A game high 25 points by Danika Sharp and a career high 18 points from Mimi Mungedi, propelled the University of Nevada women’s basketball team to an 80-66 win over Air Force in a first round game of the 2013 Mountain West Women’s Basketball tournament at Thomas and Mack Center.
With the win, Nevada improves to (8-22, 2-14 MW) on the season and will face the number one-seeded San Diego State Aztecs Thursday at noon. The victory is the first Mountain West tournament win for the school. Air Force drops to (4-26, 3-13 MW) with the loss.
“I am extremely proud of my team,” head coach Jane Albright said. “They came out with a lot of energy tonight. Danika and Mimi both played great and it was a total team effort. The team really grew up tonight and bounced back from a tough regular season.”
Air Force opened the game with a 17-11 lead over Nevada. Wolf Pack senior Mimi Mungedi was active for the Wolf Pack in the post, scoring six early points in the key for the team. Alicia Leipprandt’s basket near the midway point gave the Falcons a double-digit lead of 24-14. Nevada guard Danika Sharp knocked down a three-pointer with seven minutes left in the half to cut the deficit down to 24-21. Sharp’s fourth made shot from beyond the arc pulled Nevada within one point of Air Force at 33-32 with 1:52 on the clock. Wolf Pack freshman Julia Shelbourn’s layup gave the team a 34-33 lead on the following possession. The Falcons led at halftime 37-36. Sharp had 14 first half points.
Nevada raced out of the break on a 7-0 run to lead Air Force 43-36. Austyn Wilson scored six consecutive points for the Falcons to cut the deficit to two at 45-43 with 15:24 to play. Leipprandt tied the game at 49-49 with a basket at the 12:25 mark. Emily Burns hit one of two shots from the charity stripe to break the tie. Mungedi tied her career high of 14 points on a made free throw to give Nevada a 53-52 lead with 10 minutes left in the game. Mungedi’s basket in the key at the 4:20 mark stretched the Wolf Pack lead to 62-56. Two free throws from Sharp extended the Nevada lead to 69-58 with 1:20 on the clock. The Wolf Pack defense held off the Falcons to win the game 80-66.
Sharp finished the game with 25 points, seven assists, and four steals. Mungedi added 18 points and six rebounds. Mungedi eclipsed her previous career high of 14 points that was set earlier this season in a game against Cleveland State. Aja Johnson had 13 points and six rebounds.
The Wolf Pack outrebounded the Falcons 45-32. Nevada excelled in second chance opportunities, holding an 18-4 advantage over Air Force.
Sharp connected on four three-pointers, tying a first round record. Prior to tonight’s game, three separate players connected on four three-pointers in a first round game; most recently by Utah’s Iwalani Rodrigues vs. UNLV on Mar. 8, 2011. With 19 assists, Nevada set a first round record for most assists in a game. The previous mark was 18, set by Colorado State against Air Force on Mar. 8, 2011.