by Stone Harper
Going into the season, the Wolf Pack had conference- championship expectations. Rightfully so after Nevada returned three starters from a team that won 18 games and made it to the Mountain West Tournament semi-finals in 2014.
However, things haven’t gone to plan midway through the year thanks in part to a tough schedule and injuries to key players en route to its 6-9 (2-2 MW) mark.
Before reaching its conference slate, the Wolf Pack went through hell and high water facing two nationally ranked teams — losing 76-54 to then- No. 14 California and a 73-50 shellacking at the hands of then-No. 16 Oregon State.
Perhaps the most costly, though, has been a bad case of the injury bug. Point guard Terilyn Moe is out for the remainder of the season after tearing her ACL. Earlier this season, Moe recorded the pro- gram’s first-ever triple-double
in the season opener against UC Santa Barbara. The Wolf Pack is also without Emily Burns who was lost for the season. Burns was third on the team in scoring just under nine points per game and was second on the team in rebounds at seven.
However, this season has not all been grim for the Wolf Pack. Nevada has a few quality wins on its resume including a victory over Portland and a 71-62 triumph against bitter rival UNLV on Jan. 7.
In light of of the injuries, senior Aja Johnson stepped up. She is fourth on the team in scoring with 7.5 points per game. Her coming-out party this season was against UNLV, where she scored a season-high 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Johnson is not the only player to flourish in her new role. Sophomore Ashley Jones has stepped up as of late and is currently averaging 6.5 points per game, which is tied for fifth on the team.
There are also familiar faces that have had great seasons. Center Mimi Mungedi is second on the team in scoring with 12.8 points per game and is leading the team in rebounds at eight per game. She remains an imposing defensive presence averaging 2.7 blocks per game and is a strong candidate to repeat as MWC Defensive Player of the Year.
While the Wolf Pack has not had the season it has hoped for, there is still plenty of time for a turnaround. With 14 more games left, Nevada’s preseason goal of a MWC Championship is still within its grasp.
Stone Harper can be reached at email@example.com. edu or on Twitter @StoneHarperNVSB.