Even with seven-time reigning Sierra Foothill League champion Del Oro looming right around the corner, the Nevada Union girls basketball team wasn’t looking past its Friday matchup with Granite Bay.
The Lady Miners held the Lady Grizzlies to just seven field goals all game as they cruised to a 77-34 victory at Albert Ali Gymnasium.
“Our girls were working their tails off,” NU head coach John McDaniel said. “We said we wanted to send a message, and I think we did. We played amazing defense tonight.”
The Lady Miners forced 24 Granite Bay turnovers, snatched up 18 steals and held the Lady Grizzlies to single digits in three of the four quarters.
Granite Bay scored the majority of its points from the free-throw line, hitting 20-of-28 in the game.
Nevada Union played a balanced offensive game with four players scoring in double figures on a night when every active Lady Miner scored.
Leading NU was senior guard Nicole Lierly with 13 points, including three 3-pointers which all came in the first half.
Sydney Porter bounced back from her worst offensive game of the season with 12 points and three boards. Sophomore standout Sammy DeHart scored 11 points, grabbed four rebounds and blocked four shots. Emma Peterson added 10 points off the bench for NU and nabbed four steals.
“We didn’t want to come out and have a lackluster performance against a team we thought we should beat,” McDaniel said. “I thought we came out strong, and now we’re prepped and ready for Del Oro.”
With the win, the Lady Miners (15-3, 3-0 SFL) are knotted at the top of the conference with Del Oro (12-7, 3-0 SFL), setting up a critical matchup Wednesday in Loomis.
The two teams split their games last season, each winning on the other’s home floor, but Del Oro didn’t drop another game in league, and the Lady Miners fell to Rocklin, giving them two losses in SFL play.
This season, Nevada Union is rolling into the first of two contests with Del Oro as one of the hottest teams in the SFL.
NU is No. 7 in the Sac-Joaquin Section according to the MaxPreps rankings, on a 12-game winning streak and has outscored its SFL opponents this season by an average of 28 points.
Del Oro is No. 18 in the Sac-Joaquin Section, has a three-game winning streak and has outscored its SFL opponents by an average of 19 points.
When the two teams lock horns Wednesday, Del Oro will be without its star player, Brianna Ruiz, due to injury. Ruiz was Del Oro’s leading scorer last season as a junior, averaging 15.1 points per game. The Lady Golden Eagles will likely lean on senior post player Stephanie Geyer, who averages 15.2 points per game and pulls down 8.1 rebounds per game.
“We have the personnel to press and push all night long, and that’s what we’re going to look to do,” McDaniel said of the upcoming matchup with Del Oro. “We are going to defend (Geyer) the same way we do every night. We’re going to front and help a lot and have ball pressure up top to make that inside pass difficult.”
The Lady Miners and Lady Golden Eagles tip off at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Del Oro.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.