Nevada's season ends in MW quarters after strong showing with Fresno State

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – In the quarterfinals of the 2020 Air Force Reserve Mountain West Championship, the eighth-seeded Nevada women’s basketball team hung with No. 1 Fresno State but ultimately fell by the final score of 75-71.

The Wolf Pack (15-16) was in the whole game against the top-seeded Bulldogs (24-6), and was only outscored in the first quarter. With the score knotted up at 9 midway through the opening 10 minutes, Fresno State turned on the offense and built up a seven-point lead with under a minute to go. The Pack was able to get a fast break layup from sophomore Imani Lacy with 30 seconds on the clock to cut the deficit to five, but that quarter proved to be the difference maker in the game.

Nevada and Fresno State were dead even in the next two quarters, each totaling 16 points in the second and 19 points in the third. With 2:24 left in the third though it appeared as if the Bulldogs were going to start to pull away from the Wolf Pack as they increased their lead to 11. Nevada would not go away quietly as sophomore Da’Ja Hamilton knocked down a key 3-pointer on the next possession to keep the Pack in the game. Hamilton scored four more points for Nevada in the remainder of the quarter to bring her team within five at the end of the third.

In the final quarter of play, the Wolf Pack made multiple runs at the Bulldogs but as soon as Nevada would get within three or five points, Fresno State would hit a key shot to keep itself ahead. The Pack got within three points of the lead four times throughout the period but could not break through any closer. After a layup by Lacy with 1:45 to play got the Pack within three once more, Fresno State’s Haley Cavinder hit a tough 3-pointer on the next possession that proved to be the dagger in Nevada’s hopes of scoring a come from behind win. Sophomore Essence Booker knocked down a triple with seven seconds to go to make it a three-point game, but Aly Gamez sunk 1-of-2 free throws on the other end to seal the win for Fresno State.

For Nevada, it was led by sophomore Da’Ja Hamilton who totaled 13 points and finished 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Hamilton also grabbed four rebounds and dished out four assists in the game. The Pack had three others reach points in double figures as Lacy and junior Miki’ala Maio each finished with 12 points and Booker added 10. For Fresno State, the Cavinder sisters, Hanna and Haley, combined for 42 of the Bulldogs 75 points. Haley Cavinder, the Mountain West Freshman of the Year, led the way with a game-high 26 points.

No. 1 Fresno State will now face No. 4 San Jose State in Tuesday’s semifinals.