Win Streak At Three
Jan. 15, 2014
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV opened the game on a 13-2 run and never looked back, setting new season highs in several categories including points in a 78-56 victory over New Mexico in Mountain West women's basketball action on Wednesday night from the Cox Pavilion. The 22-point victory marked the Lady Rebels' largest win margin over the Lobos since a 23-point win on Feb. 27, 2003. It also gave UNLV a third straight win, the team's longest win streak since closing out the 2011-12 regular season with five straight victories. UNLV (6-10 overall) is now alone in third place in the Mountain West at 3-1, just a half game behind Fresno State and Colorado State, both at 4-1. New Mexico meanwhile dropped to 7-8 overall, 2-2 in league play.
"It was nice to play well at home, I don't feel like we had done that before this year, but tonight we played very good for all 40 minutes," said UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. "We played all those non-conference games to be prepared for conference play, and I feel right now we are playing very good defense, and that's helping out our overall play as well."
In addition to setting a season-high with 78 points, UNLV also set new season marks in field goal percentage at 53.6% (30-of-56), three-point shooting and percentage (7-of-11 for 63.6%), assists with 23, and steals with 17. All 14 players on the roster saw action in the contest, while five finished with nine or more points. Alana Cesarz led the way with 15 points and Rmanii Haynes set a new career-high with 13 points. Réjane Vérin came off the bench with 13 points in just 16 minutes, and Mia Bell added nine points and 10 assists.
UNLV's defense was definitely the story of the night, as in the first half the Lady Rebels forced 14 turnovers while posting nine steals. That lead to a decisive 17-2 edge on points off turnovers for the Lady Rebels, in the opening 20 minutes. Coming off a week break, the Lady Rebels quickly took charge thanks to a three-pointer and a three-point play in the first 54 seconds of the game for a 6-0 lead. A layup from Aley Rohde put UNLV up 13-2 just four minutes into the game. New Mexico came no closer then five point the rest of the way, while Alexa Chavez converted a layup to make the score 19-14 at the 11:26 mark. UNLV answered back with four straight points to go back up by nine. With the edge cut down to eight, 26-18 with 5:02 to play, UNLV ended the half on a 14-5 run, with an Amanda Anderson trey in the final seconds making the halftime score 40-23. That marked the largest halftime lead of the year for UNLV.
After falling behind by 22 points in the early minutes of the second half, New Mexico made one last charge, scoring eight straight to cut the UNLV edge to 14, 49-35 with 15:11 to play. The Lady Rebels then sealed the game by scoring nine unanswered over a 2:22 span, going ahead 58-35 on a layup from Aley Rohde. UNLV would lead by as much as 31 points, 77-46 on a layup from Vérin at the 3:38 mark. UNLV then emptied the bench for the final three minutes, during which New Mexico outscored the reserves 10-1 to cut into the final deficit.
"I thought our starters did a great job at the start of setting the tone tonight," said Olivier. "The first 4-5 minutes, we did a good job on defense, we got a few steals and pushed the ball up the court off that. Then we had people come off the bench and make things happen, and was just a good combination tonight."
Sara Halasz and Deeva Vaughn paced the Lobos with 11 points each, while Bryce Owens added 10 points. New Mexico shot 40.7% (22-of-54) for the game, was 6-of-17 from three-point range for 35.3%, and 6-of-9 at the line for 66.7%. The Lobos were outrebounded by a 33-30 margin, and outscored 40-22 inside the paint.
The Lady Rebels will play a second straight game at home this week, as they welcome San Diego State to the Cox Pavilion on Saturday at 7 pm. There will be a pre-game clinic prior to the game starting at 5 pm for children in grades 2-8, with registration available at UNLVRebels.com.