In thrilling fashion, the UNLV Lady Rebels fell to the New Mexico Lobos 69-66 at the Cox Pavilion, as the Lobos hit the game-clinching 3-point shot with four seconds left in regulation.
With the loss, the nationally ranked Lady Rebels fell to a 15-2 overall record and 5-1 in conference play.
The Rebels entered the game as a Top 25 team in the AP and Coaches Poll. The Rebels also entered the matchup with a 29-game win streak against conference opponents.
The Lady Rebels top scorer was Desi-Ray Young, scoring 24 points and a season-high 17 rebounds.
“[Young] pours her heart out,” La Rocque said. “I think you see it; there’s no one more upset about this loss than she is.”
Alyssa Brown also stood out, scoring 10 points and recording seven rebounds.
Viané Cumber finished the game with 22 points and shot an efficient 6-of-11 from beyond the arc, including the game-winning shot. Aniyah Augmon also starred for the Lobos, finishing with 15 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.
UNLV started out strong, scoring the game’s first eight points, led by Young and Kiara Jackson. The early pressure led to a 15-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Rebel offense was the difference in the second quarter, shooting over 56% from the field and scoring 21 points.
The Lady Rebels were sound defensively, forcing eight turnovers in the first half allowing for multiple fast-break opportunities.
The Lady Rebels also outrebounded the Lobos 11-5, helping the Rebels take a 36-30 lead into halftime.
Cumber and Paula Reus started the third quarter hot from beyond the arc for the Lobos, knocking down 3-of-3 to cut the Rebel lead to 40-39 with 7:32 left.
Meanwhile, the Rebels struggled in the third quarter, shooting 5-of-13 from the field while recording four turnovers.
“They got some really quick defenders, and I think our guards kind of struggled to get downhill like we do,” UNLV Head Coach Lindy La Rocque said. “They played great transition defense, and that’s where we kind of got our mojo.”
The Rebels kept the game close with a buzzer-beating shot by Young to end the third, giving the Lady Rebels a 53-52 lead entering the fourth quarter.
UNLV came out in the fourth quarter with momentum, knocking down a pair of free throws and back-to-back jump shots, moving the score to 60-59 with 6:25 left.
Young kept pressure, forcing multiple misses and generating rebounds to keep the Lady Rebels in front throughout the fourth quarter.
The Rebels’ strength was seen in the paint, forcing crucial stops that transitioned into 14 points off turnovers.
Both teams went back and forth, exchanging baskets, and with four seconds left in the game, Cumber hit a game-winning 3-pointer to put the Lobos on top, 69-66.
Ashley Scoggin attempted a 3-point shot with two seconds left, but it failed to find the basket, concluding the game.
The loss spelled the Rebel’s second loss of the season and first game against a Mountain West Conference opponent.
Rocque described the loss as “upsetting” and “saw more tears in there than I’ve seen in a really long time.”
This is the first time the Lady Rebels have lost at home this season and the first time they have lost at home in over two seasons.
UNLV is back on the road to play the Boise State Broncos on Jan. 20 for a one-game road trip. Tip-off will begin at 5:30 p.m.
“I think our team is very aware that we have a lot to improve,” Rocque said. “We have plenty of time to write off these wrongs. It’s not the end of the world.”