Vikings women’s basketball hands Nevada first loss of season
Portland State women’s basketball ended their three-game losing streak with a narrow victory over previously undefeated University of Nevada on Nov. 24. Four players scored in double figures for the Vikings as they held off a late Nevada scoring run to earn their second win of the season 80-75.
Coach Lynn Kennedy knew the “young players needed to step up to the moment.” The pressure was on for the Vikings to get a win, and Nevada put up a fight until the very end. Nevada entered the Pavilion riding a three-game winning streak heading into the game. Nevada’s women’s basketball team has not had a 3-0 start since the 2010-11 season, and a win against PSU would have been a feat not accomplished since the ‘80s.
The first quarter got off to a fast start, with both teams scoring early and often. Each team led by as many as five points before Nevada eventually closed out the quarter with a three-point lead, 23-20. The second quarter saw PSU kick into gear, opening the quarter on a 17-4 run to claim a 10-point lead, 37-27. The Vikings defense tightened up significantly in the second, allowing just nine points in the quarter. By halftime, the Vikings led with 39 points to Nevada’s 32.
PSU’s lead grew to 16 points at the end of the third quarter. The Vikings continued their impressive performance on the defensive end, forcing five Nevada turnovers that led to nine points for PSU. To cap off an aggressive quarter of play, junior guard Labrea Denson nailed a buzzer-beating field goal to give the Vikings their largest lead of the game to that point, with the score at 65-49.
The fourth quarter was when Nevada made their comeback attempt. Trailing by 18 points with 6:45 left in the game, Nevada went on a 22-6 run over the next six minutes to pull within two points (77-75) with just 34 seconds remaining.
With their double-digit lead suddenly vanished, the Vikings fans sat at the edge of their seats as Nevada drew up a play for a three-point attempt that could tie the game. With just four seconds remaining, Nevada freshman forward Dom Phillips attempted a three-point shot that came up just short and Vikings secured the rebound. Kylie Jimenez knocked down back-to-back free throws to secure a much-needed win for the Vikings, 80-75 over the Nevada Wolf Pack.
The Vikings’ top two scorers were sophomore Desirae Hansen with 17 points and junior Tatiana “Tots” Streun with 15. Streun was the Vikings’ leading rebounder, while teammate Kylie Jimenez led the team with seven assists.
With the Big Sky Tournament still four months away, the Vikings will have some time to solidify their lineup as the season continues. When asked how they feel about their chances this year with such a young team, Streun pointed out that their growing pains are the same experienced by most, “a lot of teams have lost a lot of seniors,” Streun said.
Despite the fact that PSU has lost several seniors, a hard-fought win like this over an undefeated Nevada team could be just what the Vikings need to grow as a team and gear up for the rest of the season.