A record-setting performance by senior Mimi Mungedi was not enough as the University of Nevada women's basketball team dropped an 80-77 overtime Mountain West contest to visiting San Jose State Saturday evening.
Mungedi tallied 24 points, 29 rebounds and six blocked shots in the loss. Her 29 rebounds is not only a single-game school record, but is also a Mountain West record and is tied for the 10th-best rebounding number all-time in NCAA Division I history. Additionally, it ranks as the highest single-game rebounding total in NCAA Division I this season.
Each of the three periods were nothing short of exciting, starting with the first half. The Wolf Pack (6-15, 2-8 MW) opened the scoring in the game and held the lead until the 13:07 mark when Nyre Harris' layup in the paint gave the Spartans (11-11, 5-6 MW) a 17-15 advantage. After a bit of a scoring drought for the Pack, a deep corner three-point shot by senior Emily Burns tied the ballgame at 24-24 with 7:02 to play in the half.
SJSU quickly brought its lead back up to five, however, thanks to a triple by Rachol West and a transition jumper by the game's leading scorer Ta'Rea Cunnigan off of a Nevada turnover in the backcourt. Trailing 35-34 with time ticking away in the first half, senior Anna Cameron put up a shot from long range with 0.3 ticks left on the clock and was fouled on the play. Cameron followed that up with three makes from the free throw line to send the Pack into the locker room with a 37-35 halftime lead.
The 37 points in the half, all of which came from the starting five, are the most by Nevada since the team posted 38 in the opening half at home against UNLV on Jan. 7.
Period two did not disappoint either, as the Wolf Pack had to claw its way back after surrendering a couple of offensive runs by the Spartans. A 17-3 spurt by SJSU that took four minutes off the clock provided the Spartans with their largest lead of the game, 11 points, with 7:37 remaining in regulation and forced head coach Jane Albright to call a timeout.
Shortly after the timeout, a missed jump shot by Jasmine Smith and a defensive rebound by junior Julia Shelbourn put the ball back in the hands of the home team. Sophomore Ashlee Jones proceeded to drain her first three-pointer of the game to get the deficit back down to single digits and spark the comeback trail.
With under five to play, sophomore Iman Lathan swiped the ball away from the SJSU offensive attack and sunk the fast break layup to cut it to a 62-58 Spartans lead. Lathan hit the next Wolf Pack bucket as well, but a deep three by Rebecca Woodberry stretched the lead back out to five with just over two minutes remaining.
As the clock displayed 1:36 to play, the Pack found itself trailing by four but used a swift offensive put back jumper by Mungedi to cut it to two. On the other end of the floor, a shot missed by Cunnigan gave possession back to the Pack and Burns drained an 18-footer for the tie with 44 seconds on the clock. With one final shot attempt for the Spartans to win it in regulation, a three-point try by Harris was denied by Burns, sending the game into overtime.
In the overtime period, a jumper in the paint for Mungedi gave the Pack its largest lead of the period at three points with three minutes to play. SJSU chipped away at the deficit, however, and used a steal and fast break layup to extend its lead out to four with under a minute remaining.
Needing to foul to have a shot, Nevada sent the Spartans to the free throw line where they pushed the lead out to six with 10 seconds left, but it wasn't over yet. A three-pointer by Jones cut the San Jose State lead in half, and with two missed free throws by SJSU, Nevada had a chance to tie it once again with three seconds on the clock. A last second heave from well beyond the arc by Lathan bounced off the front of the rim to seal the win for the Spartans and give the Pack its eighth consecutive loss.
The final 77 points for Nevada is the most since the team put up 83 on Cal State Stanislaus back on Dec. 10. With help from Mungedi, the Wolf Pack dominated on the boards, out-rebounding the Spartans 74-51, five rebounds shy of tying the single-game team record. Nevada hit a season-high seven shots from downtown, including three from Cameron. The turnover battle was definitively won by SJSU as the Pack turned the ball over 24 times, to the Spartans eight.
Nevada had four scorers reach double figures with Mungedi (24), Cameron (16), Burns (15) and Lathan (14). Burns also posted a double-double by adding 10 rebounds, the 11th of her career. Both Cameron and Lathan fell one rebound shy of posting double-doubles as well.
Nevada remains at home to face Utah State next Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m. from Lawlor Events Center.