Season Ends For Lady Rebels In WNIT First Round Loss|
March 16, 2017
BOULDER, Colo. (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV PDF Box Score at Colorado
UNLV and Colorado played a back and fourth game for the first 26 minutes on Thursday night, but an 8-0 run to end the third quarter for the Buffs put them in control and they held off the Lady Rebels in the fourth to claim a 66-52 victory in WNIT First Round action from Coors Events Center. The Lady Rebels saw their season finished with the loss, and will end the year with a 22-11 overall record. Colorado meanwhile improved to 16-15, and moves on to the second round and a road game at South Dakota State on Sunday.
Both teams looked rusty at the start, as the Lady Rebels shot 28.6%, while Colorado was no better at 20%. UNLV scored the game's first basket, and after the Buffs took a 7-5 lead at the 5:07 mark, the hosts were held scoreless for the next five minutes. Brooke Johnson hit a trey to put UNLV back ahead, and Paris Strawther converted a layup for a 10-7 lead. That looked like it would be the end of quarter score as well, but Johnson was called for a foul with .05 seconds left in the quarter when she attempted to block a layup attempt. Though Ariana Freeman made just one of two at the line, that was a key foul as it was the second on Johnson, and she would have to deal with foul trouble the rest of the night.
The lead switched hands seven times in the second quarter, with UNLV's last edge coming on Dakota Gonzalez's trey at the 3:20 mark for a 21-20 lead. As it did all night long though, the Buffs kept answering UNLV with a trey of their own, this time one by Alexis Robinson that started a 7-0 run to end the half and give Colorado a 27-21 advantage.
Playing limited minutes in the second quarter while also picking up a third foul, Johnson came out firing in the third, scoring a pair of baskets in the first two minutes. Her first was followed by a three-point play from Katie Powell to bring UNLV within 27-26. Johnson's second basket made it a 29-28 contest with 8:01 on the clock, and again Colorado nailed a trey to go ahead by four.
Colorado led 42-33 when Johnson scored five straight points, and her three-pointer at the 3:36 mark brought UNLV within 42-38. The teams then traded baskets, before Robinson drained another trey. That was the first of the game-deciding 8-0 by the Buffs that gave them a 52-40 edge going into the fourth quarter, while Johnson was also hit with her fourth foul during that span.
After giving up 25 points to Colorado in the third quarter, UNLV held the Buffs scoreless for the first four minutes of the fourth. However, UNLV was only able to score four points of its own over that stretch, and could come no closer then eight in the final quarter, on the way to the 14-point loss.
Johnson led UNLV in scoring with 14 points, while Dakota Gonzalez added 12 and Strawther 11. Against an aggressive defense, the Lady Rebels shot 36.2% (21-of-58) for the game, was 6-of-18 from three-point range (33.3%), and were held to a season-low six free throw attempts (with four makes). The Lady Rebels were also outrebounded by a 35-32 margin, and committed 18 turnovers.
Kennedy Leonard paced Colorado with 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-8 at the line, while Robinson added 16 points. The pair also combined to go 9-of-9 at the free throw line. The Buffs shot 43.4% (23-of-53) from the floor, were 8-of-23 from three-point range for 34.8%, and 12-of-15 at the line (80%). Colorado also came up with 11 steals on the night, right below their season average of 11.4 per game which ranks them 17th in the nation.