OREM, Utah – A powerhouse of a third quarter lifted the Nevada women’s basketball team past Utah Valley on Saturday by the final of 60-57.
Trailing by four at halftime, the Wolf Pack (3-0) surged in the third quarter. Nevada recorded its best offensive showing of the game in the third frame, connecting on 60 percent of its shots and outscoring the Wolverines by a 25-11 margin. The turning point in the quarter started at the 6:02 mark when junior Miki’ala Maio hit a 3-point basket to cut the deficit to one, and spark a 13-0 run by the Wolf Pack. The run, which spanned over three minutes, was capped off by back-to-back triples by junior Jacqulynn Nakai and gave Nevada a nine-point lead.
Just a couple of minutes later the Pack pushed its lead out to 13, its largest of the game, after a layup in the paint from sophomore Imani Lacy. By the time the quarter closed, Nevada took a 10-point advantage into the final 10 minutes. The Wolverines did not go down quietly though as the 10-point lead was quickly cut down to five with 8:07 still to be played.
Utah Valley inched closer to retaking the lead as it cut the Pack advantage to just one with 5:56 on the clock. Both teams grinded through a scoring drought over the next two minutes until freshman Alyssa Jimenez drew a foul on a momentum-shifting made 3-pointer. She hit the ensuing free throw to complete the four-point play and put the Pack up by five with 3:31 to play.
The Wolverines kept fighting, trimming the lead back to one on multiple occasions as time ticked away in the final quarter. With under a minute to play, Lacy got a crucial reverse layup to fall that gave Nevada a three-point lead, but Utah Valley answered with a 2-point bucket of its own. The Wolverines had to start fouling and sent sophomore Essence Booker to the line with 17 seconds on the clock, where she hit both. The Pack defense held strong in those final 17 seconds, only allowing a 2-point attempt as time expired, sealing the win.
Booker led Nevada in scoring for the third consecutive game, posting 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including two triples. She added five rebounds and four assists to her day as well. Freshman Dom Phillips reached double figures for the first time in her collegiate career, adding 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Lacy chipped in 10 points and has scored in double figures in all three games this season.
The Wolf Pack is now 3-0 to start the season for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign.
Nevada remains on the road to face the defending Big Sky champions Portland State next Saturday, Nov. 23 at 12 p.m.