Despite outscoring Air Force in the final quarter, the Nevada women’s basketball team dropped a 59-53 Mountain West decision on the road to the Falcons Wednesday night.
The Wolf Pack (4-18, 3-8 MW) got a 20-point outing from junior Stephanie Schmid, who also added four steals. Sophomore Teige Zeller tied her career-high of 14 points for a second consecutive game and senior Nyasha LeSure reached double figures with 10 points. LeSure is now just 13 points shy of 800 for her career.
Nevada led in the early goings but the Falcons (1-22, 1-11 MW) finished the opening quarter on a high note to take the lead. AFA forced three Pack turnovers in the final 35 seconds of the first to score six unanswered points and take a 12-11 lead into the second.
Overall through the first two quarters, Air Force committed more turnovers but turned eight Wolf Pack turnovers into 10 points. The Pack shot just 27 percent (10-of-37) in the first half to the Falcons’ 46.9 percent (15-of-32). One of the biggest differences was play in the paint. AFA outrebounded Nevada 27-18 and scored 20 of its 33 first half points down low.
Heading into the final 10 minutes the Pack trailed by 13, 46-33, and made a valiant effort at a comeback. Sophomore Halie Bergman connected on a three-pointer with 5:48 to play that cut it back to single digits, 49-41, and forced the Falcons to call a timeout.
During the stretch run of the fourth, the Pack defense held its opponent to nearly a three minute scoring drought. That led to Nevada’s ability to continue to chip away at the lead. With 3:19 on the clock, Schmid knocked down a clutch shot from beyond the arc and followed that up with a short jumper in the paint 30 seconds later that brought the Pack within three.
As momentum had shifted into Nevada’s favor, LeSure hit the scoop layup and drew a foul with 1:48 remaining. Heading to the line with a chance to tie, LeSure swished in her free throw knotting the score up at 51-51. That was as close as the Pack would get however as the Falcons’ Cortney Porter banked in a three on the next possession with just over a minute to go. Nevada began fouling to send the opposition to the free throw line, but AFA made 5-of-6 foul shots in the final 35 seconds to seal the win.
For Air Force, the victory is its first of the season and snaps a 32-game losing streak which dates back to last season. Nevada ended up winning the points in the paint battle, 28-24, but was dominated on the boards, 52-32.
Nevada remains on the road and will play at Fresno State this upcoming Sunday at 2 p.m.