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Nevada women stick together, move to 4-0 in Mountain West (photos)

By Michael Smyth

Story and Photos by Mike Smyth

The Nevada Wolf Pack Women’s Basketball team took to the court for the first time in 15 days and defeated the visiting San Diego State Aztecs (9-9, 3-4 MW) 58-46 Wednesday night at Lawlor Events Center.

The Wolf Pack, (12-4, 4-0 MW) improved to 4-0 in Mountain West play equaling the best start for the program in 12 years.

Nevada showed some early rust after the long layoff, the result of postponements due to COVID-19 protocols within the Wolf Pack program. Nevada shot just 3-of-16 in the first quarter including 1-of-9 from outside the arc and trailed 14-9 after one period.

Amaya West kept the Wolf Pack close during a rusty first two periods in Nevada’s 58-46 victory vs SDSU on January 19, 2022 at Lawlor Events Center (Mike Smyth / This is Reno)

The Wolf Pack closed the gap going into halftime, only down a bucket at 24-22. The gain was largely on the three-point shooting of senior guard Amaya West, who went 3-for-4 from long distance and would finish with a solid line of 11 points, 5 rebounds and a pair of steals.

The Wolf Pack found their rhythm after the break. The offense pushed the ball up the floor with added urgency, not allowing the Aztec defense to set up while Nevada’s defensive intensity forced SDSU’s leading scorers, Asia Avinger and Sophia Ramos, into a combined 13 turnovers.

Overall, 24 San Diego State giveaways resulted in 23 Wolf Pack points. Nevada gave the ball away just 12 times in the game and just twice in the second half.

The Wolf Pack’s depth also played a role, outscoring the Aztecs 17-5 off the bench.

“The pause may have actually helped us in some ways because we’ve had a chance to coach some of the younger players in ways we normally wouldn’t be able to at this point in the season,” said head coach Amanda Levens.

Senior guard Da’Ja Hamilton heated up in the final two periods after a slow start to lead the Wolf Pack with 18 points.

“I’m proud of how we came together tonight, especially coming off of a pause,” said Hamilton. “We trusted one another and fed off of each other’s energy. It’s important we stick together and play as a team.”

Next up for the Wolf Pack: Nevada takes on UNLV at Lawlor Events Center, Saturday at 2 p.m. before heading out on the road at Air Force, Colorado State and Wyoming.

Notes

  • Senior guard Kylie Jimenez continues to protect the basketball despite being the primary ball-handler on offense with just one turnover against four assists.
  • Freshman guard Audrey Roden continues to impress with 12 points including 5-of-6 from the line in just over 15 minutes.
  • The Wolf Pack outscored the Aztecs in the final two periods 36-22.
  • Nevada went 18-for-24 (75%) from the free throw line.
  • San Diego State bested Nevada in field goal percentage 38% to 32% and three-point field goal percentage 50%-27%.
  • Nevada converted 18 free throws to SDSU’s 6.
  • Nevada won the battle on the glass 35-34 and second chance points 9-2.

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