Junior Nia Johnson made the game-winning layup with two seconds left in regulation for the UNLV Lady Rebels as the team recorded its seventh road victory of the season.
UNLV beat the San Diego Aztecs, 73-71, Tuesday, Feb. 16 from Viejas Arena.
“It's near the end of the season, both these teams have played a lot of games,” head coach Lindy La Rocque said. “San Diego State is a very well-coached team, they have some really talented players and they wanted to win. They've gotten some kids back from injury in this series, we knew this was going to be a battle.”
After a long rest period for the Lady Rebels, they will finish their regular season on the road against second place Fresno State Bulldogs with two back-to-back games.
The first matchup against the Bulldogs will be Thursday, Feb. 25 and the second match up Saturday, Feb. 27.
The Lady Rebels have their eyes on taking the number one spot from Colorado State as they inch closer, now sitting one game behind the Rams.
With the win, the Lady Rebels now have an 11-5 conference record and 13-8 overall record. They are also tied for the most wins in the conference.
The Lady Rebels know what type of team they are and what team they are striving to be. They may be a young team but that has not seemed to matter much.
“I said we're going to find out what we're made of,” La Rocque said. “I couldn't be more proud of our team.”
UNLV is changing the narrative about it being inexperienced and appear to be giving La Rocque a grace period as a first-year head coach.
The team’s motivation this season has been to win now, not later.
The Lady Rebels dictate their Mountain West Tournament placement with their last two games of the season against the Bulldogs.
Offensively, the Lady Rebels had trouble making shots shooting a game-low of 34 percent from the field.
UNLV’s turnovers were not that extreme of a concern during the game with them only recording 12.
Despite the tough shooting and the turnovers the Lady Rebels were a sound team getting everybody involved during the game with 11 assists collectively and all five starters scoring in double figures.
After scoring the game-winning basket, Johnson finished the night with a double-double, 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman Desi-Rae Young recorded 20 points and 12 rebounds, collecting her fourth double-double of the season.
Sophomore Delaynie Byrne posted 11 points and nine rebounds, one rebound short of her sixth double-double.
Redshirt senior Bailey Thomas scored 12 points to go along with seven rebounds and three assists.
Her freshman sister, Jade, recorded 13 points and three rebounds in the game as well.
“After playing so well yesterday, obviously the target was on our back even bigger today,” La Rocque said. “It's not always pretty, I don't always love every single play, but sometimes you just have to find a way to win, especially down eight to start the fourth quarter.”
Defensively, the Lady Rebels came out with an aggressive mentality posting 52 rebounds and challenging every shot attempt.
They forced the Aztecs to shoot 43 percent from the field and 30 percent from the three-point line. That was a better shooting performance for the Aztecs than Monday’s matchup.
UNLV moved to second place in the nation for most free throws made after recording 349 made free throws this season.