Sizzling Wolf Pack readies for revenge match with UNLV
The Nevada women's basketball team will look for its fourth win in its last five games, and to avenge a two-point loss from last month to the Lady Rebels, when it hosts in-state rival UNLV this Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Lawlor Events Center.
Wednesday's game marks the second of at least two contests between these two programs in the Silver State Series, with UNLV taking the first matchup back in January. The game will also be a blackout as fans are encouraged to wear black to go along with the Wolf Pack's black Silver State uniforms. Nevada is coming off of a big week on the road where it won twice, defeating Air Force and second-place SJSU. After those two wins, the Wolf Pack jumped from ninth to seventh in the league standings and is just one game out of sixth place. The Pack was led last week by sophomore Essence Booker, who posted a team-high 17 points at Air Force and a team-high 14 points and five assists against the Spartans.
UNLV began the season 1-5, but has since turned it around. The Lady Rebels are 12-11 overall and boast an 8-4 mark in conference play, good for third in the league standings. UNLV is led by Rodjanae Wade, who is the only player in the Mountain West currently averaging a double-double. Wade leads the conference in rebounding, grabbing 10.3 rebounds per game and ranks eighth in scoring at 14.0 points per game. The Lady Rebels as a whole play some of the stingiest defense around the Mountain West as they lead the conference in scoring defense, allowing opponents to score just 58.7 points per game.
ON THE AIR
Doug Greenwald will have the call in Northern Nevada on CBS Sports Radio 94.1 FM and 1450 AM with a 20 minute pregame show prior to tipoff. Fans can also tune in to listen to Greenwald's broadcast online at TuneIn.com or via the TuneIn app.
The game will also be live streamed on the Mountain West Network.
Nevada and UNLV have a long history and rivalry between them with Wednesday marking the 47th game in the all-time series. The Lady Rebels have historically had the upper hand in the series, winning 35 of the 45 previous contests. It was a close contest in Las Vegas last month though as UNLV escaped with a two-point victory. Perhaps the most notable victory over the Lady Rebels in the last few seasons was in 2018 when the Pack topped UNLV 77-73 in double overtime in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West tournament, sending the Pack to the semifinals.
CAPTURE THE ESSENCE
Sophomore Essence Booker has been on fire in the last seven games. The Las Vegas native has scored in double figures in those seven and is averaging 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game in that stretch. Booker enters Wednesday's game leading the team and ranking seventh in the Mountain West having hit 42 3-pointers this season. To put that in perspective, she only made 14 3-pointers in all of last season. Additionally Booker is closing in on 500 career points, needing just 38 more.
MAR OH MAR
Senior Marguerite Effa has really picked up her play as of late. The Los Angeles, Calif. native had the game of her career vs. SJSU. Effa totaled 31 points and 15 rebounds, both of which are career highs, to post her second double-double of the season. She was nearly unstoppable as she connected on 71.4 percent of her shots, hitting 15-of-21, setting career highs there too. Effa is just the sixth player in the Mountain West this season to score 30+ points in a single game. She is the only player to score 30+ points in a single game and record a double-double while doing so. Effa has now scored in double figures in seven of her last 10 games and needs just 30 points to hit 400 in her career, including her time at USC.
CAN YOU ASSIST ME?
The Wolf Pack has been one of the best teams in the Mountain West in terms of sharing the basketball. Heading into Wednesday's game against UNLV, Nevada ranks fifth in the conference in assists per game, averaging 14.29 per game. The Pack has dished out at least 10 assists in all but three of its 24 games, including two 20-assist games. Nevada is led in the assist department by one of its rookies in Jená Williams, who has 58 on the year. Williams was dynamite in the team's game against Boise State, dishing out a season-high eight assists to zero turnovers. The Wolf Pack has three players with at least 50 assists on the year, led by Williams' 58, then Miki'ala Maio's 56 and Essence Booker's 53.
Nevada has a few players who are approaching milestones, some of whom could hit those numbers Wednesday evening against UNLV.
• Imani Lacy - 1 rebound shy of 200
• Jacqulynn Nakai - 22 points shy of 100
• Amaya West - 27 points shy of 200
• Essence Booker - 38 points shy of 500
• Marguerite Effa - 30 points shy of 400
DON'T FORGET ABOUT IMANI
Sophomore Imani Lacy has quietly been one of the most consistent Wolf Pack players through 24 games this season. In the Pack's home game against Boise State, Lacy posted the second 20-point game of her career, and first this season, after scoring a game and career-high 28 points. Lacy was terrific in that game, hitting 8-of-14 from the field and 12-of-14 from the free throw line, both which were career highs. She has been especially impressive this season with her free throw shooting and shot blocking. Lacy currently ranks fifth in the conference in blocks per game at 1.30, and ranks eighth in the league in free throw shooting, hitting 70.4 percent.
UP NEXT: BYE, BYE, BYE
The Wolf Pack will enjoy a much deserved rest this weekend with its second bye of the conference season, the first of which came on the opening night of league play back in the first week of December. Nevada will return to the court next Wednesday, Feb. 19 to host New Mexico at 6:30 p.m.