RENO - It took the Nevada women's basketball team three tries but it finally beat a team from the Mountain West Conference. With losses already this season to Colorado State and Utah, the Wolf Pack picked up a 78-68 victory over Wyoming on Tuesday night at the Lawlor Events Center.
The Wolf Pack, however, didn't make it easy on themselves. In the first half, the Cowgirls jumped out to a 7-0 lead after Nevada (5-4) had seven turnovers and only one field goal in the first four minutes of the game.
"We did it to ourselves," said Wolf Pack coach Ada Gee about the poor start. "We had seven turnovers on our first nine possessions and were down 7-0 less than two minutes into the game. I don't know, maybe it was finals week."
Kate Smith, who scored a team-high 21 points, wasn't sure if it was because of finals. But she did say that it doesn't matter.
"We got the win and it doesn't matter how we got it. We came out flat and I don't know why," Smith said. "But the important thing is that we came back."
Smith, who recorded her fourth 20-plus point game of the season, was a big reason Nevada was able to come back.
Smith, who ranks fifth in the Western Athletic Conference in scoring (17.0 ppg), scored seven of the Wolf Pack's first 13 points, though, they still trailed 28-13. Wyoming (5-4) led by as many as 17 points in the first half before Nevada ended the half on a 19-4 run. Ashley Bastian made two 3-pointers during the run and Katie Golomb's free throws with a minute left in the half gave the Wolf Pack a 35-34 lead, their first of the game.
"With the exception of the first 10 minutes, I was pleased with our effort and how we bounced back," Gee said. "During one of the timeouts, I got on them on a little bit because we talked about shutting down the post and that's what was hurting us."
Then in the second half, it looked like Nevada was going to break open the game after a pair of Angie Heer 3-pointers to start the half put the Wolf Pack up 41-34.
Then a 3-point play by Smith gave Nevada a 44-36 lead, its biggest of the game. The Cowgirls then went on a 10-0 run to regain the lead at 46-44. Wyoming's Ann McColl had six points during the run and 21 points in the game.
"It was (a grinder) out there," Gee said. "I told them that Wyoming wasn't going to go away."
The Wolf Pack took a 52-50 after Golomb's basket with 11:29 to play in the game. Unlike the Cowgirls, Nevada didn't squander it's lead. Golomb, who came off the bench for the second straight game, finished with 17 points. Freshman Ashlee Orndorff replaced Golomb in the starting lineup and her production has improved. Golomb had 11 points in Nevada's 87-54 win over Central Florida last Saturday.
"We started out playing a little flat and lethargic tonight," Golomb said. " So I just wanted to give the team a lift and get something going."
The Wolf Pack, who lead the WAC in free throw percentage, then made 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. Nevada's won two straight games for the first time this season and will be looking for its third straight on Thursday, when it hosts Air Force at 4:30 p.m.