DEFENSE LEADS UNLV WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TO 57-49 WIN AT NEVADA, RENO
Lady Rebels win seventh straight in the series, earn back-to-back road wins for first time in two years
Thanks to its best defensive performance on the season, in which it held Nevada, Reno to 25 points under its season average, the UNLV women’s basketball team claimed its seventh straight win in the series by a 57-49 score on Wednesday night at Lawlor Events Center. UNLV has now won back-to-back road games for the first time since Feb. 25, 2012, and improved to 5-10 overall, 2-1 in Mountain West play. UNR dropped to 6-8, 1-2 in the conference.
The Wolf Pack came in averaging 74.2 ppg, but were held to 19 first half points, while UNLV’s defense forced them into just 33.9% shooting (21-of-62) from the floor. The Lady Rebels turned UNR over 25 times and posting 15 steals on the night.
All of UNLV’s points on the night came from five players, as Alana Cesarz led the way with a game-high 14 points, including an 8-for-8 performance from the line. Danielle Miller posted 13 points and four steals, Mia Bell added 12 points and five rebounds, Aley Rohde just missed a third straight double-double with eight points and a career-high 14 rebounds, and Réjane Vérin scored 10 points off the bench.
“I love how our team is responding right now, they are very focused and we played together tonight,” said UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. “Danielle is doing a great job of attacking the basket the last few games, while Mia has been making great decisions running the point. Alana was key tonight making all her free throws, while Aley did an outstanding job on defense against their center. We also had several players that understood we needed them to do other things besides just scoring tonight. Rmanii was one of those, she did a great job with her rebounding (six) and her defense (game-high five steals).”
Both teams struggled from the floor in the opening minutes, with UNLV recording its first field goal at the 15:32 mark. UNR held the lead for the first five minutes of the game, until Mia Bell sank a three-pointer for a 7-5 Lady Rebel advantage. Following a basket from Mimi Mungedi that tied the game at 7-7, the Lady Rebs scored six straight, going up 13-7 on a layup from Danielle Miller. Terilyn Moe hit a pair of free throws for UNR to make it a 13-9 game, before Vérin exploded for six quick points in a 73 second span, with her jumper at the 10:04 mark making it a 19-11 edge for the Lady Rebels. UNLV led by as much as 10, 25-15, before the Wolf Pack scored the final four points of the half to make it a 25-19 score going into the break.
UNR had two runs in the second half, the first a 6-0 run over a 1:12 stretch that cut the Lady Rebel edge to 29-27 at the 15:03 mark. The lead remained between two to four points for the next several minutes, until a three-point play from Amber Smith made the game the closest it was since the opening minutes, with UNLV holding onto a one-point edge, 33-32 at the 12:35 mark. The Lady Rebels answered this challenge by scoring the next five points of the game, part of a 11-2 run over the next three minutes. Four different Lady Rebels scored during the run, with a jumper from Miller giving UNLV a 44-34 edge at the 9:29 mark. UNR came no closer then six points the rest of the way, while UNLV’s largest lead was 11, 51-40 off a Vérin jumper with 3:33 to play. Despite the Wolf Pack converting a layup at the buzzer to reach 49 points, it was still the fewest points allowed by UNLV this season, and the first time UNR had failed to reach at least 60 in a game this season.
UNLV would shoot 33.3% (21-of-63) for the game, was 3-of-6 from three-point range, and made 12-of-18 at the line for 66.7%. Nyasha Lesure was the only Wolf Pack player in double-figures with 10 off the bench. Center Mimi Mungedi finished with eight points and 10 rebounds, while Moe added nine.
The Lady Rebels will have the weekend off before returning to action with a pair of home games, beginning with a Wednesday, Jan. 15 contest against New Mexico at 7 pm in the Cox Pavilion.