Lady Rebels Reach Title Game
Dec. 20, 2009
LAS VEGAS - UNLV's starting backcourt of Erica Helms and Kelli Thompson combined for 33 points to lead the Lady Rebels to the championship game of the Duel In The Desert Tournament thanks to a 67-54 win over Hawaii in second round action on Sunday night from the Cox Pavilion. UNLV moved back over .500 with the win, improving to 6-5 on the season, and will take on DePaul in the championship game on Monday night at 7:30 pm.
DePaul reached the championship game thanks to a 75-60 upset of No. 10 Florida State. Other games on Sunday included UTSA over Arkansas 71-55, and Kansas State over VCU 73-67.
Helms finished the night 6-of-9 from the floor for 17 points, while Thompson was 6-of-10 for 16 points. Also in double figures was Amanda Anderson with a career-high 10 points. UNLV finished the game shooting 43.5% (10-of-23) from three-point land and forced 20 turnovers, leading to a 19-8 edge on points off turnovers. The Lady Rebs outrebounded Hawaii 50-47, mostly thanks to a game-high 17 from Jamie Smith.
It was a very low scoring game in the first half, with just 10 total points scored in the opening nine minutes. The score was tied when UNLV turned to its two seniors off the bench,as Latoya Hunt sank four straight free throws, while Allison Holiday nailed a trey to put the Lady Rebels up 12-5 with 8:52 left in the first half. The lead stood at 14-8 at the 5:23 mark when a 9-1 spurt from UNLV gave them a 23-9 edge with 2:31 to play, and the Lady Rebs would take a 23-12 lead into the half.
Hawaii closed to within eight twice in the second half, the last at 18:21 on a jumper from Julita Bungaite to make the score 25-17. Thompson then scored five unanswered points to ignite a 13-4 run over a three-minute span. A trey and a layup from Helms capped the run, with UNLV up 38-21 with 14:17 to play. The lead grew to as high as 23 points, 54-31 on a layup from Smith with 8:30 to play, and stood at 20 points at the six minutes mark.
Breanna Arbuckle paced Hawaii with 12 points and 13 rebounds. UH was held to 31.7% shooting (19-of-60) and made 10-of-19 at the line for 52.6%.