UNLV Pulls Away Late From Pacific Women’s Hoops, 56-44
Host UNLV used a 12-2 run to open the second half and hand Pacific a 56-44 loss in the consolation game of the Hyatt Place Lady Rebel Round Up Saturday at Cox Pavilion. Sophomore Jordan Rogers (Sparks, Nev.) picked up 10 rebounds for the second-straight day, but the Tigers couldn't over-come the second half run by the Rebels to fall to 2-4 on the season.
UNLV (4-1) was led by Jamie Smith's 17 points and 10 rebounds. The Rebel forward went 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
Each team played defense which gave the opposing offense fits, however the Tigers often relied on fouling the UNLV post players to deny them opportunities to the rim, and the Rebels made Pacific pay at the foul line, connected on 24-of-35 from the charity stripe.
Pacific out-shot UNLV, by a margin of 30.9 percent (17-of-55) to 30 percent (15-of-50), and held a 44-42 rebounding edge, but the Tigers were bitten by 24 turnovers. UNLV only converted those miscues into 13 points, but the Tigers couldn't get back into the ballgame on the offensive end after UNLV's big run to open the second half.
"UNLV played really well in the second half, so we have to give them credit, they made halftime adjustments," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "We have to stop beating ourselves with turnovers and fouls, but overall this tournament was a good experience for us. We know our shooting will come around, but with such a young team, a tournament like this helps our learning process. We need to improve upon the turnovers and playing defense without fouling, but I'm confident that this is going to help us as we continue to grow and get better as we build towards big west play."
Sophomore forward Kendal Rodriguez (La Habra, Calif.) added eight points with five rebounds and a steal, while a trio of Tigers finished with six points each. Freshman forward Danielle Peacon (Sparks, Nev.) scored six points with six rebounds, while freshman guard Gena Johnson (Elk Grove, Calif.) provided six points and senior guard Jennifer Fath (Carrollton, Texas) tallied six points with two assists.
The first half featured seven ties and 10 lead-changes after Pacific opened with a 9-2 lead on three-pointer from Rogers. UNLV whittled the margin down to 9-8 and took the lead for the first time on a pair of Smith free throws with 9:59 to go in the half.
Sophomore guard Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) knocked down a jumper to give Pacific a 21-20 lead with 4:41 to go in the half, but a free throw from UNLV's Erica Helms knotted the game for the fifth time with 3:29 left. After Fath's lay-up put the Tigers up two, Tia Morrison's putback tied the game at 23 each and the Tigers closed the half with a pair of free throws from junior forward Christina Thompson (Sacramento, Calif.), while the Rebels Markiell Styles' lay-up with 1:13 to go sent the game into intermission tied at 25-25.
Rodriguez opened the second half with a layup, but UNLV rattled off 12-straight points to take a 37-27 lead on a jumper by Smith with 14:09 to go in the half. Pacific came up empty on the offensive end with five straight missed shots and a turnover, and the Tigers couldn't recover.
Pacific narrowed the margin to three on lay-up from Peacon with 9:51 to go in the ballgame, but the Tigers would get no closer. After a pair of throws from Smith, Morrison got position inside and finished to put UNLV back up seven.
Johnson knocked down a three-pointer to cut the gap back to five with 5:56 left in the game, but Kelli Thompson hit a pair of free throws and after the Tigers came up empty on their next possession, Lenita Sanford got to the line and knocked down two shots, Pacific turned the ball over and Thompson's lay-up put UNLV up by double-digits with under two-minutes to go, 50-39. Rogers added a lay-up to pull within 50-41, but UNLV hit six consecutive free throws in the final minute to take their largest lead of the game with 28 seconds remaining. Johnson's three-pointer with 19 seconds left provided the final margin at 56-44 as the Tigers dropped their third straight on the road.
Thompson finished with 15 points for the Lady Rebels, while Sanford added six points, five boards and three blocked shots.
Pacific is back in action on Wednesday, Dec. 1 at home against Fresno State. Tip-off will be at 5 p.m. in a double-header with the Tigers men's team, which takes on Pepperdine in the night cap.