In a physical Sierra Foothill League bout Tuesday night at Albert Ali Gymnasium the Nevada Union girls basketball team protected their home court, as they have all season, defeating Woodcreek, 52-41.
The Lady Miners (17-4, 5-1 SFL) are 7-0 on their own floor this season.
Nevada Union got their usual balanced scoring with Sydney Porter leading the way with 12 points, Nicole Lierly adding 10, and Emma Peterson and Kaylin Martin each chipping in eight.
Right from the start, a defensive tone was set with each team making it hard for the other to score. The Lady Miners frustrated the Lady Timberwolves (11-12, 3-3 SFL) with their full court press, and Woodcreek’s inside defense forced NU to rely on outside shots, which they struggled to hit.
“It was a good battle,” NU head coach John McDaniel said. “It was good for us to have to work hard against Woodcreek,”
NU likes to play a physical style of basketball, said McDaniel, and when it runs up against a team that likes to dish it back, it only makes the Lady Miners more prepared for the playoffs.
“In the playoffs everyone knows it’s one and done,” McDaniel said. “So you know what your going to get, and usually the refs let things go a little more. We love the fact that we are getting tested, its good for us.”
The Lady Miners found a major test Tuesday night in guarding the much taller Woodcreek post players.
A test they passed with flying colors. NU’s post players did a good job of fronting the lanky Lady Timberwolves and then crashing the boards when outside shots missed their mark.
“Their posts are big and physical,” McDaniel said. “We’re not big, but we are physical. Sarina (Orellana), Sammy (DeHart) and Mel (O’Brien) really picked it up.”
O’Brien gave NU a big boost off the bench with seven points and a team-high nine rebounds, including six on the offensive glass and five in the fourth quarter.
“(O’Brien’s) athletic, she’s long, she can jump and you can see what she can do offensively when she took it coast to coast and had an amazing layup there at the end. She’s just an amazing athlete,” McDaniel said.
DeHart finished with four points and six rebounds and Orellana added two points and two rebounds, while battling Woodcreek’s multiple posts.
The Lady Miners jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first behind six points in the first four minutes from Martin, but the Lady Timberwolves came firing back. A pair of 3-pointers and a lay up brought the game to 13-10 after one.
In the second, NU gave itself some breathing room with a 3-pointer from Emma Peterson followed by buckets from Orellana and DeHart.
After Woodcreek brought he score to 22-16 with a pair of free throws, Lierly made a swooping layup and Porter drilled a three-pointer to give NU the 27-16 halftime edge.
In the third, Porter got things going with an amazing layup. Porter was flying full speed at the basket when she received the pass and had the slightest angle to get it in.
The fast-break bucket conjured a roar from the impressed home crowd.
Porter would make another lay in, Peterson sank another 3-pointer, DeHart hit a Jumper and O’Brien hit three free throws to give NU a 13-point lead headed to the fourth.
In the final quarter, NU never let Woodcreek back within single digits as they staved off the Timberwolves, 52-41.
The Lady Miners travel Thursday to take on Rocklin with just four games left in the season.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.