Lady Rebels dominate in opening game of UNLV Thanksgiving Tournament

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UNLV guard Justice Ethridge drives past a Pepperdine defender in the Lady Rebels' Nov. 7 game. Photo by Paxtyn Graham.

The UNLV women’s basketball team beat the University of Albany 78-55 in another dominant showing to open the UNLV Thanksgiving Tournament on Friday.

The Lady Rebels’ success in this game can be partially attributed to Nneka Obiazor’s dominant performance.

She scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while shooting an efficient 50 percent from the field and 3-point range. 

The 12 rebounds are a career-high for Obiazor. It’s also the difference between the two teams in their rebounding numbers, UNLV’s 42 rebounds to Albany’s 30.

Obiazor’s performance didn’t shock head coach Lindy La Rocque who confirmed the trust she has in Obiazor and the rest of the team.

“I thought Nneka was fantastic,” La Rocque said. “She was playing really hard. That’s what we kind of expect when someone’s number is called.”

UNLV’s defense shined in the first quarter, as they held a 19-8 advantage after the first ten minutes. It was more of the same in the second quarter, as UNLV led 45-22 at the half and led by as many as 31 points.

The win on Friday was even more impressive considering the Lady Rebel’s points, rebound and assist leader Desi-Rae Young had an off night considering her season averages entering the tournament.

Young scored eight points seven rebounds and two assists against the Great Danes, a far cry from her current 17.2 points per game, 8.8 rebounds per game and 4 assists per game.

However, the team stepped up with four different players scoring double digits and shooting an efficient 44.4% from the field and 82.4% from the free-throw line.

The Lady Rebels didn’t let the University of Albany in the game from the first quarter, outscoring the Great Danes in the first three quarters.

UNLV had the advantage in the hustle stats, with fewer turnovers, more blocks, more assists and more rebounds than Albany. It’s something that the Lady Rebels have consistently done throughout the season and it’s clear that isn’t going to stop.

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