UNLV Lady Rebels returned home for their third game of the week, where they defeated rival UNR for the third consecutive win. The girls rallied together defensively with flat-footed blocks in the last quarter, to hold on and beat the Wolfpack 62-57.
The Lady Rebels did not allow the Wolfpack to score at all for the first five minutes of the game and continued to keep a lead, scoring in the last second of the first quarter for a square of 16-14.
"I knew it was gonna be passionate. I knew it was going to be competitive. Obviously, I’ve kind of seen the number of these games. It was different. It has a different gritty feel to it. Even without fans, you can feel it,” Head Coach Linda La Rocque said. “I was really kind of enjoying it and making sure to put our team in positions to be successful.”
UNLV held onto their two-point lead, as they entered halftime with a score of 26-24. They returned to the court, prepared to show a more aggressive defensive side to their game.
Redshirt senior Bailey Thomas exhausted herself throughout the game, as the Wolfpack pressured her into making moves. She was able to make smart plays and passes under the pressure in order to ensure the win of the night.
Nia Johnson was the team’s top scorer, racking up a total of 28 points with six rebounds. Joining Johnson in double-figures was Bailey Thomas with 13, and Delaynie Byrne with 10, along with a game-high nine rebounds. Byrne also posted a career-high six blocks.
"The whole game feels like it’s the last second of the game. That’s what a rivalry game feels like,” Coach La Rocque said. “Every possession feels like the game-winning possession. I think our team did a really good job at adjusting to it. For having such a young team, young inexperienced players, they aren’t anymore. So I’m really proud of them.”
The Lady Rebels hope to improve their play on both sides of the ball in their second game against UNR on Monday. They hope to increase their shooting percentage, after just shooting 35.1% from the floor tonight.
Monday's game against the Wolfpack tips off at 1 pm at Cox Pavilion.