the 1979-1980 season.
SJSU sophomore forward Amber Jackson led all scorers with 18 points and added 10 rebounds.
Jackson said that refocusing on defense was how the Spartans were able to defeat the Wolf Pack and turn the two-game losing streak around.
"The past couple of practices we focused on defense especially and working together and finding some team chemistry," Jackson said. "We want to finish the season out strong going into the WAC tournament so we can have a better seed and have a better chance of going further."
Brandi Fitzgerald, a freshman guard, leads the Wolf Pack wih 10.9 points and 2.16 steals per game. She led Nevada with 11 points and six rebounds.
Nevada sophomore forward Meghan McGuire followed with 10 points, which she scored off the bench in 12 total minutes of play.
SJSU junior guard and team co-captain Brittany Morris started her first game ever for the Spartans. She shot 2 for 2 from the free throw line and finished with four points.
Morris agreed that defense was key in the Spartans' win.
"For the past couple of games we haven't been honing in on our defensive skills," Morris said. "But it feels good to get that chemistry back and to get that defense back, because that's what our strength is."
On Saturday at the Event Center, the Spartans finish WAC play with a game against Utah State University (3-22, 2-13). The Aggies are ninth in the conference standings and SJSU will be looking for a season-sweep after defeating the Aggies 63-51 on Jan. 5 in Logan, Utah.
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