FOUR STRAIGHT WINS FOR UNLV WOMEN’S BASKETBALL AFTER 74-59 VICTORY OVER SAN DIEGO STATE
Lady Rebels claim first win over Aztecs in four years
Danielle Miller, Mia Bell and Alana Cesarz combined for 56 points to help UNLV claim a fourth straight victory, 74-59 over San Diego State in Mountain West women’s basketball action on Saturday night from the Cox Pavilion. The win was the first by the Lady Rebels in the series since Feb. 13, 2010, breaking a six-game losing streak. UNLV also held its opponent under 60 points for the third straight game as it improved to 7-10 overall, and 4-1 in league play, just one win behind first-place Colorado State and Fresno State. SDSU dropped to 5-10, 2-3 in MW play.
There were five ties and seven lead changes in the first 15 minutes of the game, until UNLV scored 17 points over the final five minutes for its highest halftime total of the season with a 41-36 lead over the Aztecs. San Diego State closed to within three several times in the second half, but UNLV closed out the game on a 14-2 run over the last six minutes to earn the victory.
“First half we did a really good job of moving the ball around and going inside-out in order to get some clean three looks, and we were able to make our threes,” said UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. “Mia hit a couple of big threes in the first half, and then I felt we did a good job in the second half of not falling in love with the three, still working the ball inside and getting some easier baskets. I thought we did a better job on rebounds after the opening half, and we’ve done such a good job of taking care of the ball and applying defensive pressure, that’s been our success right now.”
Miller led all scorers with 20 points, while Bell added 19 points, five assists and three steals. She also tied a career-high with five treys, while Cesarz posted 17 points and seven rebounds. For the second straight game the Lady Rebels set a new season-high for three-pointers made, this time with nine against a packed in San Diego State zone that was willing to give up the open looks from outside. Another key to the win was UNLV’s defense, as it came up with 12 steals and forced 20 SDSU turnovers. That led to a 17-5 edge on points off turnovers for UNLV.
“Mia was great tonight, she had excellent leadership and hit some key threes in the first half, said Olivier. “In the second half she kept us organized. She is a very smart basketball player, she attacked tonight when she needed to and knew the right time to pull out and run the offense.”
San Diego State held the lead for the majority of the opening 14 minutes of the game, but never by more then four points. The Aztecs were ahead 19-15 before Amanda Anderson drained a three-pointer to bring UNLV within one. Then after Chairese Culberson nailed a trey for SDSU, Bell answered with her second three-pointer of the game, and Cesarz added a layup to put UNLV ahead 23-22 at the 6:48 mark. Deajanae Scurry put the Aztecs back ahead with a jumper, but then Aley Rohde made the first of two free throws to tie the game, while Cesarz rebounded her missed second free throw and put it back in for a 26-24 Lady Rebel edge with 5:50 to play. UNLV would not give up that lead the rest of the game, with Bell draining a pair of three-pointers in the final 77 seconds to give the team a five-point edge at the half.
SDSU scored the first basket of the second half, and managed to keep within eight points or less for the next 10 minutes. UNLV then went ahead by nine, 58-49 on a pair of Cesarz free throws, but that was answered by a 6-0 run by the Aztecs. Khristina Hunter capped the run, cutting the edge to 58-55 with 8:40 to play. After the team traded baskets, Bell hit a trey to start a 7-0 run, with the final four points coming from Cesarz. Danesha Long made the edge single digits with a jumper at the 3:30 mark. That was the final points for the Aztecs, and UNLV ended the game going 7-of-10 at the free throw line to earn the 15-point victory.
UNLV shot 44.6% (25-of-56) for the game, connected on 42.9% (9-of-21) from downtown, and made 15-of-21 at the charity stripe for 71.4%. UNLV was outrebounded by a 42-32 margin, but held a 14-12 edge on second chance points. The Lady Rebels posted more then 20 assists for the second straight game with 22.
Hunter led the Aztecs with 18 points, while Long added 12. Cierra Warren, the team’s leading scorer this season, was held to six points in 18 minutes before fouling out. SDSU shot 40.7% (24-of-59) for the night, was 3-of-16 from behind the three-point line for 18.8%, and made 8-of-13 at the line for 61.5%.
The Lady Rebels will be on the road for two games next week, starting with a Wednesday, Jan. 22 contest at Utah State, at 7 pm in Logan, Utah.