Down goes UNLV. Nevada defeats in-state rival on the road in an impressive game to improve to 19-10 and wrap up a successful season.
The Wolf Pack had an all round good team performance filled with two big nights and great minutes from the bench. The star of the show tonight was senior guard Nia Alexander. She finished with a game high 26 points, eight rebounds, and one assist. Alexander was scoring at will and she shot an incredible 11-17 from the field and a strong 3-4 from the charity stripe. The other huge performance came from senior guard Kylie Jimenez. She did everything tonight as she ended with 12 points, eight rebounds, five steals, and three assists. Jimenez also shot an efficient 4-7 on field goals and a perfect 4-4 from the free throw line. Senior guard Amaya West was the third Nevada player with double digit points as she finished with a solid ten points and two rebounds. Senior guard Da’Ja Hamilton had an all around good game as she had eight points, six rebounds, and a team leading five assists. Sophomore forward Lexie Givens turned in a good performance with six points and a tie for team high eight rebounds.
The game started off with a big UNLV run. K. Jimenez hit a jumper but these were the only points for the Wolf Pack for around the first four minutes of the game. Nevada was down 8-2 until freshman forward Natalie Lathrop ended the drought with a layup. Alexander then took over adding a three pointer and a jumper to give Nevada a 9-8 lead with five minutes left in the first quarter. The teams traded buckets as Alexander and West each made a jumper. Givens finished a layup on the last possession of the quarter to tie the game 15-15.
UNLV came out hot in the second quarter. Hamilton responded with two jumpers and Alexander hit on a jump shot. Nevada was down 23-21 around the six minute mark. The teams continued to go back and forth with each other in a competitive game. Freshman guard Kaylee Borden cashed in a three and Alexander got to the rim for a layup. This was followed with another basket from Alexander, who was on fire at this point, and then West made a jumper to close out the quarter. The Wolf Pack went into halftime down 34-32.
Both teams picked up where they left off in the first half as they came out scoring to begin the third quarter. K. Jimenez opened up the scoring for the Wolf Pack with a jumper. UNLV had two layups and then Nevada responded with layups from sophomore guard Kenna Holt and Givens. The game was tied 38-38 at the seven minute mark. The game stayed tied as both teams kept playing tough defense until a K. Jimenez steal led to an Alexander jumper. Nevada took the lead 40-38 with five minutes to go in the quarter. Alexander cashed in another jumper and Hamilton finished a layup. Then to end the quarter both West and K. Jimenez knocked down a jumper. Nevada held on to the lead and was up 48-47 to finish the third quarter.
The fourth quarter opened up with an Alexander jumper and two K. Jimenez free throws. The Wolf Pack kept their foot on the gas as Givens hit two free throws and K. Jimenez splashed a jump shot. Alexander made another layup to add to Nevada’s lead as they were now up ten with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter. UNLV hit on a three pointer but the unstoppable Alexander finished another layup and two free throws. This capped off a 12-4 Nevada run in the fourth quarter. UNLV began to heat up with baskets of their own but this was quickly stopped with layups from Holt and West. West and K. Jimenez then iced the game with two free throws each. Nevada defeated UNLV 71-64.
This was a phenomenal way to cap off a great regular season for the Nevada women’s basketball team. As a team the Wolf Pack had three players in double figures and three players with eight rebounds. When a team is playing like that and they are receiving efficient scoring from the bench it will be hard to lose. Alexander has now put up double figures in her last three games including two games of 20 or more points. Nevada will look to keep this high level basketball going as they head into the Mountain West tournament as one of the top seeds. The tournament will start on March 6th and end March 9th. Hopefully, the Nevada women can bring home a Mountain West championship.
Anthony Miranda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush