San Jose, Calif. - Seniors Ta'Rea Cunnigan, Chereese Thomas and Rebecca Woodberry competed for the final time on Walt McPherson court on Saturday afternoon and went out in style with an 81-72 win over the Nevada Wolf Pack.
The victory ends four-game skid for the Spartans (12-15, 6-10 MW), the longest of the season, assures the team of finishing no worse than ninth in the conference standings, with the possibility of as high as a seventh place finish.
In addition, 12 wins are the most for the program since the 2005-06 squad finished 13-15 and it snapped a three-year run in which San José State ended the season with 11 wins.
Cunnigan led all scorers with 26 points, on 9-of-17 shooting from the field and 6-of-8 from the line. Woodberry had 14 points, five rebounds and a team high three steals. Thomas' five assists and eight rebounds were team-highs and she chipped in eight points.
Cunnigan made the two quick buckets and Nyre Harris scored on a layup as the Spartans jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first two and a half minutes.
Nevada, which shot 49 percent for the half, settled down and had forged a four-point lead, 14-10, at the 14:25 mark. A 9-1 run by San José State, which was started by two of Jasmine Smith's 13 points in the game, put SJSU back in front 19-15 with 12:34 to play before halftime.
The Spartans maintained control of the rest of the half and closed with back-to-back threes from Cunnigan and Thomas to send the SJSU to the locker room up 47-40. Thomas' came after Mimi Mungedi, who led Nevada with 25 points, scored on a layup with eight seconds to go. Thomas took the ball the length of the court and drained her second three of the half as the clock expired.
Three times in the second half Nevada closed to with in two points, but San Jose State would never relinquish its lead.
The Spartans enjoyed their biggest lead of the game, 70-58, with 6:07 to play and looked poised to close out the Wolf Pack. But Nevada (8-19, 4-12 MW) ripped off eight straight points to get to within four points, 70-66, with 3:42 to play.
After Woodberry missed a three-pointer on the next possession, Nevada had a chance to cut the San José State lead even more. However, Woodberry jumped the passing lane, stole the ball and was fouled on her layup attempt. The shot fell and after she sank the free throw the Spartans were back up by seven.
From that point the Woodberry and Cunnigan closed out the game. Cunnigan scored seven of the team's final eight points, including a three-pointer from the corner with 1:18 to play which broke Nevada's back.
San Jose State out rebounded Nevada 44-43 and converted 17-of-24 free throw attempts to the Wolf Pack's 4-of-8. Joining Mungedi in double figure scoring was Ashlee Jones with 15 points. Mungedi had a game-high 14 rebounds, but it was a vast improvement from these two team's game earlier this month when the 6-foot 8-inch Mungedi ripped down an NCAA high 29 boards.
The Spartans play their final two regular season games on the road, beginning with a matchup with Boise State in Boise on Tuesday evening. Tip off from Taco Bell Center is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PT.
Nevada vs San Jose State
02/28/15 2:00 p.m. at San Jose, Calif. (The Event Cnter)
At San Jose, Calif. (The Event Cnter)
SAN JOSE STATE 81, NEVADA 72
NEVADA (8-19, 4-12 MW)
MUNGEDI, Mimi 12-21 1-3 25; JONES, Ashlee 5-12 0-0 15; BURNS, Emily 3-7 1-2
7; LESURE, Nyasha 3-7 0-0 6; CAMERON, Anna 2-6 1-1 6; ZELLER, Teige 3-4 0-0
6; JOHNSON, Aja 2-5 0-0 4; KAELIN, Kelsey 1-3 0-0 2; SHELBOURN, Julia 0-2
1-2 1. Totals 31-67 4-8 72.
SAN JOSE STATE (12-15, 6-10 MW)
0-2 0-0 0. Totals 29-74 17-24 81.
Nevada........................ 40 32 - 72
San Jose State................ 47 34 - 81
3-point goals--Nevada 6-15 (JONES, Ashlee 5-11; CAMERON, Anna 1-1; BURNS,
San Jose State-None. Rebounds--Nevada 43 (MUNGEDI, Mimi 14), San Jose State
44 (Thomas, Chereese 8). Assists--Nevada 19 (BURNS, Emily 6), San Jose State
19 (Thomas, Chereese 5). Total fouls--Nevada 18, San Jose State 14.
Technical fouls--Nevada-None, San Jose State-None. A-734