A 44-point second half helped lead the Nevada women’s basketball team to an 80-76 road win at San José State Saturday afternoon.
The Wolf Pack (12-12, 5-8) earned its second consecutive road win this afternoon, after defeating the Mountain West’s second place team in the Spartans (15-8, 9-3 MW). It also marked Nevada’s second win in a row when trailing at halftime as the Pack trailed at Air Force by six on Wednesday and by four this afternoon against the Spartans.
It was a 25-16 advantage in the second quarter that put San José State in a position to take the lead into halftime. Nevada came out swinging though in the third quarter and quickly erased the deficit. A 10-2 run that spanned just a minute and a half, and was capped off by an and-one three-point play by sophomore Essence Booker, put the Wolf Pack ahead by one, its first lead of the third quarter. It was a back-and-forth affair for the remainder of the quarter as neither side held more than a three point lead. The Spartans were the ones though with a two-point edge heading into the fourth.
The final quarter was also played extremely tight, with neither team gaining more than a four point lead, and even that was not until the final minute of play. A jumper by Booker on the Pack’s first possession of the quarter evened things up early on, but SJSU answered on the other end to regain a two-point cushion. The Wolf Pack and Spartans continued to trade basket after basket for much of the remainder of the period.
It wasn’t until under the two minute mark where things started to get slightly spaced out. With 1:49 to play, sophomore Amaya West hit a pair of free throws that pushed the Nevada lead to three. SJSU’s Tyra Whitehead was then sent to the foul line as well, where she made one of two, shrinking the lead to two. On the ensuing Nevada possession, junior Miki’ala Maio nailed a clutch jumper with 1:04 on the clock to extend the Pack’s lead to four. The Spartans again got two points from the foul line, but sophomore Imani Lacy also came up clutch with the shot clock expiring, hitting a six-foot jumper to push the lead back out to four with 21 seconds on the clock. The Nevada defense came up big on the Spartans next possession, forcing a turnover that all but sealed the win for the Wolf Pack.
Booker led the Pack in scoring for the fourth time in the last five games, totaling 14 points. She added two rebounds, two steals and tied her season high of five assists as well in the game. Scoring was fairly balanced for Nevada, which had four players score in double figures and all nine who played score at least six points. Senior Marguerite Effa added 13 points and led the team with seven rebounds, junior Nia Alexander chipped in 11 points and Lacy scored 10.
Nevada returns home next Wednesday, Feb. 12 for a 6:30 p.m. Silver State Series matchup against in-state rival UNLV in a blackout game.