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Offensive firepower leads Lady Rebels to 12th straight W

At this point of the season, it’s hard for the UNLV Lady Rebels to find more ‘firsts’ to accomplish as a team.

However, they keep finding ways. UNLV beat San Jose State, 104-63, Saturday, Feb. 19 from the Thomas & Mack Center. The 104 points are the most scored by the team since March of 1994.

“We were just excited,” junior forward Keyana Wilfred said. “I feel like the job is never done so it’s not overly crazy like it was a national championship or anything. The most important game is the next game, that’s our mindset.”

The win secured a season sweep of the Spartans for the Lady Rebels.

It’s now 12 straight wins for the program, sitting at 22-4 on the year and 14-1 in the Mountain West.

In addition, the team is 12-1 at home this season with a two-game road trip looming.

“Well, we wanted to win today,” La Rocque said. “Then we’ll take a day off and then look toward Wyoming. Obviously, we’ve played them before but they had some COVID issues so they had some players out. And again, that was last year, literally. They’re a much different team, I think they’re playing really well – I think we’re playing well so they’re probably saying the same thing.”

Wilfred added that the team is “intentional” as it moves toward postseason play.

The trip starts in Laramie, Wyoming when UNLV will take on the Wyoming Cowgirls Thursday, Feb. 24.

Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

This season, La Rocque’s club is 9-2 on the road this season and 18-2 in her nearly two-year tenure.

For the second consecutive game, the Lady Rebels had five players score in double-figures.

“I thought we had some really good offensive flow today,” La Rocque said. “Credit our point guards – it starts with our transition break. We had wings running our lanes [...] We were playing how we really like to play, especially once we started rebounding better in the second half.”

The ball spreading started early with the first six players of the game scoring points.

Before halftime, four players were in double-figures in sophomore paint players Desi-Rae Young and Nneka Obiazor and senior leaders Justice Ethridge and Khayla Rooks.

Ethridge led the team with 18 points on 6-of-10 from the field with four made threes.

Junior guard Essence Booker became the fifth player to reach double-digits early in the second half.

UNLV tallied 28 assists on 41 made field goals.

“It just starts with our discipline,” Wilfred said. “It starts with being able to see other people open and not be selfish with the ball. Sharing with your teammates is the best part of it.”

Wilfred played a big role off-the-bench scoring a career-high nine points on 4-of-5 shooting in eight minutes.

“I feel in practice the girls on the scout team push the girls who start because you’re only as good as your weakest link,” Wilfred said. “So we push each other and all have fun with it. I think it’s because we’re so close – it’s like a sisterhood.”

Closing quarters became the exclamation point of a dominant performance, beginning with a 7-0 stretch to close the opening quarter.

Right before halftime, the team went on a 13-4 run to go into the break up 19.

A buzzer-beating three-pointer from freshman forward Alyssa Brown capped a 12-0 run at the end of the third quarter.

Lastly, the team closed the game on an 8-0 run and would lead by as many as the final margin of victory, 41.

UNLV led for 38:50 of the 40-minute ballgame.

No player played more than 28 minutes in the game with every player getting in on the action averaging about 16 minutes apiece.

“We cannot duplicate anything that was out there in practice,” La Rocque said. “That’s for the players that play a lot or the ones that are really preparing our players that play a lot. This late in the year, it's valuable rest for the ones that do have major minutes.”

As a team, UNLV shot 61% from the floor while holding San Jose State to 38%.

Moreover, the team dominated in the paint to the tune of a 54-22 advantage by the game’s conclusion.


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