OT Thriller at Lawlor Ends with San Jose State beating Nevada 72-70

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RENO, Nev. – In a game which needed extra time to determine a winner, the Nevada women’s basketball team dropped a 72-70 overtime decision Wednesday night to San José State.

Despite the loss, the Wolf Pack (7-8, 0-4 MW) saw a career night from senior Marguerite Effa. Effa totaled 31 points, the first 30-point game of her career, on 15-of-21 shooting. The Los Angeles, Calif. native added a career-high 15 rebounds as well to post her second double-double of the season. Effa scored 19 of her 31 points in the second half. She is the first Wolf Pack player to reach 30 points in a single game since Terae Briggs posted 30 points at Utah State on Jan. 2, 2019.

Nevada also saw strong individual performances from junior Jacqulynn Nakai and freshmen Dom Phillips and Alyssa Jimenez. Nakai tied her career-high of three made 3-pointers and totaled 12 points, establishing a new career high. Phillips was all around solid, scoring eight points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out a career-best six assists, which ties the most assists in a game by a Nevada player this season. For Jimenez she was a force on the boards, registering a career-high nine rebounds.

The game itself was extremely tight all the way through as neither team held more than a six point advantage. The contest featured 17 lead changes, 13 ties and one overtime period. It started looking like the game might come down to the wire midway through the third quarter after the Spartans (10-6, 4-1 MW) erased a six-point deficit to tie the game at 40. By the final minute of the period, SJSU had built up a three-point lead, but a layup from Effa with 35 seconds to go sent the Pack into the fourth quarter trailing by just one.

The fourth quarter was as back and forth as you can get. From the 7:47 mark of the fourth, to the end of regulation, neither side held more than a one point lead. During that stretch the game saw 10 lead changes. One of the most important of those lead changes occurred with just 17 seconds left in regulation. With the Pack trailing by one, and possession to the Spartans, the Nevada defense caused a handful on the ensuing SJSU inbound. Nakai was credited with the steal on the inbound, bounced the ball forward to an open Amaya West, whose layup put Nevada ahead by one. On the Spartans final possession of regulation, however, Raziya Potter was fouled and sent to the free throw line where she made 1-of-2, sending the game into overtime.

In the overtime period, the deficit hung around two points until the 2:34 mark when SJSU’s Tyra Whitehead put her team ahead by four. Nevada was able to cut it back down to two points after a couple of made free throws, and eventually tie the game at 70 with seven seconds on the clock after a jumper by junior Miki’ala Maio. The Spartans answered right back though with two seconds to play as Fieme’a Hafoka’s jumper sent SJSU home victorious.

The Nevada defense held the Spartan offense, which entered tonight’s game ranked first in the conference averaging over 80 points per game, well below their average as they scored just 64 points in regulation. Additionally, SJSU was just 3-of-14 on the night from beyond the arc, typically making nine triples per game.

Nevada remains at home to host Utah State this Saturday, Jan. 11 at 1 p.m. for the program’s first LGBTQ Pride game.