Lady Rebels blowout Bulldogs in Mountain West Conference Championship Quarterfinal

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UNLV’s Nneka Obiazor (1) shoots from in the paint during the Mountain West Conference tournament against Fresno State on March 11, 2024 in Las Vegas. (Kalin Sipes/ Scarlet & Gray Free Press)

No. 21-ranked UNLV Women’s Basketball defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs 83-35 on March 11 to advance to the Mountain West Championship Semifinal.

“I thought our team played well,” UNLV head coach Lindy La Rocque said. “I thought they had great intention and focus to come out and get the job done.”

The Lady Rebels entered the tournament red hot, scoring 100 or more points in its last two games of the regular season against San Diego State and Utah State. 

Alyssa Brown controlled the paint as usual, grabbing nine rebounds. She was also explosive from beyond the arc, shooting a perfect 3-of-3 from deep.

“[Brown] was in rhythm, and that really helps us,” La Rocque said.

Brown and the Lady Rebels shot exceptionally from beyond the arc, shooting 12-21 against the Bulldogs.

“I thought we took the right shots,” La Rocque said. “Alyssa Durazo-Frescas got some good looks and knocked them down. Amarachi got some good ones… We don’t just settle and kind of jack up a bunch of threes, but when you get great looks and we’ve got great shooters, they’re very capable of shooting this percentage.”

Also, before entering the game, the Mountain West announced its conference awards. Desi-Rae Young won Player of the Year, and Amarachi Kimpson won Freshman of the Year and 6th Player of the Year. Along with the awards, Young, Kimpson, and Kiara Jackson were named All-Conference.

Young finished with 10 points and six rebounds, and Jackson was the floor general for the Lady Rebels, scoring 15 points, dishing out four assists, and making three steals.

Both teams started slow on offense, with only two points scored by each team in the game’s first four minutes. 

Young worked the paint, scoring a contested bank shot to put the Rebels ahead, but Mia Jacobs made a layup to tie the game midway through the first quarter.

The scoring picked up in the backend of the first half, with Jacobs splashing a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs ahead 7-6.

UNLV responded with mid-range jumpers by Ashley Scoggin and Jackson to put the Rebels ahead 10-7.

The Lady Rebels extended its lead to 19-13 and gained momentum in the closing minutes of the quarter with a corner 3-pointer by Brown and a buzzer-beater by Jackson.

“Rachi was playing great defense,” Jackson said. “She made her cough it up, and I was right there, and I was like, oh, shoot, I have to shoot it, and I threw it up there.”

UNLV kept the foot on the gas in the second quarter with 3-pointers by Kimpson and Brown in the Lady Rebels first two possessions.

Brown helped extend the Lady Rebels’ lead with a dive to keep the ball in play, finding Alyssa Durazo-Frescas wide-open for a 3-pointer. 

The Lady Rebels pulled away in the second quarter by controlling the game on offense and defense. UNLV finished the half ahead 44-20 and held the Bulldogs to shooting 9-of-31 from the field.

UNLV finished the half scoring 14 unanswered points, and they started off the second half with another 11-point run, led by two splashes from downtown by Durazo-Frescas, to extend the run to 25 points.

“Whether it’s the end of the first quarter or first half, we always want to finish strong and talk about there’s two minutes, three minutes left. Let’s get stops and scores,” La Rocque said. “Then, of course, coming out of halftime, it’s kind of the same message of let’s start this thing out right, get some scores and some stops, and we can give ourselves some cushion.”

The Lady Rebels controlled the second half and cruised to victory, defeating the Fresno State Bulldogs 83-35.

Up Next

The Lady Rebels advance to the Semifinals, where they will face the winner of Colorado State and Nevada on March 12. Tip-off will be at 5 p.m.

“Proud of our group,” La Rocque said. “We got everyone in. No one played major minutes. We’re moving on to the next round, so that’s the best thing.”

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