The UNLV Lady Rebels finished their road trip strong and stayed undefeated in conference play as they earned a regular season sweep defeating Colorado State Rams 63-58 on Saturday to improve their record to 19-2.
The Lady Rebels defeated the Rams in overtime 91-88 in their first meeting on New Year’s Eve. McKenna Hofschild scored 37 points in that first meeting. The Lady Rebels were able to keep her in check on Saturday, holding her to 17 points.
Essence Booker continues her hot streak, scoring over twenty points for the second straight game. She finished the day with 10 rebounds and 25 points.
“I think even like everyday practice gameplay. You know, and she’s kind of got that look in her eye that a senior does have,” head coach Lindy La Rocque said. “She’s gonna do whatever it takes. And she was aggressive today.”
Booker’s 10 rebounds was the second highest rebounding total of the game behind Desi-Rae Young’s 12 rebounds.
“I think the rebounding piece was the biggest thing for me.” La Rocque said.
The first quarter started to shape out similar to the previous game with offensive fireworks.
The Lady Rebels took an eight-point lead midway through the first quarter with a mid-range jumper by Alyssa Brown. Sydney Mech and Hofschild rallied the Rams within three with an 8-0 run. The quarter ended with the Lady Rebels on top 20-17.
Booker started to heat up in the second quarter, scoring half of the Lady Rebels points in the quarter. The Rams were keeping up with Booker, trading off baskets until the first half ended 36-33.
The Lady Rebels started the second half with a 6-0 run, taking the largest lead of the game early in the third quarter. Late in the third quarter, The Lady Rebels made good on their second chance opportunities from offensive rebounds and drew fouls to hold onto a 52-45 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Both teams struggled to find their shot in the fourth quarter and zero points were scored for the first three minutes.
Hofschild and the Rams battled to keep the game close in the fourth quarter. The Rams defense was efficient, holding the Rebels to only 11 points in the fourth quarter.
Booker made a fade away from mid range at the shot clock buzzer, which was waived. This resulted in the Rams staying within two positions with under two minutes to go.
At the end of the fourth quarter the Lady Rebels put emphasis on driving to the hoop and drawing fouls instead of trying to defeat the Rams from jump shots.
“I thought we settled for a few too many outside jump shots there early in the quarter,” La Rocque said. “We got back to attacking the basket and finished the game strong.”
Young drew a foul after an offensive rebound, resulting in her making one of her two free throws and extending to a five point lead with 16.2 seconds to go.
Hofschild made a mid range shot with 10.1 seconds remaining to cut the score to within three.
Booker was immediately fouled after Hofschild’s mid range shot and she made both of her free throws to seal the game with the score 63-58.
The Lady Rebels will have a week of rest before they play their next game against the Nevada Wolfpack at the Cox Pavilion on Saturday Jan. 28 at 2 p.m.