Balanced effort leads Nevada past SDSU

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RENO, Nev. – Snapping a two-game slide, the Nevada women’s basketball team took down visiting San Diego State Wednesday night by the final of 74-69.

A very physical game trickled down to the play by the Wolf Pack (9-15, 5-8 MW) in the second quarter. Nevada trailed the Aztecs (10-14, 5-8 MW) 23-18 after one quarter of play and then went on a roll in the second. SDSU’s Naje Murray hit a 3-pointer to open scoring in the period at the 9:33 mark, Zayn Dornstauder hit a jumper with 5:31 left in the quarter, and that was all the scoring from the Aztecs in that 10 minutes stretch.

Nevada took advantage of its strong defense and missed opportunities by San Diego State to storm back from an eight-point deficit. The Pack caught up to the Aztecs with 2:41 left in the frame after a good jumper by freshman Essence Booker brought Nevada within one. Fellow rookie Amaya West gave the Wolf Pack the lead, a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the game, on the ensuing possession. Nevada scored six more points to close out the quarter and head into halftime with a 35-28 lead after outscoring the Aztecs 17-5 in the second.

San Diego State did not go away quietly though. After junior Camariah King opened the third quarter with a triple, SDSU’s Mallory Adams answered with a long ball of her own as the Aztecs started to chip away at the lead. Nevada pushed its lead to 10, its largest of the game, with 6:32 to play in the period after a layup in the paint by freshman Imani Lacy. For the next 5:13, San Diego State went on a 14-6 run that cut the lead to two points, but King hit a running jumper with just seconds left in the quarter that swung some momentum back Nevada’s way heading into the fourth.

The fourth quarter was about as back and forth as any of the previous periods. While they never regained the lead, the Aztecs hung around and were in this one until the end. The Wolf Pack did start to give itself some breathing room around the 6:48 mark when junior Kristin Dearth’s layup pushed the lead back out to nine. However, SDSU continued to fight, getting the deficit back down to three, before senior Jade Redmon extended the Pack’s advantage to eight with 3:37 to go. The Aztecs had one more run at the lead, bringing it to a three-point game with 2:13 left before three straight points by Booker and two free throws by Redmon put the advantage at eight points with just 30 seconds to play, ultimately sealing the win for Nevada.

Nevada was strong on the glass in the win, outrebounding San Diego State 42-32, led by 10 from senior Terae Briggs. Briggs posted her ninth double-double of the season, adding 10 points. Redmon led all scorers with a season-high 21 points, going 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Redmon also added five rebounds, four assists and three steals to her night. Booker also reached double figures with 11 points, one shy of tying her career high. Nine of the 10 Pack players who saw time on the floor scored, including King and Lacy who each fell just one point short of reaching double figures.

Nevada hits the road for its next two contests starting with a weekend trip to Fresno, Calif. to take on Fresno State this Saturday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.

Postgame notes
-Nevada snapped a two-game slide with a 74-69 home win over San Diego State to improve to 9-15 overall and 5-8 in the Mountain West.
-Nevada outscored San Diego State 17-5 in the second quarter to take a seven-point halftime lead.
-Senior Jade Redmon led all scorers with a season-high 21 points, her third 20-point game of the season. She finished 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Redmon added five rebounds, four assists and three steals to her night.
-Senior Terae Briggs posted her ninth double-double of the season in the win with 10 points and 10 rebounds. She also eclipsed 900 points in her Wolf Pack career.
-Freshman Essence Booker recorded 11 points, scoring for the first time in five games. It was the most points she’s scored in a game since she also scored 11 at Utah State on Jan. 2.
-Essence Booker also became the fourth scholarship freshman to reach 100 points this season.
-Nevada dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Aztecs 42-32.
-Nine of the 10 Wolf Pack players to see the floor scored in the game.
-Nevada’s 11 turnovers were tied for its third-lowest of the season.
-Head coach Amanda Levens earned the 70th win of her career.
-The all-time series between Nevada and San Diego State is now 11-10 in favor of the Wolf Pack.