UNLV Lady Rebels defeat New Mexico, 57-48

February 4, 2016

Las Vegas -- The UNLV Lady Rebels defeated the University of New Mexico on Wednesday night at Cox Pavilion, 57-48, holding the visiting Lobos to 31 percent shooting and gaining sole possession of fourth place in the Mountain West Conference standings.

UNLV's leading scorer Dakota Gonzalez came out aggressively, converting on a conventional three-point play in the early going. After an errant Brooke Johnson pass allowed New Mexico to come back and tie it up, Johnson made amends on the very next possession with an impressive hustle play to negate a New Mexico layup attempt in transition.  Moments later, Johnson would again show her customary tenacity on the defensive end, as she snuffed out another Lobos shot attempt despite being beaten initially off the dribble.

Sophomore guard Nikki Wheatley was able to show that she is still adept at breaking the opposition’s perimeter defense down even while nursing her shoulder injury, as she converted on a nice pull-up jumper just prior to the first quarter horn to give the Lady Rebels a one-point lead after one frame, 8-7.

In the second quarter, it was New Mexico guard Cherise Beynon who would open things up, converting on a contested three from the wing.

UNLV quickly mounted a response, as sophomore guard Dylan Gonzalez hit a trifecta from the corner. Wheatley again was able to flash her considerable grit and athleticism -- belying her diminutive stature -- in corralling an errant Dylan Gonzalez floater in the lane and putting back the offensive rebound. Later, it was Wheatley who was the catalyst again when she pushed the tempo and fed Dylan Gonzalez who then converted on a mid-range jumper after a nice jab step and go.

Amie Callaway was the recipient of a deft touch pass from Johnson for a pretty layin to give the Lady Rebels a two-point lead with a minute to go in the half. Johnson again made things happen shortly thereafter, converting a breakaway layup after jumping in the passing lane for a sneaky theft and pushing the Lady Rebels' cushion to four.

With less than thirty seconds remaining in the half, Coach Kathy Olivier’s squad again showed great defensive cohesion in rotating and closing out well to limit the Lobos to a contested, desperation heave to finish the half, as the home team held on for a 24-20 lead.

In the third quarter, Johnson was the beneficiary of a nice Dakota Gonzalez feed, and proceeded to knock down an open trey from straight away.

New Mexico’s Jaisa Nunn continued her solid shooting, scoring on two possessions in a row. However, Callaway evidently had seen enough because on the third trip down the floor she resoundingly rejected a Nunn offering, knocking the ball off the Lobos’ lethal low post player for the turnover.

Johnson showed off her stroke again from the outside, knocking down an open trey. Still, the Lady Rebels would get themselves in a bit of trouble in the third frame, picking up some fouls on a few dubious calls by the officiating crew, much to the dismay of the Vegas home crowd.

UNLV managed to hold on to a five-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, and Dakota Gonzalez tried to crush the Lobos’ waning spirit early in the final frame, connecting on a nice contested layup after making a theft, and then following that play with a nice hanging pull-up jumper in transition.

Nunn would do her best to keep her team close, connecting on a nice jump hook. Not to be outdone, the Lady Rebs frontcourt pair of seniors worked the high post-low post game beautifully, as Callaway delivered a fantastic touch pass to Aley Rohde who sealed off her defender masterfully and converted the easy lay-in. Moments later, Rohde pushed the lead to thirteen at 47-34, before fouling out on yet another questionable call.

Johnson would take things into her own hands as she aggressively slithered her way through the suddenly porous Lobos' defense and then dropped off a nice dime to Jordyn Bell for the layup.

Lobos senior guard Bryce Owens showed that things weren’t quite settled just yet, hitting on back-to-back baseline jumpers to cut the deficit to eight. Johnson was able to answer again for the Rebels though, sinking a tough, contested runner to push the lead back to 11.

That would be the final advantage at the horn, as UNLV closed things out for a 57-48 final score to secure their ninth home win on the season.

By Kweku Turkson
Staff Reporter for TheDailySportsHerald.com

No comments:

Post a Comment

We encourage all intelligent, passionate comments. Please refrain from any ignorant, racist, or offensive rants.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...