The UNLV Lady Rebels improved their conference record to 8-0 after defeating the Wyoming Cowgirls 71-59 on Thursday.
It is the first time since 2012 that the Lady Rebels have defeated the Cowgirls in Wyoming. This improved their conference record to (8-0) and their overall record to (18-2).
“The toughest place to play for sure in our league and, I would say, on the West Coast, is playing at Wyoming,” head coach Lindy La Rocque said. “I do not know if anyone comes in here more often than not and wins.”
Essence Booker led the Lady Rebels in scoring, with 20 points, and finished the game with four steals and two assists. The Lady Rebels finished the night shooting 27-54 and 5-14 from beyond the arc.
The game started with both teams trading buckets until midway through the first quarter. Then, the momentum shifted to UNLV when Booker forced a turnover, leading to Alyssa Brown knocking down a 3-pointer.
With the game tied 18-18, Jasmyn Lott drove to the basket to break the tie with 1:27 remaining in the first quarter.
The Lady Rebels held the lead at the end of the first quarter, 20-18. However, Desi-Rae Young got into foul trouble after committing her second foul of the game late in the first quarter.
While Young sat on the bench for foul trouble in the second quarter, the Lady Rebels held the Cowgirls to scoring only eight points, maintaining their lead.
“Our team did a heck of a job again,” La Rocque said. “I think it helped us being in the zone defense.”
Lott made a pull-up jumper at the buzzer that made the score 30-26 at the end of the first half.
The Lady Rebels took control of the game with a 15-0 run in the third quarter. Alyssa Durazo-Frescas and Young combined for 12 points in the run.
“I think a couple of those threes from Durazo-Frescas are huge because it creates some separation,” La Rocque said. “We strung together some defensive stops and rebounds that stretched the lead, and I am just really proud of our team for not letting it go.”
The third quarter ended with the Lady Rebels on top 48-35.
In the fourth quarter, the Cowgirls gained momentum, led by Tommi Olson, after gaining three 3-pointers. The Cowgirls cut the deficit to 58-50 with under five minutes to go in the game.
UNLV countered the Cowgirls’ comeback with a 7-0 run led by Booker to seal the game 71-59.
“Essence is our point guard. I trust her. The ball has to be in her hands. To be honest, regardless of how she’s done in the game or what has been going on lately,” La Rocque said, “I just trust her and our team trusts her to make the right plays.”
The Lady Rebels will travel to Fort Collins, Colorado to face off against the Colorado State Rams on Jan. 21 at noon. The Lady Rebels won their previous game against the Rams 91-88 in overtime.