Lady Rebels beat Wolf Pack to take over second place in the Mountain West
Updated: Jan 22, 2022
It hadn’t happened since 2017 but the UNLV Lady Rebels have won up north.
UNLV beat the Nevada – Reno Wolf Pack, 78-75, Saturday, Jan. 22 from the Lawlor Events Center.
Coming into the game, UNR had won seven straight home games and had not lost in the Mountain West play.
“We’re much more happy to win than we are to lose,” head coach Lindy La Rocque said. “Especially, in just an emotional, passionate game, rivalry. We talked about this before, ‘anything can happen at any point.’ We kind of felt that today – you’re never out of the game, the game is never put away.”
UNLV is 7-2 on the road this season and have now won five straight games and nine of its last 10.
With a little over a month left in the season, the team sports a 15-4 overall record with a 7-1 conference mark.
With this win, the Lady Rebels moved into sole possession of second place.
Next up, the team will return to Las Vegas for a home game against the New Mexico Lobos Thursday, Jan. 27.
“We’re just going to enjoy this here for a couple of minutes, maybe a couple of hours,” La Rocque said. “Get home and get rested – they’ve got school so they’ve got to turn the page back on that.
“The nice thing is we don’t play them until Thursday so we have three days instead of two days to prepare. We all were at the last game, we know how it finished, we know how we were able to play. And so our team is going to have a chip on their shoulder that we owe them a little bit. And obviously, it’s in our gym where we want to own our home court and take care of business.”
New Mexico beat UNLV by three in early January on a last-second three-point field goal from guard Latora Duff.
A lopsided third quarter turned a four-point deficit for the Lady Rebels into a 12-point lead for the Wolf Pack.
When UNLV turned the defense on late in the quarter, it cut the lead to as little as five points. Mainly behind UNR going scoreless for more than two minutes.
The Wolf Pack would go without points for nearly three minutes at the start of the fourth quarter.
A three-point basket from senior guard Justice Ethridge tied the game at 63.
“As a coach, you can’t ask anyone more than just to trust you with everything that they have,” La Rocque said. “And that’s Justice. Whether I ask her to do things she likes or things she doesn’t like; she does it – she tries it. We obviously know her defensive capabilities but really kind of just trusting what we’re asking her to do offensively I think is what really kind of helped her get going.”
Not long after Ethridge’s made three, the Lady Rebels would go on a 7-0 run to take control of the game.
Ethridge scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half and finished the night shooting 7-of-12 from the floor.
Sophomore center Desi-Rae Young scored eight of the team’s first 14 points and 10 in the first quarter.
In two games last season, Young was held to seven and 14 points in both games against UNR respectively.
“Well we had to have it,” La Rocque said about Young’s big first half. “For Reno, they’re very physical and very aggressive but frankly they don’t have much size. Before they kind of figured that out we kind of had to feed our beast.”
Young scored 16 of her team-high 19 points in the first half but was held to three points on 1-of-2 shooting.
Junior guard Essence Booker made her return to UNR for the first time since transferring away from the program two seasons ago.
Booker opened the game with one make on her first five attempts. She didn’t make her second basket of the game until the 1:56-mark of the second quarter.
“Actually, I thought she was really poised and level-headed,” La Rocque said. “I kind of just praise her for keeping attacking. I think the best thing was when Kiara Jackson came in and she got a little bit of a break off-the-ball.”
The third quarter saw her most output, scoring nine of her 17 points during those 10 minutes.
In addition, she went 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
Sophomore forward Nneka Obiazor added 13 points off-the-bench, becoming the fourth Lady Rebel to reach double figures.
After the game, La Rocque had something positive to say about every UNLV player that logged minutes against UNR.