Lady Rebels takes down San Diego State for 10th straight win

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Essence Booker driving to the basket past a San Diego State defender during UNLV's home game, Book scored 23 to lead the Rebels past the Aztecs in a 76-67 win. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

The UNLV Lady Rebels picked up a hard-fought victory over the San Diego State Aztecs 76-67 for their 10th straight win. 

“Our city, our university has needed this for a long time,” head coach Lindy La Rocque said. “It’s not just me—it takes a village, great players, great staff.”

Essence Booker starred for the Lady Rebels, scoring 23 points. Nneka Obiazor came up huge off the bench to add 15 points, while Desi-Rae Young scored 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

With the score at 6-6 in the first quarter, Booker completed a three-point play after scoring a layup and knocking down a free-throw to increase the lead to 9-6. 

Halfway through the first quarter, the Lady Rebels introduced Obiazor and Kiara Jackson off the bench. Both ladies added five quick points to give the Lady Rebels a slim lead at 17-13.

The Lady Rebels would close out the final four minutes of the first quarter only scoring one point. The Aztecs looked confident as the first quarter ended 18-18.

The second quarter saw both teams attempt to assert their dominance. The Aztecs took the lead after Sophia Ramos knocked down a jump shot to make it 20-19 with less than a minute gone.

Justice Ethridge swung the momentum back towards the Lady Rebels after she knocked down a three-pointer to make the score 22-20. 

Ethridge did it again with less than four minutes to go in the second quarter, drilling a three-pointer to put the Lady Rebels up 28-22.

Obiazor destroyed the Aztecs in the paint, scoring six points in the final five minutes of the second quarter. She finished with eight points for the half.

With the Lady Rebels leading the game 32-31, they completed two huge plays to end the half. 

Ethridge then made an excellent defensive play and stole the ball from the Aztecs. Booker let the clock run down and scored a jump shot with six seconds left. The first half ended 37-31 to the Lady Rebels.

The third quarter began with several missed shots and turnovers for both teams. The Aztecs heated up to go on a 14-7 run to lead the game 45-44. Kiara Edwards and Mallory Adams scored 10 of those 14 points for the Aztecs.

Then came Obiazor. She got the crowd on their feet after scoring a layup and a jump shot to put the Lady Rebels back in the lead 48-45.

Booker went into attack mode as the Aztecs remained in the game. Booker drove to the basket twice scoring two layups in the final minute as the Lady Rebels ended the third quarter up 55-49.

It looked like the Lady Rebels would finish off the Aztecs at the start of the fourth quarter as they increased their lead to 10 points.

The Aztecs went on a 9-2 run though to keep the score close at 61-58 to the Lady Rebels. Booker shifted the momentum back to the Lady Rebels as she hit a huge three to increase the lead to 64-58.

Alyssa Durazo-Frescas scored five of her eight points in the final five minutes. 

Durazo-Frescas hit a massive three-pointer to put the Lady Rebels up 70-60 and essentially kill the game off.

The Aztecs implemented a full-court press, but the Lady Rebels held on. The final score was 76-67.

Ramos finished with 18 points for the Aztecs and Adams contributed 14 points and eight rebounds.

The Lady Rebels now have two home games coming up this week. First, they take on the Fresno State Bulldogs on Feb. 16 at 6:30 p.m. followed up by the San Jose State Spartans on Feb. 19 at 1 p.m.

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