Thompson, Defense Carries Lady Rebels Past Broncos|
Jan. 25, 2012
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV held the top scoring offense in the Mountain West to its second lowest points of the season on the way to a 66-50 victory over Boise State on Wednesday night in Mountain West women's basketball action at Cox Pavilion. With their third straight win, the Lady Rebels improved to 16-5 overall, 4-1 in league play, while BSU dropped to 11-9, 2-3 in the MW.
UNLV claimed the win thanks to an impressive defensive performance that forced the Broncos into a season-high 27 turnovers. That resulted in a 24-6 edge on points off turnovers for UNLV. Junior guard Kelli Thompson led all scorers with 24 points, her third +20 performance of the season. She was one of four Lady Rebels in double figures, as Sandrine Nzeukou, Jamie Smith and Mia Bell all added 10 points each, while the fifth starter, Markiell Styles, added seven. Styles and Smith both tied for the team lead in rebounds with eight.
As a team, UNLV shot 40.9% (27-of-66) from the floor, was 27.3% (3-of-11) from three-point land, and a season-low 52.9% at the free throw line, making just 9-of-17. UNLV was outrebounded in the game 37-35, marking the first time this season the Lady Rebels won a game while losing the rebounding battle.
Boise State, who entered the game averaging 71.5 ppg, made 20-of-49 from the floor for 40.8%, but finished with 17 less field goal attempts and 12 less attempts at the line. The Broncos connected on 4-of-12 (33.3%) from behind the arc, and were 6-of-7 (85.7%) at the free throw line. Lauren Lenhardt, who was limited by foul trouble, scored a team-high 19 points in 22 minutes of action. Keiahnna Engel was next with eight points.
The first half saw UNLV lead for the majority of the time, as a 7-0 run put the Lady Rebs up 17-11 at the 7:07 mark. After Boise State hit a three-pointer to close within three, UNLV reeled off six unanswered, and would take a 26-18 lead into halftime. The Broncos did make a run at the beginning of the second half, sparked by Lenhardt, who played just five minutes in the first half after picking up two fouls. She hit two three-pointers in the first two minutes of the second half, with her second putting BSU ahead 29-28 to cap an 11-2 run. The Broncos led again at 31-30 on a layup from Nicole Brady with 16:56 on the clock.
UNLV then took over with an 18-6 run over a 6:34 span. Six different players scored during the run, which was capped by a free throw from Alana Cesarz at the 9:54 mark for a 48-37 UNLV edge. Boise State came no closer then six the rest of the way, and the Lady Rebels scored eight of the game's final 10 points for the 16-point victory.
The Lady Rebels play a second straight home game on Saturday, Jan. 28, when they host Air Force at 3 pm in the Cox Pavilion. Prior to the game, there will be an open house for all UNLV fans at the new Mendenhall Center from 1-3 pm, and everyone that attends can get tickets to the Air Force game for just $3..