Dec. 20, 2017
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) -
@UNLVLadyRebels | UNLV Box Score
Despite a noticably much better effort from the UNLV Lady Rebels in their second straight game against a ranked opponent, No. 5/3 Mississippi State showed why its earned a top-5 ranking as the Bulldogs exploded for 36 first quarter points on the way to a 103-63 victory Wednesday afternoon from the Cox Pavilion. In the second game of the 2017 Duel In The Desert, MSU's 103 points tied the all-time Cox Pavilion record for points in a women's basketball game, which had just been set hours before by Texas A&M in its 103-59 win over Hawaii. The previous record had been 101 points by Arizona in 2001.
This past weekend, UNLV fell behind 10-0 at No. 18 Stanford, and had just 13 points at halftime. Wednesday, despite playing without their starting point guard, the Lady Rebels showed no fear in attacking the MSU defense. Following back-to-back three-pointers from Alyssa Anderson and Katie Powell, UNLV would take a 13-10 lead at the 5:27 mark of the opening quarter.
THE TURNING POINT: Following Powell's trey, UNLV would go the next four minutes without a point. Mississippi State meanwhile was deadly from behind the arc, as over the final 4:29 the Bulldogs were 6-of-6 from three-point range, part of a 26-2 run to close out the quarter and grab a 36-15 lead. UNLV came no closer then 19 points the rest of the way.
LADY REBEL OF THE GAME: Brooke Johnson was a shinning spot on offense, connecting on 8-of-13 from the floor for 21 points, while also adding five assists.
STAT OF THE GAME: UNLV was forced into 28 turnovers, which was turned into 34 points by the Bulldogs (34-7 total advantage on points off turnovers).
INJURY UPDATE: UNLV announced before the game that junior starting point guard Nikki Wheatley is out until at least January after suffering a partial plantar fascia tear in her left foot in the loss at Stanford on Dec. 16. That leaves the Lady Rebels without a true point guard on its active roster, as backup freshman point guard Kavionnia Brown was lost for the season in November with an ACL injury.
"They are good, they are an ultra talented basketball team, they have quickness, they have size inside. Playing a team like that keeps our competitive edge going, and we did a better job of that today then we did against Stanford. But we turned the ball over so much, and we put so much effort into both the offensive and defensive sides and that took a lot out of us. We had to play without one of our top defensive players and that impacted us as well, but Brooke did a great job running the point."
- UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier
LADY REBEL NOTES:
* The 103 points is the most allowed by UNLV since a 105-81 loss at Hawaii on Feb. 7, 1998.
* UNLV is now 0-11 in its last 10 games against Top-25 opponents.
* Wednesday's game completed the first back-to-back matchups for UNLV in team history against defending Final Four participants.
* Two Lady Rebels joined Johnson in double-figures, as Paris Strawther posted 12 and Katie Powell 11.
NEXT FOR THE LADY REBELS: UNLV hosts RV/#22 Syracuse in the final game of the Duel In The Desert on Friday at 2:30 pm, following a contest between Hawaii and Oregon at 12 pm. Thursday's action sees Texas A&M and Oregon tip off at 12 pm, while Mississippi State and Syracuse will play at 2:30 pm.
For Friday's games, fans can bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the Toy Drive and receive 50% off additional tickets to the game. All toys will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada. Single-day tickets for the Duel In The Desert are $8 for adults, and $5 for seniors and faculty/staff, while all tickets bought online up to three hours before tip-off are just $5. Kids 12 and under are always free at UNLV Lady Rebel contests.