La Rocque improves to 5-0 versus Air Force as UNLV wins by 40-plus
A forty-point win over a conference foe have propelled the UNLV Lady Rebels to 20 games over .500 as it increased their win streak to the longest it's been in 30 years.
UNLV downed Air Force, 98-57, on the road Saturday, Feb. 4 from Clune Arena to run its win streak to 13 games, the longest streak since the 1992-93 season.
“I think you might be the only one keeping track of the win streak,” head coach Lindy La Rocque said. “We’re just kind of focused on the next game and we want to win the next game. That’s the approach that we’ve taken and here we are.”
La Rocque is now 5-0 in her head coaching career against the Falcons with an average win margin of 21.5 points per game. Moreover, the Lady Rebels wrapped up their two-game road trip to improve to 9-2 away from Las Vegas this season.
Overall, UNLV is now 22-2 on the year with a 12-0 mark in the Mountain West.
“We’re getting closer,” La Rocque said. “As a good team, we want to keep getting better each and every game. No championships are won in November and December.”
As the team returns home, the Lady Rebels will host the Fresno State Bulldogs Thursday, Feb. 9 from the Cox Pavilion with tip-off scheduled for 5 p.m.
It was another third quarter kill for UNLV as it took the opportunity to finish off Air Force prior to the final 10 minutes of play. A 19-5 start coming out of halftime, helped the Lady Rebels push their 13-point halftime lead to 27 points and eventually 29 points.
By the end of the third quarter, UNLV won the frame, 27-14.
During the first half, the Lady Rebels shot better than 50% from the field while holding its opponent to 35% shooting. While both teams shot 4-of-9 from three-point range, the Lady Rebels excelled inside the arc, going 15-for-28 in the process. On the other end, the Falcons were limited to just eight makes on 25 field goal attempts.
In the fourth quarter, the lead would be extended to 41 points, the eventual finishing margin. Additionally, Air Force went without a point for the final 3:23 of regulation.
“At this point of the year, the focus is on us,” La Rocque said. “We prepare for our opponent and we have a scouting report but the focus is on us to improve. A game is better than practice and it’s another opportunity to improve so we want to do the right thing.”
Senior guard Justice Ethridge shared a team-high 18 points after 8-for-10 performance from the field including two made threes. Her first made trey ball pushed the UNLV lead to 22 points for the first time in the third quarter before her second three increased the lead to more than 30.
Sophomore guard Kiara Jackson had it going from the start hitting a buzzer-beater in the first quarter and followed that up with two second quarter threes. Jackson shared the team-high of 18 points with Ethridge. She also added five rebounds and four assists.
“I thought she was awesome,” La Rocque said. “We knew coming into the game there was going to be a lot on our guards just to handle the pressure and get to the basket. So I was hoping this was a game for her to get her groove back and really be aggressive and I’m glad she did.”
Senior guard Essence Booker added 15 points on 50% shooting from the field.
Junior center Desi-Rae Young picked up her fourth straight double-double and 14th total in the first half. Young finished 17 points and 15 rebounds.
Young’s output helped the Lady Rebels win the rebounding battle, 47-26, over the Falcons. This included a 12-7 advantage in the offensive rebound department resulting in 15 second chance points versus just three for the home team.
Sophomore forward Alyssa Brown chipped in with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting with six rebounds.
As a result, UNLV won the points in the paint category, 60-22.