COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Trailing by 12 near the midway point of the third quarter, the Nevada women’s basketball team pulled out a 71-67 come-from-behind road victory at Air Force Wednesday night.
The Falcons (4-18, 2-9 MW) owned the first half and would have taken a nine-point lead into halftime if it wasn’t for freshman Alyssa Jimenez. The rookie launched a deep shot from just past half court and swished it as time expired in the second quarter. That triple sent the Wolf Pack (11-12, 4-8 MW) into the break trailing by six, 33-27.
Coming out of halftime sophomore Essence Booker knocked down a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to just three, but the Falcons took the game over in the next few minutes. Air Force went on an 11-2 run over the next three and a half minutes to build a 12-point lead, its largest of the game, with 6:39 to play in the third. Nevada then began to slowly chip away at the lead, but could not make a dent until under the two minute mark when a layup in the paint by senior Marguerite Effa made it a four-point game. Another triple by Booker with 20 seconds left in the quarter got the Pack within three heading into the final quarter.
As the fourth got underway Nevada again began to come at the lead, cutting it to one point multiple times in the first couple of minutes. A jumper by junior Miki’ala Maio with 7:33 to play put Nevada ahead for the first time since early in the first quarter. The Pack was able to build off of that momentum and extend the lead to seven with 1:06 left after Booker’s third made three of the game.
The Falcons weren’t done yet though as the Falcons answered with a triple of their own to cut the game back to four. Air Force’s Briana Autrey was sent to the foul line with 28 seconds left where she made one of two, getting her team within three. On Nevada’s next possession, Imani Lacy was sent to the free throw line, where she missed both. Air Force got a layup to fall on its next possession to make it a one-point game. Sophomore Da’Ja Hamilton then found herself at the line, where she made one of two, pushing the lead back out to two with 11 seconds on the clock. On Air Force’s final possession of the game, Jimenez deflected a pass which landed in the hands of Hamilton, sealing the win for the Pack.
Booker led the Pack in scoring, totaling 17 points, which included three made 3-pointers. Booker has now scored in double figures in six consecutive games. Jimenez had a career night as she scored 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting and added six rebounds. Lacy also scored in double figures, adding 10 points. She is just five points shy of 400 in her career. As a team the Pack shot 53 percent for the game, setting a season high.
Nevada remains on the road to face San José State this Saturday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m.