UNLV WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TAKES BOISE STATE TO THE WIRE BEFORE FALLING 75-72
Boise State’s 21 second-chance points after halftime prove the difference
For the third straight contest it came down to the final minute but UNLV came up short in two chances at a game-tying three-pointer in a 75-72 loss to Boise State on Saturday afternoon in Mountain West women’s basketball action at the Cox Pavilion. The Lady Rebels dropped to 10-16, 7-7 in league play, while the Broncos remained alone in second place at 15-10, 10-4 in the league.
It was a game that saw both teams display hot shooting in the first half (48% for UNLV, 55.2% for Boise State), but then get cold in the second half, with the Broncos making 35% and the Lady Rebels just 28%. UNLV made up for it at the free throw line, connecting on 19-of-24 in the second half, and was 29-of-36 for the game. The Broncos had just 13 attempts in the second half (made seven), but made up for it with their rebounding advantage. After being outrebounded 16-12 in the first half, the Broncos had a 30-19 edge in the second half, including 16-7 on the offensive boards. That led to 21 second chance points for the Broncos after the break, while UNLV came up with 10.
“We battled today, we had good focus, energy and we did a good job of attacking the basket,” said UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. “I felt we did a good job taking care of the ball, and going inside out. We had three or four people have a really good game and that’s without our starting post player, I thought we did a good job considering we didn’t have Aley (Rohde, day-to-day with a shoulder injury).”
The key play of the game came with just a minute to play. UNLV had rallied from six down with 3:06 to play to make it a three-point game, and forced the Broncos into a missed shot with 1:03 to play and the score set at 72-69. Alana Cesarz initially came up with the rebound, but BSU guard Yaiza Rodriguez quickly stole the ball and scored a layup to make it a two-possession game again at 74-69.
The Lady Rebels answered with a pair of free throws from Cesarz, and after a missed one-and-one by Boise State, Danielle Miller made one-of-two at the line to make it a 74-72 contest with 27 seconds to play. UNLV sent Deanna Weaver to the line, where she would connect on the second of two free throws, putting BSU back up 75-72 with 22 seconds remaining. Cesarz attempted a three-pointer with 11 seconds left that was off, and UNLV forced a jump ball on the scramble for the rebound, getting one last chance with 4.7 seconds on the clock. UNLV would run a play to get Mia Bell open for a three to tie, but she was unable to get a shot off before the clock ran out.
Boise State started the game by hitting six of its first seven shots while opening up a 14-7 edge just over four minutes in. UNLV then stepped up its defensive pressure, holding the Broncos scoreless for the next four minutes while reeling off nine points of its own for a 16-14 edge at the 11:49 mark. The Lady Rebels would lead for almost the entire rest of the half. Boise State would take a 35-34 edge off back-to-back three-pointers, which were countered by a Miller three-point play with 3:09 on the clock for a 37-35 edge. UNLV would score only one point for the rest of the half, while Tonishia Childress scored three in the final 20 seconds for the Broncos to tie the game at 38-38 going into halftime.
The game was tied twice more in the first three minutes of the second half. Boise State then opened up some room with an 8-0, capped by back-to-back treys for a 55-46 lead at the 12:07 mark. Again the Lady Rebel defense shut out the Broncos, this time holding them scoreless for a 3:53 span while scoring six straight to make it a 55-52 game with 9:59 to play. UNLV stayed within eight points the rest of the way, and two Bell free throws with 2:22 to play brought UNLV within 72-69, setting up the final minutes.
Four players posted double-figures for UNLV, led by Miller’s 18 points. Cesarz added 17 points and seven rebounds, Bell finished with 16, Briana Charles had 10 off the bench and Amie Callaway had nine in her first start of the conference season. UNLV shot 38% (19-of-50) for the game and was 5-of-16 from 31.3% on three-pointers. UNLV committed 13 turnovers to 14 for the Broncos.
“We have a lot of people, that’s the good thing about the Lady Rebels,” said Olivier. “We have a lot of options so we’re hoping that we can just keep our heads up and continue to fight and get better before the conference tournament. I thought Amie did a good job stepping up and the starting line was active the entire game, wanting the ball and playing aggressively.”
Lexie Der scored a game-high 19 points for the Broncos before fouling out. Deanna Weaver added 14, Rodriguez had 11 and Brooke Pahukoa 10 points for Boise State.
UNLV is on the road for its next game, on Wednesday, Feb. 26 in Fort Collins, Colo., against first place Colorado State in a 6 p.m. (PT) contest.