Slow Start Sinks Lady Rebels
Nov. 26, 2013
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - After trailing by 14 points in the first half, UNLV rallied to close within two in the final minutes before Utah pulled away for a 66-59 victory over the Lady Rebels in women's college basketball action on Tuesday afternoon from the Thomas & Mack Center.
UNLV (2-3) fell behind at the start, as Utah (2-2) jumped out to a 13-2 lead five minutes into the game. A big Lady Rebel run brought UNLV within three early in the second half, and the game was tight the rest of the away until the Utes scored six of the final eight points to close out the win. UNLV was held to just 26 total rebounds in the game, while Utah shot 55.2% in the first half, and 52.0% (26-of-50) for the game.
"Utah is a good basketball team and we didn't come out with the aggressiveness that they came out with," said UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. "We did much better in the second half, we executed better, played better defense, and then we couldn't sustain it down the stretch. We can't take 10 minutes to get going especially against a team this good if we want to be able to come away with a win."
UNLV never led in the game, and it was tied only once, at 2-2 in the first minute. Utah then reeled off 11 straight points, going up 13-2 on a Michelle Plouffe layup at the 15:24 mark. UNLV answered with a 7-0 run, capped by Briana Charles' jumper at 13:01 to make it a 13-9 game. Back-to-back treys from Plouffe put Utah ahead again by double-digits, and the lead start at eight or higher for the next 10 minutes of the game. Utah took its largest lead of 14, 36-22, on a jumper by Ciera Dunbar with less then two minutes left.
The Lady Rebels then made their run, scoring the final six points of the half to close within 36-28 at the break. After Utah opened the second half with a jumper to go up 10, UNLV went on another 7-0 run, making it a 13-2 spurt since the end of the first half. Alana Cesarz capped the run, bringing UNLV within 38-35 at the 17:05 mark.
Utah though push its lead back to 10 with a 7-0 run of its own. UNLV would no go away though, cutting the deficit to a single possession three times, at 51-48, 53-50, and the last time at 59-57 on another Cesarz three-pointer, this time with 2:30 on the clock. Plouffe responded with a basket on the other end to put Utah up by four, and UNLV would go scoreless in its next four possessions. That included four missed shots and a pair of turnovers, while Utah connected on five-of-six shots at the line in the final 40 seconds to close out the seven-point win.
Danielle Miller led the Lady Rebels with 16 points, while Aley Rohde had her first double-digit game as a Lady rebel with 10 points off the bench. UNLV shot 41.8% (23-of-55) for the game, but was just 4-of-17 from three-point range for 23.5%, and made 9-of-14 at the line for 64.3%.
"There were a few positives tonight, said Olivier. "Aley had her best game this year and the guards saw that and got her the ball. Danielle has been playing with a lot of confidence recently and is becoming a leader for us, and that can help us as the year goes on."
Plouffe led all scorers with 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Utes. Dunbar was also in double-digits with 11.
UNLV will next be in action this weekend in the Lady Rebel Round-Up, held on Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1 in the Cox Pavilion. The Lady Rebels play in the first game on Saturday, hosting Fordham at 1 pm, while Cincinnati and Charlotte play at 3:30 pm. The consolation game will be on Sunday at 1 pm, followed by the championship contest at 3:30 pm.
Watch the archive of the video stream