RENO - After falling behind by 11 twice in the first half, the Nevada women's basketball team refused to fold and, for the second straight game, notched an important victory.
The Wolf Pack handed Boise State a 79-75 loss before 2,046 fans at Lawlor Events Center on Sunday. The victory improved Nevada's (16-6) Big West record to 6-3., while Boise State (11-11) fell to 4-5 .
The win was the second crucial victory in as many games for Nevada, which defeated Idaho in a contest for first place in the Eastern Division on Friday. A loss to Boise State would have created a logjam at the top of the division.
Instead, based on head-to-head competition, Nevada remains in sole possession of first in the East and will play Idaho and Boise State on the road this week.
Nevada, which trailed only 40-35 at halftime, had to overcome an 11-point deficit. The Wolf Pack trailed 38-27 with 3:17 remaining in the first half and 40-29 at the 2:51 mark. Kate Smith, who finished with a team-high 25 points, scored the final six points of the first half and left the Pack down by only five.
Boise State scored the first five points of the second half and held a 10-point lead, but a Smith free throw with 16:20 left tied it at 45.
The teams exchanged leads over the next 10 minutes until a 3-pointer by Antionette Bryant put Nevada in front for good with 6:26 left.
Nevada had four players finish in double figures, led by Smith's 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field. She was followed by Bryant with 17, while Jessica Larsen and Katie Golomb both had 11 each.
Smith also paced the Wolf Pack with nine rebounds and four assists, and Golomb added seven boards.
As a team, Nevada was 29-for-59 from the field, 4-for-14 from 3-point range, and 17-for-27 from the free-throw line.
Nevada takes on Idaho at 7 p.m. Friday and Boise State at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Wolf Pack, 11-2 in Lawlor Events Center, has only one home game remaining - March 4 against North Texas. That game, which is part of a doubleheader with the men's team, will tip off at 4:30 p.m.