Strawther, Lady Rebels Hold Off Houston|
Nov. 15, 2016
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV Box Score vs Houston (PDF)
Sophomore center Paris Strawther posted a double-double in the first half to save UNLV from a cold start from the floor, while Nikki Wheatley and Dakota Gonzalez scored all 25 of their points in the second half to lead the Lady Rebels (2-0) past Houston (1-1) 64-53 on Tuesday night in women's college basketball action from the Cox Pavilion.
UNLV opened the game missing 14 of its first 15 shots, but played steady defense the entire first quarter, never letting the Houston lead grow past six points. The Lady Rebels dominance on the boards was a big key to that, and Strawther keyed those efforts as she grabbed eight rebounds and scored seven of the team's 11 points in the quarter, while Houston finished with 12 in the opening 10 minutes for a one-point edge.
A jumper from Brooke Johnson gave UNLV its first lead at 13-12 30 seconds into the second half. The lead switched hands four more times over the next three minutes, put a pair of 5-0 helped the Lady Rebels open a 27-21 lead with 3:09 to go thanks to a three-point play from Strawther. A layup from Dylan Gonzalez, who scored nine points in the first half, gave the Lady Rebels their largest edge of the opening half at 31-24. The Cougars however scored the final five points to close within 31-29 at halftime.
Houston scored six of the first eight points of the second half, and took a 35-33 lead at the 7:35 mark. The game would be tied twice more, the last on a jumper from Houston's Serithia Hawkins with 5:48 on the clock. UNLV then held the Cougars without a point for the next three minutes, and took the lead for good off an offensive rebound and putback by Katie Powell. UNLV increased the edge to six before Angela Harris scored at the buzzer to bring UH within 47-43 going into the final quarter.
After struggling from the floor in the first three quarters, UNLV connected on 60% of its shots in the final quarter while holding the Cougars to just 26.7% on 4-of-15 shooting. After Chyanne Butler hit a jumper to cut the UH deficit to 53-49, UNLV did not allow a made field goal for the next four minutes of the game, and slowly increased their lead to a double-digit final margin of 11 points.
Strawther finished with her second career double-double in as many games this season with 16 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. UNLV just missed placing all five starters in double-figures by one point, as Dakota Gonzalez posted 14 points, Wheatley 11, Johnson 10 and Dylan Gonzalez nine. Powell turned in a strong game on the boards off the bench with nine rebounds and also added a pair of blocks.
As a team, UNLV shot 35.7% (25-of-70), was 3-of-17 for 17.6% from three-point range and 11-of-14 at the free throw line (78.6%). The Lady Rebs held a 55-42 edge on the boards, leading to a 23-17 advantage on second chance points.
Butler lead Houston's efforts wtih 18 points and eight rebounds, but was also forced into eight turnovers. UH shot 30.3% (20-of-66) for the night, was 3-of-20 from three-point range (15%) and 10-of-19 at the charity stripe (52.6%).
UNLV is back in action on Saturday, Nov. 19, when it hosts USC at 4 pm in the Thomas & Mack Center.