Lady Rebels storm back to complete comeback against Boise State Broncos

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UNLV Lady Rebels celebrate 3-peat regular season Mountain West Conference champions. (Scarlet & Gray Free Press / DJ Cabanlong.)

UNLV Women’s Basketball defeated the Boise State Broncos 63-57 at the Cox Pavilion to improve to a 25-2 overall record and 15-1 in conference play on Feb. 28.

The Rebels entered the game as the No. 24 ranked team in the AP and Coaches Poll. This win against the Broncos gave the Rebels their 10th win in a row and the largest streak currently in the Mountain West.

“I think it’s all about our mindset and just how we come out and play,” senior center Desi Rae-Young said. “As long as we play together and we all buy in with each other, then we’ll always come out to win.”

The Rebels’ top scorer, Desi-Rae Young, had 14 points with two steals and blocks.

Kiara Jackson was a key contributor to the win, scoring four points, six rebounds, and assists.

Ashley Scoggin also shined for the Rebels defensively, getting three steals.

Both defenses were electric to start the game. Young scored a post hook to give UNLV the game’s first points with 7:18 left.

The Broncos took a big loss early when forward Elodie Lalotte sprained her ankle three minutes into the game, sidelining her for the remainder of the game.

Boise’s offense found its stride early, forcing two Rebel turnovers that led to two 3-pointers that gave the Broncos an 8-6 lead with 4:29 left.

The Rebels continued to play sloppy offensively, only scoring eight first quarter points, but the defense kept UNLV within range after trailing 14-8 after the first quarter.

Scoring came at a premium for UNLV, but a 3-pointer by Alyssa Durazo-Frescas broke a four-and-a-half-minute scoring drought for the Rebels.

Multiple missed layups halted any efficient offense for the Rebels. The Broncos took advantage and drove down the lane to score a layup, extending the lead to 21-13 with 5:50 left.

The Rebels started gaining momentum after another 3-pointer by Durazo-Frescas, followed by a bullet pass to McKinna Brackens for a layup to cut the Bronco lead to five.

Young stepped up for the Rebels, bullying her way to the basket to score a three point play with 3:53 left.

UNLV turned defense into offense, which led to a layup by Jasmyn Lott tying the game for the Rebels with just two minutes to play.

Rebel faithful erupted after two missed free throws by Mary Kay Naro gave the Rebels all the momentum heading into the backend of the second quarter.

UNLV’s ferocious defense closed the half for the Rebels, holding the Broncos to three points in the last three minutes, giving the Rebels momentum heading into halftime.

“I challenged them at halftime to just regroup, and we didn’t dig ourselves into some big hole,” said La Locque. “We did enough to kind of stay in the game. We had to regroup.”

Young started the second half strong, taking advantage of the mismatch in the paint to score two post shots giving the Rebels a 32-31 lead with 9:07 left.

The Rebels continued to relentlessly attack the basket, but the Broncos retaliated back, keeping the game close throughout the mid end of the third quarter.

Boise took advantage of UNLV’s careless decision making, forcing two inbound turnovers that led to multiple fastbreak baskets.

Alyssa Brown sparked some offense for the Rebels, draining a 3-point shot to cut the Broncos lead to 44-41 with 2:31 left.

Lott continued to shine off the bench for the Rebels, scoring a pull-up jumpshot to close out the third quarter, making the score 49-46.

The Rebels started the quarter working through Young, scoring and playmaking for her teammates to cut the Bronco lead to one with 7:27 left.

Jackson drove down the lane to draw a foul and convert two free throws. The Rebels forced another stop, and Young responded with a turn around shot to take a 53-50 lead with 6:23 left.

Cox Pavilion erupted with Rebel chants as the Rebels went on a 6-0 run to force the Broncos to call for a timeout.

The Broncos offense went stagnant, going on a 5:46 minute scoring drought. Tatum Thompson finally broke the ice, cutting the Rebel lead to three with 2:27 left.

With just under two minutes to play, Amarachi Kimpson stepped up in the clutch, scoring a jump shot and a layup to give the Rebels their biggest lead of the game.

“She has all the skills to make big time plays, and we trust her,” said La Rocque. “She’s playing beyond her years, it’s really exciting, and, you know, fun to coach her.”

The Broncos were forced to foul five consecutive times to put the Rebels in the bonus. Kimpson went to the line and knocked down one of two free throws, giving UNLV a 63-57 lead with just under 30 seconds to play. One final clutch stop iced the game for the Rebels, stunning the Broncos 63-57. 

Up Next

UNLV is back at Cox Pavilion for senior night to take on the San Diego Aztecs. Tip-off will be at 2 p.m.

“I know I’m biased, but I think we deserve a sell out,” said La Rocque. “San Diego State’s a great team, we need to play well and having a great crowd would really help us.”

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