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Lady Reb’s sweep over Fresno secures second place heading into tournament

UNLV’s dramatic comeback in the closing minutes against Fresno State ended in a wild 75-74 finish that ended with a sweep for the away team.


Fresno State’s Hanna Cavinder made a layup with 2:50 remaining in the fourth quarter to put the Bulldogs up 74-66.


That would be the final basket scored by Fresno in the 2020-21 regular season.


The Lady Rebels scored nine unanswered points, including the game-winning layup courtesy of freshman Desi-Rae Young, who’s had an outstanding rookie season for UNLV.


Young outmuscled her defender to give UNLV the one-point lead with 13 seconds left.


She notched yet another double-double in her young UNLV career. She finished the game with 19 points on an efficient 7-of-11 shooting from the field, to go along with 10 rebounds.


Six of the 10 boards were on the offensive glass. She also had two steals and a block.


Her game-winning layup capped off a stellar rookie season, one that will certainly turn some heads for when the Mountain West awards are announced.


First-year head coach Lindy La Rocque said she was “super proud” of Young and the rest of the team for their grit. La Rocque was on edge for the final two minutes of a game that eerily resembled an indecisive pendulum.


“I could probably vomit right now,” La Rocque said. “What a roller coaster of a game, all the way to the end. When we needed to capitalize, we did.”


Young’s teammates’ Jade Thomas and Nia Johnson also contributed timely baskets in the final two minutes.


The two guards scored seven of the last nine points for the Rebels, including Johnson’s momentum-changing three-point shot with 35 seconds left.


Thomas and her sister Bailey played a team-high 40 minutes.


The starters (B. Thomas, J. Thomas, Johnson, Delaine Byrne and Young) collectively played heavy minutes as La Rocque went with an eight-man rotation in the regular season finale.


“I’m just so proud of them,” La Rocque said. “It’s still setting in. The girls poured water on me, so I’m soaking right now.”


La Rocque and the rest of the Lady Rebels will have a week to celebrate before business begins in the shape of the Mountain West Conference Tournament.


UNLV is the No. 2 seed heading into the tournament with a conference record of 13-5.


It is the second most wins in team history behind the 2017-18 Lady Rebels, who won the conference championship that season.


It is the third time the program has finished as the second seed in school history.


UNLV will square off against the winner of the No. 7 vs. No. 10 matchup on Monday, March 8 with tip-off set for 5:30 p.m.


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