LATE CHARGE CARRIES UNLV WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TO 72-65 WIN AT AIR FORCE
Danielle Miller scores career-high 24 points in the victory
Trailing by seven points late in the game, UNLV hit Air Force with an 18-3 run and would score 26 points in the final six minutes to claim a 72-65 Mountain West women’s basketball road victory at Air Force on Saturday afternoon from Clune Arena. The Lady Rebels snapped a losing streak to improve to 4-10 overall, 1-1 in league play.
“We did a good job when we got in trouble and fell behind,” said UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. “We got together and had some good execution and some things went our way. Good things happen when you think positive, and we were able to use that to pull out the road win at the end.”
The Falcons (1-11, 0-2 MW) led by as much as nine points, and were ahead 50-42 at the 9:11 mark of the second half. After UNLV scored four straight to close within four points, Air Force’s Camille Thompson drained a three-pointer to push the edge back to seven, 53-46 with 6:06 on the clock. UNLV then clamped down on defense, not allowing a point for almost a three-minute stretch. Danielle Miller meanwhile led the charge on the offensive side, scoring six straight before Réjane Vérin converted a layup off a great assist through traffic by Mia Bell. Vérin’s basket, coming at the 3:26 mark, gave UNLV a 54-53 advantage, its first lead since late in the first half.
After Air Force went one-of-two at the line on the other end to tie the score, Aley Rohde was the next Lady Rebel to step up. On the next four possessions, she scored off an offensive rebound, blocked a Falcon shot, hit a short jumper off a Miller assist, and then rebounded the next Air Force miss, which lead to a Vérin layup and a 60-54 edge. Air Force drew a foul and made two free throws to close within four. UNLV answered back with four of its own at the line, going up 64-56 at the 1:19 mark. That completed the 18-3 run for UNLV, of which 16 of the 18 points were scored by the trio of Vérin, Rohde and Miller. Air Force did cut the edge to four once, but UNLV closed out the win by going 8-of-8 at the charity stripe in the final minute.
Miller finished the afternoon with a career-high 24 points, and was 12-of-16 at the free throw line, which included making her last 10 attempts. Vérin was next for UNLV with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Bell posted her fifth straight game in double-figures with 12. Rohde notched her second double-double in a row with 11 points and a career-high tying 13 rebounds. UNLV shot just 32.8% (21-of-64) from the floor and was 2-of-11 from three-point range, with both makes coming from Bell. The Lady Rebels made up for their shooting by getting to the line, where they were 28-of-38 for 73.7%. The Lady Rebels also held advantages in both points off turnovers (17-10) thanks to their 14 steals, and in second chance points in 17-7, as they owned a 46-40 edge on the boards, and 17-8 on the offensive side.
“I thought Danielle did a great job today,” said Olivier. “She played aggressive basketball today she’s had a really good few days of practice, is stepping up as a leader. I thought she did a good job of playing good defense while staying in with her fourth foul, and made all her free throws down the stretch. Réjane really stepped up on the boards, Mia had great leadership, while Aley also did a great job rebounding today.
“One of our keys today was to take advantage of our inside presence, and while we didn’t score as much as we wanted in the paint, we were able to draw fouls and get to the line. We had good energy today, and when you have good energy on the road that’s a big advantage.”
The first half was tight for the first few minutes until UNLV used an 8-2 run to open up a 21-14 lead at the 7:46 mark. The lead was still at seven points with under five to go, 27-20, when Camille Thompson scored five straight for the Falcons and Lindsey Lewis added a jumper to tie the game. Following a Miller layup, Thompson completed a four-point play to put Air Force ahead, and they added three more points for a 34-29 edge, before the Lady Rebs scored the last four points of the half to go into halftime trailing 34-33.
In the second half, the Lady Rebels got a jumper from Alana Cesarz, but then went cold from the floor, not getting another basket for a three-minute span. Air Force would push the lead back to seven during that time, and the advantage for the Falcons stayed at five or higher until the final six minutes.
Air Force was led by Thompson with 23 points. Lewis and Charae Medina both added 12 each. The Falcons shot 42.6% (23-of-54) for the game, were 6-of-20 for 30% from behind the arc, and made 13-of-19 at the free throw line for 68.4%.
The Lady Rebels play again on the road in their next game, a Wednesday, Jan. 8 contest at in-state rival Nevada, Reno at 6:30 pm, That game is also part of the Govenor’s Series, the all-sports competition between the two schools sponsored by NV Energy.