Pack women can't keep pace with Aggies in loss

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RENO, Nev. – The Nevada women’s basketball team suffered a 71-59 loss at the hands of Utah State Saturday afternoon at Lawlor Events Center.

Junior Mikayla Christian had arguably her best game in a Wolf Pack (10-17, 6-10 MW) uniform, scoring a team-high 13 points. Her 13 points was the most she has scored this season, finishing 5-of-9 from the field and adding four rebounds and three steals to her game. Freshman Essence Booker was the only other Pack player to reach double figures, adding 10 points. Booker has scored in double figures in back-to-back games and in three of her last four.

The game was decided in the first half as the Aggies (14-14, 9-8 MW) took over the lead with 57 seconds left in the first quarter and never gave it back. Utah State opened the game on a 5-0 run but the Pack quickly tied things up after a 3-pointer by Christian. The quarter went back and forth, with both teams trading leads until Utah State grabbed the lead and held on in the final minute of the quarter.

The second quarter was won by the Aggies as well as they held Nevada to just 16.7 percent shooting in the period. Utah State held the Pack scoreless for over five minutes as it went on a 10-0 run to increase its lead to 15 with 2:47 remaining in the first half. Nevada was able to stop the bleeding a bit before halftime, outscoring the Aggies 6-2 in the final two minutes to trail by 11 at the break.

Nevada had some fight in the third quarter, scoring the opening bucket of the period on an outside jumper by freshman Da’Ja Hamilton. The Pack kept chipping away at the deficit and got on a roll after a triple by Booker at the 6:10 mark cut the lead to five. Utah State was able to stretch its lead back out to double digits with 4:11 to go in the quarter after Rachel Brewster’s free throw made it a 12-point game.

The Wolf Pack found some rhythm after that though as a layup by freshman Amaya West sparked an 8-0 run, capped off by a basket by Christian that cut the deficit to four. Nevada just could not get over the hump as the Aggies finished the third quarter on an 8-0 run of their own to regain a 12-point lead. Utah State kept up its pace in the fourth, not allowing the Pack to get within 10 points.

Nevada will conclude the home portion of its regular season schedule this Monday, March 4 for senior night at 6:30 p.m. against Air Force. The Wolf Pack will honor four seniors following Monday’s game.

Postgame notes
-Nevada dropped to 10-17 overall and is 6-10 in the Mountain West with two regular season games remaining.
-Junior Mikayla Christian led the team and scored 13 points, her career high in a Wolf Pack uniform. She finished 5-of-9 from the field, including two 3-pointers. She added four rebounds and three steals to her day.
-Freshman Essence Booker reached double figures, scoring 10 points. She has scored in double figures in back-to-back games and in three of her last four games.
-Senior Jade Redmon’s streak of scoring in double figures came to an end at 23 games. Redmon finished with eight points.
-Nevada was outrebounded by Utah State 38-29. Freshman Emma Torbert led the Pack on the boards with seven.
-The Pack played even with the Aggies in the second half, but was outscored 35-24 in the first half.
-The all-time series between Nevada and Utah State is now 18-12 in favor of Utah State.
-Nevada has one more home game remaining, this Monday at 6:30 p.m. as it hosts Air Force for senior night. The Pack will honor its four seniors (Jade Redmon, Terae Briggs, Kristin Dearth and Delaney Gosse) after the game.