Pack women win in double overtime, advance to MWC semifinals

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (KOLO) A thrilling double overtime contest in the Mountain West Tournament quarterfinals went the way of the Wolf Pack Tuesday night as No. 7 Nevada pulled off the upset of No. 2 UNLV, 77-73. With the victory, Nevada snags three points towards the Governor’s Series.

The win marks a lot of things for the Wolf Pack. It is the first time Nevada has beaten UNLV in Las Vegas and is the first time the Pack has beaten the Lady Rebels twice in the same season. Nevada has now won two consecutive conference tournament games for the first time since 2009 when it was in the WAC. The Pack has advanced to the Mountain West Tournament semifinals now for the first time since 2014.

To accomplish all of those items, it was a grind. Playing in its opponent’s home city, the Pack found itself trailing by nine points at halftime to the regular season co-champions. Coming out of the break, the Pack went to work, slowly but surely chipping away at the deficit. Nevada got as close as one point in the third quarter twice, once at the 2:28 mark and again at the 1:24 mark, but could not grab the lead. UNLV finished the quarter on a 6-1 run to take a 46-40 lead into the fourth.

The fourth quarter was the Pack’s best of regulation, shooting 57.1 percent from the field. On the flip side, the Lady Rebels hit 54.5 percent of their shots, but the Pack defense held the opposition to zero three point attempts in the period. Nevada wasted little to no time in getting back in the game, tying things up for the first time at the 8:01 mark after a short jumper by senior T Moe. UNLV though would not give up the lead, stretching the lead back out to six once again.

Back and forth, back and forth, each team went on small five or six point runs to either stay in the game as time began ticking away, or try to put the game away. With 3:09 left in regulation, Moe got a floating jumper to fall, bringing her team within one. On the other end, UNLV’s Paris Strawther made a layup to extend the lead back out to three but with the shot clock expiring on Nevada’s next possession, sophomore Camariah King nailed a clutch three-pointer to tie the game at 59. Again, the Pack could not find the lead as UNLV’s Katie Powell hit two free throws to put the Lady Rebels ahead. Senior Teige Zeller answered with a game-tying layup with 42 seconds remaining. After a missed jumper by UNLV’s Brooke Johnson, junior Terae Briggs put up a potential game-winning shot as time expired but it bounced off the iron sending the game into overtime.

A triple by Moe a minute and a half into the first overtime gave the Pack its first lead of the game. Nevada then looked poised for the win midway through the period as it built up a five-point lead. UNLV, and senior Brooke Johnson, did not go away quietly however. Johnson knocked down a three-point shot with 1:04 on the clock, making it a two-point lead for Nevada. Johnson again played hero for the Lady Rebels with a game-tying layup with 29 seconds left. Once again the Wolf Pack had the ball and a chance for the win with the period’s last possession but a jumper by junior Jade Redmon hit off the front of the rim and sent the game into double overtime.

UNLV scored the first points of the second overtime, just like it had done in the first OT, but Moe answered with a triple, just like she had done in the first OT, and then added a jumper to put her team ahead by three with 1:58 on the clock. The remaining time in the second overtime came down to free throws as Nevada went 4-of-4 from the line and UNLV went 1-of-4. Moe hit the first two of those four with 37 seconds remaining, which gave the Pack a 74-71 lead. On the other end though Johnson kept the Lady Rebels in the game with a running layup that cut it to two points. A turnover by Nevada gave possession back to UNLV but Johnson missed a game-tying jumper and the rebound was grabbed by Briggs. Briggs was then sent to the free throw line with five seconds left, making both shots, and ultimately sealing the upset win for Nevada.

Briggs recorded a double-double in the win, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds, her fifth of the season. Moe notched her second consecutive 20-point game, pouring in a game-high 22 points and was perfect from the free throw line hitting 10-of-10. Zeller and Redmon also reached double figures for the Pack, scoring 12 and 11 points, respectively. Perhaps the most notable stat of the game was play on the glass as Nevada outrebounded the league’s top rebounding team, 41-34.

Nevada will square off against either No. 3 Wyoming or No. 6 New Mexico in the semifinals Wednesday at 9 p.m. from Thomas & Mack Center.

Postgame notes
-No. 7 seed Nevada pulled off a double overtime upset victory over instate rival and No. 2 seed UNLV, 77-73, to advance to Wednesday’s semifinals at 9 p.m. The Wolf Pack will play the winner of the No. 3 Wyoming/No. 6 New Mexico game.
-Tonight’s win marks just the first win for Nevada over UNLV in Las Vegas. It’s also the first time that the Pack has beaten the Lady Rebels twice in the same season.
-Nevada advances to the Mountain West Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2014. Since the Pack received a first round bye that year, this is the first time Nevada has won back-to-back conference tournament games since it defeated Boise State and Louisiana Tech in the WAC Tournament in 2009.
-The Wolf Pack is now above .500 on the year with a 16-15 overall record. Head coach Amanda Levens needs two more victories to tie former head coach Jane Albright as the winningest first year head coach.
-Junior Terae Briggs recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
-Senior T Moe notched her second consecutive 20-point game, scoring a game-high 22 points and was perfect from the free throw line hitting 10-of-10.
-Nevada outscored UNLV by a 40-31 margin in the second half to force overtime after trailing by nine at halftime.
-Senior Teige Zeller reached double figures for the 26th time this season, scoring 12 points. Junior Jade Redmon also reached double digits with 11.
-The Pack’s bench, consisting of Janelle Sumilong, Camariah King and AJ Cephas, outscored UNLV’s bench 16-1.
-Nevada also won the rebounding battle, 41-34, over the Mountain West’s best rebounding team.
-Nevada hit 90.9 percent (20-of-22) of its free throws in the game, a season high.
-The all-time series between Nevada and UNLV stands at 33-10 in favor of UNLV.