Thompson Shoots Lady Rebels Past Alabama A&M
Dec. 20, 2012
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - Senior guard Kelli Thompson scored 21 of her game-high 23 points in the second half to lead the UNLV women's basketball team past Alabama A&M 67-62 in the second round of the World Vision Classic on Thursday afternoon in the Cox Pavilion. The Lady Rebels improved to 4-7 with the victory, and will now play in the third place game on Friday at 3 pm, with their opponent still to be determined. Alabama A&M meanwhile dropped to 1-7, and will play in the fourth place game at 12:30 pm.
Alana Cesarz added 20 points for UNLV, marking the first time in four years that two Lady Rebels have reached 20 points in the same game. The last time was in a 97-92 overtime win at Sacramento State on Nov. 19, with Thompson scoring 26 and Sandrine Nzeukou 21. Danielle Miller also finished in double-figures against Alabama A&M with 10 points.
"We started off well in the first half, and then really played well as a team to finish out and earn the win," said UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. "Kelli was doing a good job of getting her teammates involved in the first half, and then when we had some scoring problems in the second half, she over. Her ability to get to the line in the second half was big for us as well."
UNLV started out the game strong, going up 12-4 on a Miller jumper with 15:30 on the first half clock. The lead was 16-8 on a tip-in by Thompson, but the Lady Rebels then went cold, missing their next 10 shots. The Lady Bulldogs took advantage of that drought by reeling off 12 straight, opening up a 20-16 lead at the 7:01 mark on a Clairissa Moore lay-up. UNLV took the lead back twice more over the final minutes of the half, and a free throw from Alabama A&M's Danielle Oneal would tie the score at 25-25 entering halftime.
Alabama A&M scored the first three points of the second half, and would lead 32-27 on a pair of NaDra Robertson free throws four minutes in. After UNLV battled twice to go ahead by one on Thompson baskets, the Lady Bulldogs answered back with six straight, going up 40-35 with 12:16 on the clock. The lead stood at 42-37 when Thompson took over, scoring the game's next nine points (a jumper, a trey, two free throws and a lay-up) over a two-minute span. That put the Lady Rebels ahead for good at 46-42. The lead stretched to as high as eight, 56-48 on a Briana Charles free throw with 4:34 to play. UNLV sealed the win by hitting 10 of 12 at the free throw line in the final two minutes.
UNLV shot 35.3% (18-of-51) for the game, and made 26-of-34 at the free throw line for 76.5%. The Lady Rebels also connected on 5-of-12 attempts from downtown for 41.7%.
Alabama A&M was paced by Robertson's double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds. Brittney Strickland also finished in double-figures with 16 points. The Lady Bulldogs also shot 35.3% (24-of-68) from the floor, and was just 1-of-12 from three-point land for 8.3%. They were 13-of-20 at the line as well for 65%. Alabama A&M won the rebound battle 47-37, and forced UNLV into 21 turnovers for the afternoon.