Lady Rebels show no rust in exhibition route over Chico State

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UNLV senior guard Essence Booker looks to score against Colorado State in the 2022 Mountain West Tournament last March. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

After last season’s success, the UNLV women’s basketball team showed no signs of slowing down in their 114-53 win over the Chico State Wildcats last Wednesday.

“Our key for the game tonight was we want to play hard, we want to play together,” associate head coach Roman Owen said after the game. “I think we accomplished both of those things tonight.”

The new starting lineup for the Lady Rebels sees Nneka Obiazor join alongside last year’s starters Desi-Rae Young, Essence Booker, Justice Ethridge and Alyssa Durazo-Frescas.

That lineup asserted their dominance early, scoring the first seven points of the game. Those scores came thanks to two layups from Young and a three-pointer from Durazo-Frescas, which would be a theme throughout. 

Chico State’s Brandy Huffhines scored a jump shot to make the score 7-2, but then the route began. The Lady Rebels scored 20 straight points to increase their lead to 27-2.

During the first quarter, Alyssa Brown came off the bench for the Lady Rebels and scored four points. Kiara Jackson and Kenadee Winfrey also made appearances off the bench. UNLV was ahead handily in the first quarter, 38-8.

The second quarter was more of the same. The Lady Rebels began the quarter on a 7-0 run and got solid production from their bigs Brown and Keyana Wilfred, who combined for 10 points and four assists. At halftime, the score stood at 71-28.

The third quarter began slowly for the Lady Rebels who missed their first five shots. However, they did pick up the pace and outscored the Wildcats 25-9 in the third. The score was 96-37 after three quarters.

In the fourth quarter, the Lady Rebels slightly took their foot off the gas as they only won this quarter 18-16. Seven of those 18 points came from Ethridge. Freshman Erica Collins also made her debut, scoring less than a minute after entering the game. The game ended with a final score of 114-53.

The Lady Rebels outscored the Wildcats 60-26 on points in the paint. Additionally, the Lady Rebels finished with a 57-31 rebounding advantage, which is something Owen says the team focuses on.

“It’s a huge part of our identity, it’s what we have done the last two years in the conference,” Owen said. “We implore two post players where a lot of teams in our league play a lot of four guards. If that’s going to be the case then we have to take care of business on the glass and outrebound them.”  

Durazo-Frescas finished with a game-high 21 points on 5-8 shooting from three-point range. Last season, Durazo-Frescas set UNLV’s single-season three-point record as a freshman. 

“I think it’s just God’s work, to be honest, and I think it’s a lot of hard work. My mom always got me in the gym early mornings, late nights, and these coaches believe in me and I know that,” Durazo-Frescas said. “It’s a lot of confidence and I have confidence in myself and the team and they know when to find me and I know when to shoot the ball.”

Other notable performances included Brown, who recorded the only double-double of the game with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and new players Ashley Scoggin and Jasmyn Lott who both scored eight points.

The Lady Rebels will open their season on Nov. 7 at home against Pepperdine. They remain at home to play on Nov. 11 against Oral Roberts for Veterans Day/Military Appreciation Game.

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