Wolf Pack remains perfect on young season, beats Sacramento State 83-72

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RENO, Nev. – After trailing at the half the Nevada women’s basketball team completed the comeback bid, taking down Sacramento State 83-72 Saturday afternoon at Lawlor Events Center.

The Wolf Pack (2-0) dominated in a few facets of the game, most notably on the glass. Nevada grabbed 56 rebounds in total and posted a plus-21 margin on the boards. It was the most rebounds by the Wolf Pack in a single game since it had 57 against San Jose State on Jan. 17, 2018. The Pack was led on the glass by senior Marguerite Effa, who grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds. Effa added 18 points, also a career best, to post the first double-double of her career and the first for the Pack this season.

Nevada nearly had two record double-doubles in the game as junior Nia Alexander was one rebound shy of her first career double-double. She finished the game with a season-high 13 points. It was sophomore Essence Booker though who led the team in scoring for the second straight game, pouring in a career-high 21 points. It marks the first 20-point game of Booker’s career and comes after a flawless performance from the free throw line where she hit 9-of-9. Fellow sophomore Imani Lacy also reached double figures for a second consecutive game, totaling 14 points.

In a game that featured 55 combined foul calls, Nevada made the most of its trips to the free throw line, scoring 31 of its 83 points from the charity stripe. The Pack’s 31 made free throws is tied for sixth-most in a single game in program history. The Hornets (0-1) also had their fair share of trips to the line, but only managed to make 22, giving the Pack the advantage.

Despite the end result, Sacramento State seemingly held the upper hand for most of the first half. The Hornets came out firing on all cylinders as they knocked down six 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes and built up a four-point lead at the end of the first. They continued that momentum into the second where they stretched their lead out to 12 midway through the period. With under three to play in the first half Nevada started making its move, getting a lot of scoring from Booker down the stretch. Booker notched eight of Nevada’s final 11 points in the first half, making it just a three-point game in favor of Sacramento State at halftime.

The Hornets scored the first two buckets of the second half, but from there the Wolf Pack took over. An 11-0 run that spanned nearly five minutes put the momentum in Nevada’s favor and gave the Pack a four-point advantage. Sacramento State wasn’t done yet, but did not lead the rest of the game. Multiple times in the fourth quarter the Hornets cut the deficit to one point, but that was as close as they would get. Leading by one with still 9:02 on the clock, Nevada did not allow its opponent to score again until the 4:35 mark of the period. From there the Pack and Hornets traded buckets back and forth but Nevada kept a comfortable lead for the remainder of the contest.

Sacramento State attempted 31 3-pointers in the game, but made just six, all of which came in the first quarter. The Hornets were 0-for-25 from beyond the arc in the last three quarters combined.

Nevada will hit the road for the first time in 2019-20 when it travels to Orem, Utah to take on Utah Valley next Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m.