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Zoe Malen / Nevada Sagebrush

The Nevada Wolf Pack women’s basketball team returned home on March 5 following a thrilling last second victory in New Mexico on March 2. Four seniors were honored including Gabby Giuffre and Kaylen Banwareesingh, Nevada forwards, and Tiffany Siu and Tori Davis, Nevada guards, as the Pack beat San Jose State 85-62.

The San Jose State Spartans entered the contest coming off an upset win over the Colorado State Rams, but were still tied for last in the Mountain West going into the season finale. 

The Spartans got off to a good start, with Sydni Summers and Sofia Kelemeni, guards, leading San Jose State to a 10-4 lead with 7:00 remaining in the first quarter. After the 6:07 mark, Nevada trailed 12-6, which was tied for the largest deficit the Pack faced. 

With a little over half the quarter remaining, Nevada rattled off nine unanswered points sparked by Davis to gain a 15-12 lead. The Spartans wouldn’t score again until Summers hit a three pointer with 2:33 left in the quarter.

The teams traded baskets until the end of the first quarter, with Dymonique Maxey, Nevada guard, blocking an attempt by Summers at the buzzer to keep the score 19-17 in the Spartans’ favor. 

Nevada started the second quarter strong, with Izzy Sullivan, guard, scoring her first three-point shot of the night followed by a Davis three pointer, both assisted by Maxie. San Jose was held scoreless until the 7:15 mark, when Summers broke the drought to make the score 25-21 Nevada.

Starting with 4:28 remaining in the half, the Pack went on a tear from the three point line, as Sullivan, Maxie and Kaylee Borden, Nevada guard, all knocked down a shot each to put Nevada ahead 37-26 with 3:05 to go. Lexie Givens, forward, scored with a post move with 25 seconds left to make the lead 43-34 at the end of the half. 

Kelemeni led the Spartans with 13 points at the break, while Nevada was led by Maxie and Davis with eight apiece. San Jose State had five three pointers compared to the Wolf Pack’s seven, with six coming in the second quarter.

Both teams got off to a slow start in the second half, with only seven total points being scored until the 4:28 mark in the third quarter.

Banwareesingh quickly answered with a layup, and the game picked up from there. The score was 52-43 with 1:31 remaining after a Kennedy Lee, Nevada forward, layup for the Pack, when a tie-up occurred between Sullivan and multiple Spartans. Nevada had the possession arrow and got the ball back, which led to another bucket for Lee. 

Finally, with the clock winding down Givens stole the ball from Kelemeni, and beat the buzzer with a jump shot putting Nevada up 58-45. 

Nevada wasted no time pulling away in the fourth quarter, using a Sullivan jump shot and two buckets by Givens to build a 65-46 lead with 8:07 left and forcing a San Jose State timeout. 

Nevada’s lead grew to 24 after a Davis three-point shot at 4:14 remaining, making the score 77-53. San Jose cut the lead to 78-63 after a Sabrina Ma, San Jose State guard, three-pointer with only 1:36 remaining. Nevada closed out the game to win 82-65 and secure a fourth place finish in Mountain West play with a 16-15 record. 

The Wolf Pack were able to hold Spartans leading scorer Amhyia Moreland, forward and center, to just four points and forced 20 San Jose State turnovers. 

“Playing connected defense really helps us score well on the offensive end,” said Givens in a press conference after the game.

Nevada went from 57.1 percent, while also shooting an even 50 percent from the field. San Jose State actually shot better from the field at 52.1 percent, but only 38.1 percent from three. Both teams were identical from the free throw line at 77.8 percent, but Nevada had twice as many attempts than the Spartans with 18 compared to nine. 

Kelemeni led the Spartans and all scorers with her season high of 19 points, while Nevada had Givens and Sullivan finish with 15, and Lee providing 14 off the bench. San Jose State had two other players score in double figures, Ma with 14 and Summers with 12.

“They’re really hunting great shots,” Amanda Levens, Nevada women’s basketball team, said. “And they’re not worried about who’s taking the shots.” 

Givens also boosted the Pack with 5 steals, while Maxie had a career high 10 assists. 

With regular season play completed, Nevada now looks toward the Mountain West tournament, where they will play fifth seeded Colorado State on March 11 after securing a first round bye.

“I feel ready,” Davis said after the game. “I feel like a lot of people counted us out, especially coming into this season.”
Andrew Maples can be reached via email or via Twitter @TheBigCountry14

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