FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Playing in its first Mountain West contest since Dec. 7, the Nevada women’s basketball team dropped a close 75-70 decision to Colorado State Wednesday night.
The Wolf Pack (7-6, 0-2 MW) had three players post big games as junior Miki’ala Maio, sophomore Essence Booker and freshman Dom Phillips combined for 55 of Nevada’s 70 points. Maio led the group with a game and career-high 20 points. She was lights out from the field, hitting 10-of-14, and added a career-best in rebounds as well with seven. Booker chipped in 18 points, her highest scoring output since Nov. 9, after knocking down a career-high four 3-pointers. Phillips recorded a career game as well, scoring 17 points and grabbing seven rebounds, both career highs. Nine of her 17 points came from beyond the arc.
Colorado State (7-7, 1-2 MW) owned much of the first half of play, jumping out to a quick 14-3 lead before Nevada called its first timeout of the game. The Wolf Pack clawed away at the early deficit, getting within five points by the end of the first period. Booker opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer to close the gap to two, but a 14-5 run by the Rams stretched their lead out to double digits with under five to go before halftime. CSU took that same sized advantage, 11 points, into the break.
The Rams increased their lead to 15, their largest of the game, just a minute and a half into the third quarter, but Nevada then went to work. A 9-0 run by the Wolf Pack that spanned about two minutes, brought Nevada within just six points at the midway mark of the third. Colorado State built the lead back up to nine, but the Pack was able to trim the gap down to four by the end of the third after a triple by Phillips.
In the fourth, Nevada continued battling but could not find a way to get ahead. The Rams once again pushed their lead back to nine, but the Pack did not go away. A jumper in the paint by Maio with 5:25 on the clock brought it to just a two-point deficit. In a back and forth second half, CSU scored the game’s next four points to regain a six-point advantage with three to play. As the clock ticked to under a minute to play, Booker got a layup in the paint to fall, which brought Nevada within three. The Wolf Pack got the ball back with 12 seconds left after a CSU turnover, but the game-tying 3-point attempt fell just wide, sealing the win for the Rams.
Nevada remains on the road to face the defending Mountain West Champions Boise State this Saturday, Jan. 4 at 1 p.m. PT.