Nevada women’s basketball hosted two matches in Lawlor over the week, both against conference rivals. The Pack edged out Colorado State but dropped a tough match against Boise State.
Colorado State, Jan. 29
In one of the Pack’s best offensive performances of the season, Nevada topped Colorado State 74-63 on Wednesday, Jan. 29.
The victory pushes Nevada to 10-11 on the season and 3-7 in conference play. The Wolf Pack have played impressively at home this season, going 8-3 in Lawlor.
On the road, their play hasn’t been as favorable. Nevada has only two victories away from Lawlor, a neutral site win over the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley and a road victory over Utah Valley.
Leading Nevada on the stat line was guard Essence Booker, who continues to be an offensive force for the Pack. Booker scored a team-high of 17 points and snagged four defensive rebounds in the victory. The sophomore from Las Vegas, Nev. is averaging 11.6 points per game.
Booker crossed the 400 career point mark during the victory.
In addition to Booker’s offensive explosion, three other Pack athletes hit double-digit scores on the night. Alyssa Jimenez added 12 points of her own, including six points from deep. Jená Williams finished the night second on the team in scoring, going 6-11 from two-point range and 3-7 from beyond the arc. Imani Lacy rounded out the Pack’s double-digit scorers, ending the night with 13 total points.
As a team, the Wolf Pack shot extremely well, connecting on 50 percent of their shots from the field—a season-high for Nevada.
Nevada came out red hot, going on a 15-4 in the first quarter of play. The run was snapped when the Rams’ Makenzie Ellis drew a foul and was sent to the free-throw line. Ellis hit on both of her free throw attempts, closing the gap to a nine-point Nevada lead.
For the remainder of the quarter, Colorado State and Nevada traded blows. The quarter ended with Rams’ forward Annie Brady hitting a two-point bucket with two seconds left in the first, making it 20-15, Nevada lead.
Thanks to a three-point shot, Nevada struck first in the second quarter. A Jimenez three-point shot connected with 7:19 remaining the quarter. This sparked a 7-4 run in favor of the Pack over the next three minutes.
As the half came to a close, Nevada still held a sizable lead over the Rams. Colorado State’s Jamie Bonnarens hit a two-point shot for the last make of the half, cutting Nevada’s lead to eight.
At the half, Nevada led the Rams 39-31.
To open the second half, Nevada kept their foot on the gas. Senior Marguerite Effa drew the first foul of the half, resulting in three attempts at the free-throw line. Effa connected on all three of her attempts, pushing the Pack’s lead to 11.
The third quarter continued without much give from Nevada’s defense. The Rams were able to claw their way back into the game, down only five with 3:07 left in the quarter. Nevada quickly responded with an Effa made two-point play from inside the paint, pushing the lead back to seven.
As the game entered the fourth quarter, the Rams tried to edge their way back into the game, but to no avail. The Pack’s largest lead of the game came at the 2:04 mark of the fourth. Lacy crashed the glass with a graceful layup, pushing the Pack’s lead to 14.
At the close, Nevada edged out Colorado State, 74-63.
Boise State, Feb. 1
The reigning Mountain West Champions proved to be too much for the Pack as they fell to Boise State, 83-72. With the loss, Nevada slips to 10-12 on the season and 3-8 in conference play.
Despite the disappointing results for Nevada, the Pack played well throughout the contest.
Lead scorer for Nevada was sophomore Imani Lacy, shooting 28 points on the night. 12 of her points came from the free-throw line. She shot 14 attempts from the foul line throughout the night.
Although Nevada shot nearly 54 percent from the floor in the first quarter, the Pack struggled early. In the first five minutes, Boise State came out to an early 10-2 lead.
Nevada began to nip at their heels when Essence Booker drew a three-point play with just under five left in the quarter. She hit on her two-point shot and connected on her and-one attempt, drawing the Pack to within five. The Pack used this momentum to claw back into the game.
At 2:25 mark in the first quarter, Nevada dropped the Boise State lead to just one. Lacy attacked the glass, making it an 11-12 Broncos lead.
Nevada battled hard as the first quarter came to a close, as they began to pull away from their conference rivals, 17-14.
To open the second quarter, Booker hit a jumper from outside the paint, stretching the Pack’s lead to five.
The Pack played solid team basketball throughout the quarter, racking up three assists over that time. This style of selfless play helped Nevada hold the lead over Boise State over the course of the quarter.
With less than 30 seconds to go in the half, Boise State began to bite back at the Pack. The Broncos’ Braydey Hodgins hit a two-point shot in the paint to bring them back to within three points, making it a 36-33 Nevada lead.
Coming out of the half, Nevada was primed to continue their early success. Unfortunately for them, Boise State had other ideas. The Broncos outscored the Pack, 25-13 in the third quarter.
By the time the buzzer sounded at the close of the third quarter, Nevada was behind 49-58.
The Pack’s shooting failed to improve as the game came to a close. In the fourth quarter, Nevada shot 37.5 percent from the field—Boise State shot for 64.7 percent.
As the fourth quarter played out, Boise State kept its foot on the gas. The Broncos held a double-digit lead over the Pack for most of the last quarter.
Nevada fell to Boise State, 72-83. With only seven games left in the season, Nevada will have to play well down the stretch if they want a chance to make a run in the MWC Tournament. This year’s tourney will be held in Las Vegas, Nev. from March 1-3.
Ryan Freeberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SagebrushSports.