UNLV USES BIG FOURTH QUARTER RALLY FOR THRILLING 66-65 VICTORY OVER PRESEASON MW-FAVORITE BOISE STATE
Win streak increases to four, the longest in almost two years for the Lady Rebels
LaTecia Smith’s driving layup with 6.2 seconds to go capped a game-ending 15-3 run for UNLV, giving the Lady Rebels a thrilling 66-65 upset victory over Mountain West preseason favorites Boise State Wednesday afternoon in front of over 1,600 fans on Lady Rebel School Day from the Cox Pavilion. It was the fourth straight win for the Lady Rebels, giving them their longest win streak since February of 2018, to improve them to 7-8 overall, and 3-1 in league play. The Broncos meanwhile dropped to 11-6, and 3-2 in the conference.
UNLV came into the game with the top field goal defense in the MW, but that didn’t stop the Broncos at the start, as BSU hit 16-of-27 (59.3%) from the floor over the first 20 minutes to open up a 39-29 halftime advantage. The Lady Rebels cut into the lead several times in the second quarter, but the Broncos would answer back with timely three-point shots, as they hit 5-of-10 over the first two quarters. That included a pair from Riley Lupfer in the final 1:35, and she finished the half with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from deep.
It was a different story in the second quarter, as UNLV held the Broncos to just 27.6% shooting (8-of-29), including only three made field goals in the fourth quarter, while Lupfer was shut down, missing all five of her three-point shots after halftime and scoring just two points.
THE TURNING POINT: Despite the better defensive play in the third quarter, UNLV still trailed by seven, 57-50, at the end of the period, and BSU pushed its edge to 11, 62-51, at the 8:33 mark of the fourth quarter. The Lady Rebels then shut the Broncos down, allowing just one field goal the rest of the way, as BSU would miss its next eight shots and 10 of its final 11 from the floor while being forced into three turnovers. Despite a run of missed free throws (just 2-of-8 in the fourth), the Lady Rebels slowly chipped away at the deficit, eventually trying the game at 62-62 on a layup from freshman Isis Bey with 1:32 on the clock. Boise snapped the 11-0 run with a three-pointer on the other end, but that was countered by a jumper by Smith in the paint to bring UNLV within 65-64.
FINAL MINUTE OF PLAY: A BSU miss on the other end gave UNLV the ball back with under 30 seconds, and the Lady Rebs called time with 11.9 seconds on the clock, setting up the game-winning layup by Smith as she took the pass, faked towards the short corner before reversing back and dribbling around a screen into the paint where she split four defenders before sinking her layup attempt off the glass. Lupfer’s final shot attempt for Boise was off the mark, giving the victory to the Lady Rebels.
LADY REBEL OF THE GAME: Senior forward Rodjanae Wade notched her third straight double-double and eighth overall of the season with game-highs of 21 points off 7-of-13 shooting and also a game-high 14 rebounds. She was also key in helping to foul out Bronco starter A’Shanti Coleman, who averages 10 points a game but finished with just two points, and UNLV outscored the Broncos 13-3 after she picked up her fifth foul of the afternoon.
STAT OF THE GAME: In the deciding fourth quarter, UNLV shot 53.8% (7-of-13) from the floor, while Boise State shot just 23.1% (3-of-13).
LADY REBEL NOTES
* – Joining Wade in double-figure scoring was Smith with 12 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter where she shot 4-of-5 from the floor. She also added four steals, and has 23 in the last six games.
* – UNLV’s freshmen class made big plays in the victory, as center Isis Bey played the majority of the fourth quarter during the game-winning rally and posted six points and three rebounds. Anna Blount added four points, while starting point guard Melanie Isbell dished out five assists to zero turnovers in the game.
* – UNLV is now a perfect 3-0 on Lady Rebel School Day, having defeated UC Irvine in 2017-18 and Air Force last season. The Lady Rebels have another school day game coming up this season, Feb. 5 against Utah State.
NEXT TIME OUT: UNLV will take on Wyoming in the only meeting between the two in the regular season this year Saturday afternoon at 3 pm in the Cox Pavilion. Prior to the game, a free basketball clinic for girls and boys in grades 2-8 will be held at the Mendenhall Center starting at 1 pm, registration information is available at ladyrebelbasketballcamps.com.