Feb. 3, 2018
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) -
@UNLVLadyRebels | UNLV Box Score
UNLV scored the first eight points of the game and never looked back, shooting a sizziling 66.7% from the floor in the first half on the way to a 77-54 victory over Boise State in Mountain West women's basketball action from the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday afternoon. In what was a matchup of two of the top three teams in the conference, UNLV opened up an early 13-3 advantage, and never let the Broncos come closer then nine points, twice in the second quarter. The win not only gave UNLV a season split with the Broncos, it moved the Lady Rebels into sole possession of first place in the Mountain West for the first time in team history. UNLV's 8-2 start in league play is also its best start ever in the Mountain West.
Boise State's Riley Lupfer, who torched UNLV (13-8 overall) for 28 points in the first meeting, managed 17 points on Saturday while hitting 5-of-10 from three-point range. However, the Lady Rebels held the rest of the Broncos (13-9, 7-4 MW) starting lineup to just seven total points, on 3-of-20 shooting. UNLV meanwhile was putting on a shooting display on its side of the court, knocking down 8-of-12 from the floor in both the first and second quarters for a 39-27 halftime advantage. Every time the Broncos made a run in the second half UNLV immediately answered, pushing the advantage to 60-41 after three quarters before closing out with the 23-point victory.
THE TURNING POINT: UNLV was all over the Broncos from the start, forcing a quick turnover after the tip and turning it into a Brooke Johnson three-pointer. That was part of a run in which the Lady Rebels knocked down six of their first eight shots from the floor to take a 16-3 advantage on back-to-back three-pointers at the 5:41 mark of the first quarter.
LADY REBEL OF THE GAME: Junior guard Nikki Wheatley missed the first meeting between the teams due to a foot injury, but made up for it by connecting on her first seven shots floor. Wheatley would finish the game with 19 points, all in the first three quarters, off 8-of-10 shooting, and she added six assists, three rebounds and three steals.
STAT OF THE GAME: UNLV's starting five outscored the Boise State starters by a 72-24 margin.
"Our team is so competitive, and it has a lot to do with our senior leadership. I thought the crowd today was amazing, our defense was amazing today, and we never let up, we stayed hungry the entire 40 minutes."
- UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier
LADY REBEL NOTES:
* Katie Powell recorded her 11th double-double of the season after posting a game-high 21 points and 11 rebounds, along with a career-high five steals.
* Johnson finished with 19 points for UNLV while also adding a game-high seven assists.
* Jordyn Bell reached double-figures as well with 11.
* UNLV's final field goal percentage of 56.9% (29-of-51) was its highest since shooting 63.5% against Arizona on Nov. 13, 2012.
* In a battle between the top two rebounding teams in the Mountain West, UNLV finished with a 35-24 edge on the boards.
* UNLV has scored 70 of more points in four straight games.
* The 23-point deficit was the largest loss of the season for the Broncos, and was the largest winning margin ever for UNLV over BSU. The Lady Rebels now lead the all-time series 9-8.
NEXT FOR THE LADY REBELS: UNLV will play a second straight home game when it hosts UNR on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 6 pm in the Cox Pavilion. It will be a RED OUT for the Lady Rebels, as all fans wearing red to the game will receive tickets for just $3, while the first 100 fans will also receive a free UNLV red rally towel. The game is the first of two this year against the Wolf Pack as part of the Governor’s Series, the all-sports competition between the two schools sponsored by Barrick Gold and NV Energy.