RENO, Nev. – In the Nugget Classic Championship game, the Nevada women’s basketball team suffered an 80-65 loss to Stephen F. Austin.
The difference maker in the game was the second quarter of play, where the Ladyjacks (4-2) outscored the Wolf Pack (4-2) by a 23-13 margin. Outside of the second frame it was a tight knit game with the Pack being outscored by just five in the remaining three quarters.
It was Nevada that took control early in the contest, starting the game on a 13-4 run and hitting its first six shot attempts that forced SFA to call a timeout at just the 7:22 mark of the first. That timeout sparked a run of their own for the Ladyjacks however as they marched all the way back to tie the game at 15 and then grabbed their first lead of the game with 3:02 left in the period. The remainder of the quarter was back and forth as sophomore Essence Booker hit a mid-range jumper as time expired to bring the Pack within one, 25-24.
The second frame was a much different story as Stephen F. Austin embarked on a 13-2 run near the midway point of the period that pushed its lead out to double figures for the first time. Booker hit another jumper with 5:24 on the clock that got the Pack within 10 and sparked some life back into the Silver & Blue. That jumper was the beginning of a 9-0 run by Nevada, which included an and-one play from freshman Jená Williams, and was capped off by a pair of free throws by fellow rookie Dom Phillips. Those two points from the foul line brought the Pack to just a three-point deficit with 2:37 to play until halftime. It was the quarter of runs though as six quick points from SFA pushed the lead back out to nine with just over a minute before the break. The Ladyjacks added two free throws in the final minute to take an 11-point lead into the break.
The rest of the game was played fairly evenly as Nevada was only outscored by four the rest of the way, but could not get enough momentum going to chip into the deficit much. The closest the Pack would get to trimming the lead was nine points early in the third quarter. Stephen F. Austin did what it had to do in order to keep the Wolf Pack down by a double digit margin the rest of the game.
Sophomores Imani Lacy and Essence Booker were named to the Nugget Classic All-Tournament team for their play this weekend. Lacy led the Pack in scoring on Sunday, totaling a season-high 17 points. She was stellar from the free throw line, hitting 90 percent of her shots, a single-game career-high. Booker tallied 15 points in today’s loss, hitting two triples and added four assists. Junior Nia Alexander also scored in double figures, adding 10 points.
Nevada will open Mountain West play when it hosts Air Force in the Virginia Street Gym this Saturday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. Admission to that game is free.
2019 Nugget Classic All-Tournament Team
Bethany Carstens - Chicago State
Ila Lane - UC Santa Barbara
Imani Lacy - Nevada
Essence Booker - Nevada
Marissa Banfield - Stephen F. Austin
Tournament MVP - Aiyana Johnson (Stephen F. Austin)