UNLV WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HOLDS OFF UTAH STATE 82-80
Lady Rebels snap losing streak, move to 11-0 all-time against Utah State in Las Vegas
UNLV senior guard Rmanii Haynes’ steal and free throws in the final 83 seconds broke a tie and were the eventual game-winning points in a thrilling 82-80 victory over Utah State on Saturday afternoon in Mountain West women’s basketball action at the Cox Pavilion. The Lady Rebels saw Utah State rally from 14 points down to take a two-point lead twice in the final five minutes, but UNLV would hold on for the win to improve to 10-14 overall, and 7-5 in league play. The Aggies, meanwhile, dropped to 10-14, 4-9 in the conference.
UNLV opened the game with a 19-6 spurt, and led by 14 points with 14:22 to play off a layup by Briana Charles. The advantage was still at 10 points for the Lady Rebels, 69-59, off a three-pointer from Alana Cesarz with 9:38 on the clock. Utah State then made its run, scoring 10 straight to tie the game at 69-69 at the 7:11 mark. Following a layup from Aley Rohde, Utah State took its first lead since the first half thanks to a three-pointer from Franny Vaaulu, 72-71.
The lead then switched hands twice over the next two minutes, with a 4-0 run putting UNLV up by three. Jennifer Schlott, who finished with a game-high 30 points, scored five unanswered of her own for Utah State, giving the Aggies a 77-75 lead off a three-pointer at the 4:16 mark. The teams then traded baskets, and the game was tied again with 2:31 to play after Haynes grabbed an offensive rebound, drew a foul, and made the ensuing free throws. Both teams missed shots on their next possession, with Utah State calling a timeout at midcourt following the UNLV miss. On the inbounds pass, Haynes stole the ball right out of Stephanie Bairstow’s hands and raced in for a layup. She was fouled on the attempt, and sank both shots for an 81-79 lead with 1:23 to go. Another Utah State missed jumper led to Rejane Verin going to the line for two shots. She made the first of two, while on the other end, Ingrida Strikas also made one of two at the line, leaving the score at 82-80 with 51 seconds left. UNLV ran the clock down before missing a long three-pointer, giving Utah State one last chance. The Aggies would miss two jumpers at the end, leaving UNLV with the two-point victory.
“Down the stretch I thought we did a really good job of getting to the free throw line and making our shots,” said UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. “Rmanii’s key steal and free throws, you have to make free throws down the stretch. In the first half, we played team basketball, everyone contributed, and our posts had really great energy, while our fans really added to our energy as well.”
UNLV came out hot at the start, scoring 11 points in the first three minutes on the way to opening up the 19-6 edge. It was a 22-10 advantage before the Aggies reeled off 13 straight points, including 10 straight from Schlott. UNLV quickly answered with an 8-1 run of its own, started by a three-pointer from Mia Bell. The Lady Rebels would take a 39-32 lead into halftime.
Four finished in double-figures for UNLV, led by Cesarz’s 18 points. Rohde added a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds, Verin scored 12 points and Bell 10. Haynes posted seven points and seven assists as well for UNLV. As a team, UNLV shot 50% (27-of-54) from the floor, was 7-of-15 from three-point range (46.7%), and 21-of-25 at the line for 84%. UNLV held a 41-29 edge on the boards, but turned the ball over 24 times to just 14 for the Aggies.
In addition to Schlott’s 30 points, Vaaulu and Bairstow were also in double figures for the Aggies with 13 and 12, respectively. Utah State shot 41.5% (27-of-65) for the game, was 8-of-18 from downtown for 44.4%, and 18-of-22 at the charity stripe for 81.8%.
UNLV returns to action with a road contest in Albuquerque, N.M., against the New Mexico Lobos at 6 pm (PT).