UNLV LADY REBELS RALLY FOR FIRST ROAD WIN OF SEASON, 63-60 AT HOUSTON
Lady Rebels claim win despite Houston’s 36-0 advantage on bench points
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Down by 12 in the second quarter, UNLV relied on its backcourt of Nikki Wheatley, Brooke Johnson and Dakota Gonzalez, and the trio combined for 50 points to carry the Lady Rebels to a thrilling 63-60 victory at Houston on Saturday afternoon from Hofheinza Pavilion. UNLV stopped its two-game losing streak to improve to 6-2 with its first road victory of the season. Houston saw its two-game win streak snapped as it dropped to 3-6.
“I thought our team did a really job of staying with it when we got down in the first quarter,” said UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. “We stayed together and had different people step up for us today.”
UNLV gave up a season-high 21 points in the first quarter, as Houston knocked down 7-of-14 from the floor on the way to a seven-point lead. The Cougars held UNLV to just 31.6% (6-of-19) shooting in those opening 10 minutes. The second quarter did not start out better for UNLV as Houston scored the first four points to open up its largest lead of the game, 26-14 at the 8:56 mark. UNLV senior Amie Callaway then pick up her third foul on the next possession, and sat on the bench for the rest of the half.
Nikki Wheatley then turned the game for UNLV, scoring five straight points to cut the edge to seven, 26-19, while her relentless attack on the boards and defensive play sparked the Lady Rebels as well. Johnson hit a pair of treys over the final five minutes of the second quarter, and Dakota Gonzalez scored three straight in the final minute to bring UNLV within one, 31-30. Jessieka Palmer then nailed a trey to give Houston a 34-30 lead going into halftime.
It was a three-point game, 36-33, following a Wheatley layup at the 6:38 mark of the third quarter. Houston then reeled off an 8-0 run over a 2:24 span, and took a double-digit lead, 44-33 with 3:47 to play off a layup form Marche’ Amerson. Amerson’s basket would be the first of three baskets over the final four minutes of the quarter that UNLV would answer with two baskets of their own. The last Houston basket of the third, a layup with 1:41 to play for a 49-42 margin, was followed by layups from Dakota Gonzalez and a buzzer-beater by Wheatley to make it a 49-46 game going into the final quarter.
UNLV kept the Cougars scoreless for the first three minutes of the fourth quarter while scoring five straight for its first lead since the first, 51-49 off an Amie Callaway three-pointer. Houston came back to tie the game three times over the next six minutes, the final time on a layup from Kierra Graves with 1:19 to play, but UNLV wouldn’t allow the Cougars to take the lead back. Wheatley broke the tie game with a layup with 46 seconds to play for a two-point lead and Houston rushed a three-pointer on the next possession that was rebounded by Amie Callaway. Johnson connected on three of four at the line over the final 21 seconds to give UNLV a 63-58 advantage. Houston hit a pair of free throws with two seconds to go to close the final margin to three points.
Johnson set a new career-high with 17 points, helped by a career-high four three-pointers (out of five attempts). Dakota Gonzalez tied her for game-high scoring honors with 17 points as well while adding five assists and three steals. Wheatley meanwhile tied her career-high with 16 points and posted her second double-double of the season with 10 rebounds. After losing the first quarter rebound battle 13-7, UNLV outrebounded the Cougars 39-25 the rest of the way, leading to a 20-11 edge on second chance points. UNLV also held a 24-15 advantage on points off turnovers. All 63 points on the day came from the starting lineup, as Houston’s bench finished with a 36-0 margin. The Lady Rebels finished the afternoon shooting 35.4% (23-of-65) from the floor, was 6-of-13 from three-point land for 46.2% and 11-of-21 at the charity stripe (52.4%).
“Brooke is someone we lean on,” said Olivier. “When she picked up her fourth I got a little nervous, but she was able to finish out the game. The connection that she and Nikki have on the court is outstanding and was a big advantage for us today. The Houston press bothered us in the first half but we adjusted at halftime and attacked it differently and that threw them off their game I felt. I thought our defense was great, especially in the second half to hold them to just eight field goals.”
Palmer paced Houston with 16 points while Graves added 10 for the Cougars, who played 11 players and saw 10 of them finish in the scoring column. Houston shot 35.2% (19-of-54) for the game but we held to 8-of-27 shooting in the second half. UH hit 6-of-23 from three-point range (26.1%), just 2-of-10 in the second half, and was 16-of-19 at the line for 84.2%.
The Lady Rebs remain in Texas for their next game, a Monday, 5 pm (PT) contest at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
UNLV WOMEN'S BASKETBALL NEWS: Lady Rebels Rally For First Road Win Of Season, 63-60 At Houston
Down by 12 in the second quarter, UNLV relied on its backcourt of Nikki Wheatley, Brooke Johnson and Dakota Gonzalez, and the trio combined for 50 points to carry the Lady Rebels to a thrilling 63-60 victory at Houston on Saturday afternoon from Hofheinza Pavilion