The Nevada women’s basketball team nearly erased an 18-point deficit in the final minute of play, but fell to Portland State by the final of 80-75.
The Wolf Pack (3-1) suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of the defending Big Sky champion Vikings (2-3). Despite the loss, Nevada had four players score in double figures led by senior Marguerite Effa. Effa recorded a career-high 19 points and fell just one rebound shy of collecting her second double-double of the season. Sophomore Imani Lacy chipped in a season-high 15 points and is the only Pack player to have scored in double figures in all four games.
Nevada also got double digit contributions from freshman Dom Phillips, who posted her second consecutive 14-point outing. Sophomore Da’Ja Hamilton contributed 11 points, a season-high. The Wolf Pack shared the ball extremely well in the loss, notching a season-best 20 assists, led by four each from junior Miki’ala Maio and freshman Jená Williams.
Nevada held a three-point lead after the opening quarter but was outscored by 10 in the second and trailed 39-32 at halftime. Portland State continued its momentum into the third, shooting 53.3 percent and 8-of-9 from the free throw line to build up a 65-49 advantage. That momentum even carried into the fourth as the Vikings extended their lead to 18, their largest of the game, with 6:45 to play.
A jumper in the paint by Effa kick started the comeback bid for Nevada, but the lead remained double digits until Lacy hit a pair of free throws with under two minutes to play. Those free throws were part of an 11-0 run by the Wolf Pack that spanned over two minutes. The run was capped off by a clutch 3-pointer by Hamilton with 34 seconds on the clock that brought the Pack within two.
Needing to foul though to regain possession, PSU’s Kylie Jimenez was sent to the foul line where she made 1-of-2. Trailing by three with 19 seconds left, Lacy put up a shot that was pushed out of bounds by the Vikings, giving Nevada another shot with nine seconds remaining. Phillips attempted a game-tying 3-pointer that went just wide, sealing the win for Portland State.
Nevada returns home to host the annual Nugget Classic next weekend and will kick off the tournament with a 2 p.m. contest on Friday, Nov. 29 against Chicago State.