BELL, MILLER RALLIES UNLV WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PAST SAN JOSE STATE IN MW FIRST ROUND
Lady Rebels win face second-seeded Fresno State on Tuesday night at 6 pm in the quarterfinals
With less then four minutes to play and seventh-seeded UNLV trailing by six points, Mia Bell and Danielle Miller scored the next 11 points of the game for the Lady Rebels, helping them end the game on a 13-4 run to rally past 10th-seed San Jose State 78-75 on Monday night in the first round of the 2014 Reese’s Mountain West Championships at the Thomas & Mack Center. With the win, their first in the conference tournament since 2009, the Lady Rebels improved to 13-18 overall, and will face second-seed Fresno State in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at 6 pm.
It was the biggest comeback win of the year for UNLV after trailing by 13 points in the first half to the Spartans. SJSU finished the game with 11 three-pointers, which tied for the second-most three-pointers in a game in MW Championship history. Their advantage from behind the arc was key to the Spartans holding a lead for the majority of the game, as UNLV made a season-low 2-of-15 for 13.3%, after entering the game as the top three-point percentage team in the conference.
UNLV was down by seven at halftime, but opened the second half on a 14-5 run to grab a 48-46 edge at the 13:56 mark. SJSU answered back with a run of its own, a 10-0 spurt that included a pair of three-pointers. A jumper from Britta Hall made the lead 56-48 with 12:02 on the clock. UNLV stayed close for the next eight minutes, but could not force the Spartans to give up the lead, and fell behind by six, 71-65 on a three-point play from Richol West with 3:45 to play.
UNLV then started its game-winning run, with a pair of free throws from Bell, and following a turnover from West, Miller drained a three-pointer to bring UNLV within 71-70 at the 3:01 mark. The teams then went scoreless on their next seven combined possessions. Entering the final minute of play, a jumper by Bell was blocked but Miller got the offensive rebound and laid it back in for a 72-71 UNLV lead. Ta’Rea Cunnigan scored on the other end for the Spartans, and then Miller drew a foul and went to the line, draining two for a 74-73 UNLV edge with 39 seconds to play. The Spartans then attempted to work the ball inside the post on their possession, but Bell and Miller teamed up to come away with a steal and keep the ball inbounds. Bell then made two more free throws at the line to put UNLV up three with 15 seconds to play. UNLV allowed SJSU to score a layup, and Charles sank two more free throws to again put UNLV up by three, 78-75. Classye James’ trey at the buzzer was off the mark, giving the win to UNLV.
The story of the first half was the Spartans’ three-point shooting, as they knocked down a total of eight in the first 20 minutes. UNLV had scored the first five points of the game before a Woodberry trey put the Spartans ahead 6-5. The Lady Rebels’ last lead of the half was at 13-12 on a pair of Aley Rohde free throws, before back-to-back Woodberry treys put SJSU up 18-15. The Spartans went ahead by 13 points, 36-23 off a trey from Ta’Rea Cunnigan with 4:29 to play. UNLV played itself back into the game thanks to a 6-0 run that cut the deficit to 36-27, and the edge was again at seven, 41-34 going into the break.
UNLV placed five players in double-figures for the first time in over two years, led by a career-high 16 from Rohde on 6-of-6 shooting. Miller was next with 14 points, while Alana Cesarz added 13 and seven rebounds. Rejane Verin and Mia Bell both had 10 points as well as eight and seven rebounds, respectively. Amie Callaway recorded seven points and 11 rebounds for UNLV. As a team, UNLV shot 38.6% (27-of-70) and was 22-of-32 for 68.8% at the line. The rebounding battle went to the Lady Rebels 52-44, while they also came up with nine steals, and held a 46-24 edge on points in the paint.
SJSU was led by James 22 points. Woodberry finished 6-of-12 from three-point range on the way to 20 points, and Cunnigan added 11. SJSU shot 36.1% (26-of-72), was 11-of-29 for 37.9% from downtown, and 12-of-17 at the line for 70.6%.