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Road trip rhythm continues as Lady Rebels improve to 6-2

The UNLV Lady Rebels have reeled off four wins in their last five outings including three straight following its latest win over CSU Bakersfield.

UNLV beat CSUB, 71-56, Sunday, Dec. 5 from the Icardo Center in California.

“I think obviously we still feel like we can play a lot better,” head coach Lindy La Rocque said. “But we’re going into finals week so they’re a lot of stressors, back-to-back road games, you don’t get much of a rhythm. I think we can play a lot but to come on the road and get another win, as a coach, I can’t complain about that.”

It was the third road win through the first four for a program that went undefeated away from Las Vegas last season.

Another road game is on the horizon in the form of 6-2 Texas Tech.

With finals looming and another big road coupled with it, La Rocque is aware of the line that has to be towed for the next couple of days.

“We’ve got a lot of smaller battles before then,” La Rocque said. “[I just] want to help them with all the different stressors, dealing with finals and all of that. The nice thing is we don’t play until a week from today. And by the time we play the game, finals and all that will be over.

“Obviously, we have to practice -- we’re not taking like four days off. They’ve got some other things I need them to worry about like doing well on their finals before we can turn our attention to our next game.”

With finals looming and another big road coupled with it, La Rocque is aware of the line that has to be towed for the next couple of days.

It was early dominance for the Lady Rebels against the Roadrunners, racing out to a lead as large as 16 points in the first quarter.

Even with the large lead, La Rocque sent her team into a full court press and then switched to a zone in the halfcourt.

“Well that’s how we play,” La Rocque said. “Regardless of the score, you never win the game in the first five minutes. We want to continue to play the style of play and execute our game. So we love our press and our zone, we’re going to play that a little bit every game.”

Midway through the second quarter, UNLV had built a 21-8 rebounding advantage. To that point, the team’s leading rebounders were guards Justice Ethridge (6) and Essence Booker (5).

By the end of the game, the team won the battle 56-32.

In addition, the team had only committed one turnover while forcing CSUB into five on the other end.

The Lady Rebels did not commit its second turnover until 1:14 left in the first half.

The third quarter wasn’t as successful for the team in that regard, committing five in the first five minutes of the second half.

“We did a really good job of taking care of the ball in the first half,” La Rocque said. “And then we came out and had five quick turnovers there in like three or four minutes. I think the way the game was going we have to know and expect that [the opponent] is going to amp up its pressure and really try to make us uncomfortable and I think we have to be able to manage it better.”

CSUB won that quarter 15-12 and would go down as the only quarter won by the home team.

UNLV built a lead as large as 17 points in the first half before it was cut to nine in the second quarter.

“We obviously didn’t feel like we played well,” La Rocque said. “But we also didn’t help ourselves. We missed some layups and then we missed some free throws. Those kinds of things add on to each other. We just talked about the turnovers but a missed layup has the same effect because everybody thinks it’s going in and then it doesn’t.”

Sophomore center Desi-Rae Young led the way with a career-high 22 points on 9-of-14 from the field to go with 10 rebounds.

She was the only consistent in the third quarter during a time where UNLV went 2-for-8 from the field. Young accounted for the two made field goals.

Young’s only hang ups came at the free throw line and turning the ball over.

“Well I told her, ‘I’m greedy and she should be,” La Rocque said. “Because we haven’t had someone score 30 points and she makes her free throws, she gets a 30-piece for us. Like we’ve said, she’s not missing those free throws on purpose but we know Desi is an anchor for us. If she’s scoring that’s great [but] she does so many other things that affect the game.”

Young turned the ball over five times and accounted for seven of the team’s 10 missed free throws.

Another cold streak came in the fourth quarter as the Lady Rebels started the frame 0-for-8 to open the last 10 minutes.

An and-one from Young held steady the ship.

The finishing touches were put on the game by freshman guard Kiara Jackson, who poured in 17 points with three made three-pointers.


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