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Lady Rebels use defense to shut down Utah Valley for 3rd straight win

The UNLV Lady Rebels cruised to a third straight win Wednesday afternoon to open the 2022-23 season.

UNLV defeated the Utah Valley Wolverines 82-38 Wednesday, Nov. 16 inside the Cox Pavilion. The name of the game was defense for the Lady Rebels who allowed the fewest points of any of the team’s first three games.

“Obviously we wanted to improve on the defensive end,” head coach Lindy La Rocque said. “I think we had better attention to detail and just be really intentional and purposeful and we were committed to it so proud of their effort on both sides of the ball.”

The Lady Rebels were able to grab 27 points off 19 forced turnovers.

“Transition is how we like to play,” La Rocque said. “Obviously when we’re playing some good defense it’s easier to get out in transition when you’re getting stops and rebounding the ball, it makes playing fast and getting some early baskets easier.”

Senior guard Justice Ethridge was doing a little bit of everything for the Lady Rebels. She finished the game with six points, eight rebounds, seven assists and seven steals.

“I’ve really enjoyed how we’ve been able to play together as a team, mesh, play hard and make the right plays,” she said.

Coming off a game where the Lady Rebels gave up 84 points to the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles, UNLV made sure to get back on track defensively against a team that it beat by 10 points last season.

“After the last game I think we gave up a little too much than we usually do so defense was definitely emphasized [in] this game,” Ethridge said. “We wanted to make sure we came out and show people that we can defend.”

Looking at the offensive side of the ball, UNLV used a few key runs during the game to build on their lead which included a 20-2 run to close the first quarter, a 13-0 run in the third, and a 17-4 run in the fourth.

These runs were a collective effort and UNLV was led by a duo of Lady Rebels in the scoring column. Center Desi-Rae Young finished with 16 points and nine rebounds and Alyssa Brown finished with 15 points and four rebounds.

Two other Lady Rebels found double-figure scoring with guards Essence Booker reaching 12 points and Alyssa Durazo-Frescas collecting 11 points.

In total, nine different Lady Rebels scored in this one with none of them hit double figures until the third quarter.

“Today was a great visual of our team where we have a lot of really talented players and we were just really committed to running our offense,” La Rocque said. “It’s not necessarily just focusing on one person trying to score all the baskets but moving the ball side to side, sharing it, and making plays for each other. We want a lot of people scoring every game. The more people that can contribute, the harder we are to guard and the more efficient our offense is.”

Every Lady Rebel saw playing time today which included sophomore guard Kiara Jackson who played a total of 17 minutes, scored seven points, and finished with a plus/minus of +19. Through these first three games, Jackson has seen an increase in minutes played per game, field goal percentage, and rebounds per game from last season.

“I just feel like I’ve been working on getting stronger which I feel has helped and has been showing over the summer,” Jackson said. “My confidence has grown.”

Wednesday’s game was also the largest win of the young season for the Lady Rebels. Before this game, the largest win came in the opener vs Pepperdine where they won 81-58.

The next time the Lady Rebels take the court will be a Sunday afternoon matchup against CSU Bakersfield. Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m. inside the Cox Pavilion.

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