Lady Rebels defeat Air Force to extend winning streak to seven

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Rebel Essence Booker (24) dribbles the ball down the court against Air Force defender. UNLV went on to defeat the Falcons 72-74 on Jan. 29, 2022. Photo by Lucas Peltier /// UNLV Athletics

The UNLV Lady Rebels followed up their big win against the New Mexico Lobos by defeating the Air Force Falcons 72-54. 

The win maintains the Lady Rebels spot at the top of the Mountain West.

The Lady Rebels got big contributions from their two leading scorers Essence Booker and Desi-Rae Young who both scored 16 points. Kiara Jackson also added 13 points off the bench and Alyssa Brown grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds.

“It’s been an emotional, exciting week,” head coach Lindy La Rocque said. “We kept things light yesterday to keep our legs fresh after emptying out the gas task on Thursday night.”

It appeared the Lady Rebels were still feeling the effects of Thursday night against the Lobos as they started the game slowly with several lazy plays and turnovers. 

Justice Ethridge lost the ball out of bounds, Young committed a three-second violation and Booker lost the ball to Falcons guard Cierra Winters, which eventually led to a layup for Winters.  

With the score at 4-2, the Falcons continued to play tough defense on the Lady Rebels who continued to turn the ball over. 

However, with just over five minutes to go in the first quarter, Kiara Jackson came off the bench and provided a spark for the Rebels, scoring a layup to make it 4-4.

Air Force increased its lead to 11-6, but then UNLV roared back. 

UNLV Rebels celebrate a three-pointer during the game on Jan. 29, 2022. Photo by Lucas Peltier /// UNLV Athletics

Booker scored four points and Jackson hit a three-pointer with three seconds left as the Rebels ended the first quarter on a 9-2 run. 

The first quarter ended 15-13 to the Lady Rebels.

The second quarter began badly for both teams, with turnovers and missed shots filling the box score until Booker made a jump shot almost three minutes into the quarter.

The Lady Rebels once again got energy off the bench. This time Jade Thomas and Brown contributed for UNLV. 

Thomas and Brown played excellent defense, grabbed a combined seven rebounds, and scored momentum shifting layups.

The Falcons ended the second quarter with a buzzer-beating shot. Dasha MacMillan scored to end the first half with a score of 29-23 to the Rebels.

UNLV started the third quarter much better than the previous two, with Nneka Obiazor asserting dominance inside the paint, scoring two layups.

Young and Booker dominated for the Lady Rebels, combining for 18 of the team’s 22 points in the third quarter. The third quarter ended with a score of 51-38 to UNLV.

The fourth quarter became a showcase for the Lady Rebels. Alyssa Durazo-Frescas made two three-point field goals before they began to rest their starters.

Freshman guards Kenadee Winfrey and Taylin Smith got some playing time. 

Winfrey grabbed three rebounds and Smith hit a three-pointer which got the crowd off of their feet. 

The game ended with Lady Rebels center Keyana Wilfred blocking a shot from Winters to make the final score 72-54.

UNLV swept the season series against the Falcons, winning by an average of 17 points and now leads the all-time series against the Falcons 47-5 since the teams first played in 1997.

Air Force had a balanced attack for the game. Cierra Winters scored 11 points and Kamri Heath, MacMillan, and Lauren McDonald each scored 10 points. Haley Jones also got a game-high of 15 rebounds for the Falcons.

Up Next

The Lady Rebels get some much needed rest before they travel to Utah to play Utah State on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m. 

UNLV continues its road trip on Feb. 9 playing Boise State before returning home to Cox Pavilion to play San Diego State on Feb. 12.

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