Wolf Pack struggles in second half, loses to Air Force 68-61

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RENO, Nev. – Playing in its Mountain West opener, the Nevada women’s basketball team dropped a 68-61 decision to Air Force on Saturday at the Virginia Street Gym.

The Wolf Pack (4-3, 0-1 MW) led for over 32 minutes of the game, but the Falcons (2-8, 1-1 MW) never trailed by more than eight and snagged the lead for good late in the fourth quarter. Nevada took a four-point lead into the final 10 minutes of play, and upped that to five after a layup from junior Nia Alexander at the 7:53 mark. Those were the last points the Pack would score though for the next six minutes as Air Force went on an 11-0 run to grab the lead and extend it to six.

Nevada wasn’t out of it yet though as a bucket from sophomore Da’Ja Hamilton with 1:19 to play halted the Falcons’ run and brought the Pack within four. On the ensuing Air Force possession, sophomore Imani Lacy came up with a big steal but was fouled on her shot attempt. With an intentional foul called, sophomore Essence Booker, who leads the conference in free throw percentage, was sent to the line for two shots. Booker made both, bringing the deficit to two, and keeping possession with the Pack.

A costly turnover on the next Nevada possession though gave the ball back to the Falcons with 30 seconds on the clock. Air Force’s Riley Snyder was then sent to the free throw line, where she made both and gave the Falcons a large enough cushion with under 30 seconds to play.

The Wolf Pack won the battle in the paint, 42-30, but the Falcons turned 17 Nevada turnovers into 20 points and also posted 20 second chance points, grabbing 16 offensive rebounds in the game. Lacy led the Pack in scoring, totaling 13 points and added six rebounds and a single-game career-high three blocks. Hamilton was the only other Pack player to reach points in double figures with 10. Alexander fell just two rebounds shy of posting her first double-double as she finished with eight points and a career and team-high 14 rebounds. Freshman Jená Williams dished out a career-high six assists in the game as well.

Nevada will conclude its four-game homestand with an 11 a.m. game this Tuesday, Dec. 10 against Stanislaus State in the eighth annual ‘When I Grow Up’ game. Admission is free at Lawlor Events Center.