Freshman Johnna Ward's layup with seven seconds remaining in the second half tied the game at 70-70 and Nevada outscored New Mexico State 13-6 in overtime as the University of Nevada women's basketball team beat New Mexico State 83-76 Saturday night.
With the win the Pack improves to 14-5 overall and 5-1 in the WAC while the Aggies fell to 14-5 and 4-2 in the WAC.
New Mexico State opened the game on a 7-0 run and led by as many as 14, 24-10, with 12:19 remaining in the first half. Nevada closed the gap to seven points on eight occasions in the first half as the Aggies took a 43-36 lead at the half. Nevada guard Dellena Criner played only four minutes in the first half after picking up two quick fouls.
Nevada shot 37.1 percent (13-of-35) from the floor in the first half while New Mexico State shot 46.4 percent (13-of-28) from the field.
A three-pointer by Criner with 16:56 remaining in the second half cut the Aggies' lead to two, 45-43. New Mexico State went up by as many as nine, 56-47, with 12:50 left in regulation. A jumper by Mikail Price tied the game for the first time at 64-64 before a basket by Bre`Anna Henry gave Nevada a 65-64 lead for its first lead of the game.
A three-pointer by New Mexico State's Madison Spence with 53 seconds left in regulation put the Aggies up by two, 70-68, before Ward's layup with seven seconds remaining tied the game at 70-70.
Eleven of the 13 points the Pack scored in overtime were from the free throw line. Marianne Lombardi scored Nevada's only field goal in overtime, giving Nevada a 77-76 lead with 41 seconds left in overtime. A pair of free throws from Criner with five seconds left sealed the win for the Pack as Nevada posted its ninth straight win at home this season.
"The girls battled tonight and I am so proud of them," head coach Kim Gervasoni said. "We played poorly early on but people stepped up. Johnna did a great job at the point. I hope people see the composure this team has, this team is showing a lot of character. We're going to enjoy the win tonight and then get ready for Fresno State on Thursday."
The Pack ended the game shooting 35.5 percent (22-of-62) from the floor and 79.5 percent (35-of-44) from the line. The Aggies finished the game shooting 44.3 percent (27-of-61) from the field. New Mexico State outrebounded Nevada 48-35 in the game.
Price, who scored a team-high 20 points including 16-of-18 from the free throw line, led five Nevada players in double figures. Cherlanda Franklin added a career-high 17 points, while Criner scored 14. Ward and Henry came off the bench to score 11 and 10 points respectively. Franklin and Henry each added a team-high six rebounds.
"New Mexico State is a team that gave us a battle," Franklin said. "We didn't give up and our team plays with so much heart."
The win marked the 200th home victory in program history.
Nevada will travel to Fresno, Calif. to face the Fresno State Bulldogs on Thursday at 7 p.m. The Pack will return home on Feb. 2 to host Utah State at 7 p.m.