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Lady Rebels cruise to victory against Pepperdine in opener

Monday marked the beginning of UNLV’s Mountain West title defense which is off to a 1-0 start.

The team took care of business on its home floor Monday, Nov. 7 as they defeated the Pepperdine Waves, 81-58.

The Lady Rebels will look to improve that to a 2-0 start on Friday as they welcome in Oral Roberts to the Cox Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.

With head coach Lindy La Rocque and her husband, Dan, welcoming their newborn daughter into the world Thursday, Nov. 3, associate head coach Roman Owen was in the lead chair for Monday’s contest.

“The baby had its own plans coming three weeks early,” Owen said. “All that matters is the health and safety of coach and [La Rocque’s newborn daughter] Ellie and that’s all we really cared about.”

Owen continued by giving credit to assistant coaches Mia Bell and Karlie Burris who have assisted with the preparation in practices.

“We already know what we’re supposed to do,” senior guard Justice Ethridge said. “It’s the same gameplan and we play our same game with or without him or Lindy or any of the other coaches. They all fill in for each other pretty [well].”

Ethridge finished the evening with 17 points which included 5-for-7 from three-point range and led all players in the game in rebounding with 10.

Senior guard Essence Booker led the team in scoring with 18 points in the season opener.

“I feel like [Owen is] very aggressive, but I feel like we need it,” Booker said. “Lindy gives us a lot of grace, he does as well. He just wants to win and he’s very passionate and I feel like it rubs off on us.”

One thing that stood out early in this game was turnovers. UNLV committed seven turnovers in the first 11 minutes of the game and finished the night with 14 turnovers. The UNLV defense forced Pepperdine into 18 turnovers overall.

“We can’t tell them to go full speed, go full speed, go full speed and not expect a couple of mistakes,” Owen said. “You watch quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen and those coaches live with one or two mistakes because they know they’re going to get five or six great plays. With this team coming back with a lot of firepower, if they make a couple mistakes, oh well because we know we’re going to get four or five great plays after that.”

Another key component that is back from last year is the team’s consistent scoring throughout the entirety of the game. The Lady Rebels outscored Pepperdine in each of the four quarters.

After trading baskets in the opening three minutes of the game, UNLV used an 18-9 run in the final seven minutes of the first quarter and then opened the second quarter on a 12-3 run through the first 5:26 of the second to jump out to a 17-point lead.

Some other notable stats from Monday’s game include that UNLV generated 20 points off turnovers to Pepperdine’s 10. The Lady Rebels also scored 12 second-chance points to the Waves’ two. UNLV’s bench also outscored Pepperdine’s 19-10.


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