Lady Rebels open Mountain West play with 10-point win over Bulldogs
A week off before the start of Mountain West action saw the UNLV Lady Rebels open conference play 1-0.
The Lady Rebels beat the Fresno State Bulldogs, 73-63, Tuesday, Dec. 28 from SaveMart Center.
“We were off for four days,” head coach Lindy La Rocque said. “But the best thing that happened was we came back and had probably two of our best practices of the year.”
UNLV has now won six of its last seven games and hold a 9-3 overall record.
In addition, the team has won three straight games against Fresno State dating back to last season.
The lone home game in the first two weeks of conference play is next for the Lady Rebels when they host the Wyoming Cowgirls Friday, Dec. 31.
“Especially for conference play, you just have to prepare one game at a time,” La Rocque said. “We keep that our main focus along with our team trying to continue to get better. We still have different things we want to add to our playbook while scouting our opponents.” Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m. from the Cox Pavilion.
Last season’s UNLV squad went 13-5 in the Mountain West.
Despite sweeping the season series away from the Bulldogs last year, the Lady Rebels won both games by a combined three points.
In the second game, Fresno State rallied back from 21 points down to take the lead briefly in the second half.
“We talked at halftime and we played a great first half and we were really proud of it,” La Rocque said. “Our defense was just top notch and we knew they were going to come out with some runs and throw some punches. In a lot of ways, that’s what the game is about.”
This time around, UNLV saw a 15-point lead dip to as low as four points after the Lady Rebels opened the third quarter scoreless for more than five minutes.
Fresno State won the third quarter 20-9 after UNLV was up 15 at halftime.
Twenty seconds into the fourth quarter, Lady Rebels sophomore center Desi-Rae Young and Bulldogs senior forward Wytalla Motta got tangled up.
The slight dustup forced Motta to leave the floor with a bloody nose.
“I don’t even totally focus on the other team like that,” La Rocque said. “I think it was more about our focus going into the fourth quarter and less [about] who they had on the court.”
Young proceeded to score the next eight points for UNLV with Motta off the floor.
In the first quarter, Young was undercut on a box underneath the basket resulting in her landing on her tailbone.
“It wasn’t a dirty play I don’t think,” La Rocque said. “It was just kind of an unfortunate situation. I don’t think it totally affected Desi obviously right at the moment I think she was pretty shook because she fell pretty hard. But our trainer does a great job and kind of put her back together, got her back in the game but she made some crucial plays after then.”
Young finished with 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting to go along with nine rebounds.
Freshman guard Alyssa Durazo-Frescas was a constant for the Lady Rebels offense, posting career numbers in her first collegiate conference game.
“We know how talented of a shooter Alyssa is,” La Rocque said. “And frankly, I think a lot of people do – and maybe that’s why she hadn’t kind of exploded yet. But I think it was a little bit of the perfect storm: Fresno State plays a zone that they’ve played for years so I knew if we were able to move the ball, get the ball inside and kick it out that this would probably be the game where she’d have some of the cleanest looks she’s had all year.”
Durazo-Frescas scored a career-high 18 points, going 6-of-9 from three-point range along with a career-high six rebounds.
As a team, UNLV shot 10-of-17 from long range while holding Fresno State to 8-of-21.