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Zoe Malen/The Nevada Sagebrush

The Wolf Pack women’s basketball team returned home on Feb. 14 and successfully built on their away victory to Air Force, narrowly outlasting the San Diego State Aztecs 72-71. Entering the game San Diego State had a conference record of 7-5, just one spot ahead of Nevada who sat at 6-5, in Mountain West Conference standings. 

Nevada started off slowly, locked in a close game with the Aztecs, who began employing a press defense with four minutes remaining in the first quarter. This was followed by a pair of jump shots by Izzy Sullivan, Nevada guard, and a three-pointer by Lexie Givens, forward, to put the Pack up 11-6. 

Nevada finished the quarter off strong with two offensive rebounds by Givens, which gave Nevada free throws, landing them in the lead: 19-11. After, Givens beat the first quarter buzzer with a layup assisted by Audrey Roden, Nevada guard, to give the Pack a 23-13 lead.

Nevada kept their foot on the gas at the start of the second quarter, trading baskets with Megan Fiso and Jazlen Green, San Diego State guards, before a 6-0 run gave the Pack a 35-19 lead with 5:58 to go. Green scored an and-one layup for San Diego State, before a three point shot by Gabby Giuffre, Nevada forward, restored the 16-point lead at 38-22. The Pack ended the half on a high note with another buzzer beater; this time by Dymonique Maxey, guard, with Nevada now at a halftime lead with 44-30. 

Nevada shot 5-10 from three in the first half and had 11 assists compared to San Diego State’s 0-3 performance from three with only five assists. Givens led the Pack with 11 points, while Green had eight for the Aztecs. 

San Diego State started off strong in the second half, going on a 6-0 run led by Abby Prohaska, guard, that forced a Nevada timeout. Out of the timeout, Roden hit a jumper to break the Aztecs’ run and make the score 46-36 with 7:40 remaining in the third. Jada Lewis, San Diego State guard, responded with a three right afterwards to make it 46-39. 

The two teams traded blows throughout the quarter, including a scramble for a loose ball which led to a layup by Green for the Aztecs to pull within five. A late score by Roden with 44 seconds remaining made the Wolf Pack lead 58-55 in the final 10 minutes of play.  

Roden came out shooting once again, giving Nevada a seven point lead at 60-53 early in the fourth. Lewis then answered right back with a three pointer. However, the Pack went on a 6-0 run right after, featuring a block and fastbreak layup by Maxey, to put the score at 66-58. A three point shot by Prohaska started an 8-0 run by the Aztecs which tied the game at 66 following free throws by their leading scorer, Adryana Quezada, forward. 

A Sullivan three point shot broke the drought for Nevada at 3:36 to put them up 69-66. Shortly after, Lewis answered with a tough three point shot for the Aztecs, before Roden made her own contested three pointer to give the Pack a three point lead 72-69 with only 1:56 to go. Both teams missed shots before Quezada scored for San Diego State to cut the lead to just one, 72-71 with 33 seconds left. 

After a timeout, Tori Davis, Nevada guard, brought the ball up the court hoping to seal the win. With the clock winding down, she passed to Sullivan who missed the layup. Kaylee Banwareesingh, Nevada forward, got the offensive rebound, but missed the put back attempt. 

San Diego State had one last chance in the last seven seconds, but ultimately couldn’t get a shot off. Nevada held on to win an exciting game 72-71. 

Roden finished as Nevada’s leading scorer with 19 points. Nevada also had two other players in double figures, Sullivan with 13 points and Givens with 11. Banwareesingh led the team with 12 rebounds, while Davis had three steals to help the Pack win. 

San Diego State finished with four players in double figures, as Quezada led them with 15 points. 

“It was a lot of fun, I had fun being out there with my team,” said Banwareesingh after the game. “We really locked in the last three minutes.” 

San Diego State actually shot better, finishing 52.1% from the field compared to Nevada only shooting 36.4%. The difference however was three point shooting, as the Pack finished 7-14 from behind the line, while San Diego State shot 4-10. 

“We knew it was gonna be an inside out game,” said Roden. “Keeping them off the glass was really an x-factor in this game.”

Nevada did a good job on the boards, finishing with 38 total rebounds, including out-rebounding San Diego State 16-2 in offensive rebounds. Another key factor was turnovers, where Nevada forced 14 on the Aztecs and only gave it away 10 times.

Despite getting out gunned by San Diego State, they finished with very similar free throw numbers. With Nevada shooting 17-24 for 70.8%, while San Diego State went 17-23 for 73.9%. 

“Fortunately, we had a big enough lead to be able to hang on,” Amanda Levens, Nevada women’s basketball head coach, said in a press conference after the game. “Defensively, we didn’t do exactly what we were supposed to, so we’ll work on that.”

Up next for the Wolf Pack women are the Boise State Broncos at home on Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. 

Andrew Maples can be reached via email or via Twitter @TheBigCountry14.

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