Essence Booker dribbles the ball in front of a Saint Mary's defender. Booker wears an all white uniform in contrast to her competitors, who wear all red.
Image courtesy of Nevada Athletics.
Essence Booker dribbles in front of a Saint Mary’s player. Booker is an averaging 11.4 points per game this season with the Pack.

After a week of traveling, the Nevada women’s basketball team will return home to Reno looking to rebound after a pair of tough losses. Their week opened with a bitter loss to instate rival UNLV and was capped with a loss at New Mexico. 

Jan. 22, UNLV

Coming off a tight victory versus San Diego State, Nevada was hoping to build on that winning foundation. Unfortunately for the Pack, that momentum didn’t carry them out of Las Vegas.

In a contest that came down to the wire, Nevada fell to UNLV, 64-66. The winning bucket from LaTecia Smith of UNLV put the Rebels ahead with 0.2 seconds remaining in the game. 

The Pack came up just short, despite an impressive display from grad transfer, Marguerite Effa. Effa led the Wolf Pack in total points with 24, including a perfect record at the free-throw line, where she shot 6-6.

Nevada struggled from three-point range throughout the night, missing all 10 of their shots.

The contest opened with a tight first quarter, ending 10-12 in favor of the Rebels. Nevada pushed hard in the second but struggled to find the net. As a team, the Pack shot 33 percent from the field in the second quarter. 

At halftime, the Rebels held a sizable lead over the Pack, 31-21. 

Despite being down, Nevada came out hot in the third quarter, outscoring their opponents 23-18. 

At the 8:20 mark in the third quarter, UNLV had a 15 point lead, its largest lead of the night. Thanks to a great team effort, Nevada clawed its way back into the contest on 17-1 run. The run pushed Nevada into the driver’s seat, heading into the fourth with a five-point lead. 

The Rebels fought their way back into the game in the fourth. With only seconds remaining in the game, Nevada junior Miki’ala Maio hit a two-point shot to tie the game. However, 6.6 seconds proved to be enough time for the Rebels to drive down the court and score the winning shot. UNLV’s Smith hit the game-winner with 0.2 seconds remaining, which sealed the Rebels victory. 

Jan. 25, New Mexico

The Nevada women’s basketball team fell to 9-11 on the season with an 87-67 loss to the Lobos of the University of New Mexico. 

Sophomore Essence Booker led the Wolf Pack in scoring, racking up 15 points on 14 shot attempts. She also finished the game with new season highs, with six rebounds and five assists. With her 15 points, Booker is now five points shy of 400 total points in her career at Nevada. 

Three other Nevada players scored double-digits. Sophomore Imani Lacy had 13 points and led the team with eight rebounds, two shy of her second double-double on the season. Freshman Dom Phillips and senior Marguerite Effa both had 11 points. This is Effa’s sixth game in a row scoring in double digits. 

The Wolf Pack as a team shot 24-66 from the field and shot 3-15 from the three-point line. Nevada turned the ball over 20 times, which the Lobos used to their advantage, as 27 of their points came off of the Pack’s turnovers. 

Nevada was outscored by the Lobos throughout the first three quarters. At halftime, the Pack was down 21, propelled by a 17-point run by the Lobos which gave them an insurmountable lead.

This marks the seventh conference loss for the Pack. They currently sit at a record of 2-7 overall and are sitting in ninth place in the Mountain West Conference. Nevada is winless in conference road games losing all five conference road games. The Pack have lost three of their last four games, all three being on the road. 

Next up for the Pack, a home game against Colorado State. Their last meeting at Colorado State had the Wolf Pack falling just short, losing 75-70. 

Ryan Freeberg and Jory Richardson can be reached at or on Twitter @SagebrushSports.