Hot Start Fuels Fresno State to Victory Over UNLV
LAS VEGAS - Fresno State, the defending Mountain West Women's Basketball tournament champion, jumped out to a 24-7 lead early in the first half of its 2014 Reese's MW Women's Basketball Championship quarterfinal round game against UNLV and went on to win 80-65 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The No. 2 Bulldogs (20-10), who have won at least 20 games for the seventh consecutive season, will face either No. 3 Nevada (17-12) or No. 6 San Diego State (13-16) in Friday's second semifinal contest. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. PT. The Lady Rebels fell to 13-19 with the loss.
"We feel really fortunate and excited to advance," said Fresno State head coach Reagan Pebley, who remains unbeaten (4-0) in the MW tournament. "This was a very tough match-up and I think every game in the tournament has been a fight and that's a credit to the Conference. We talked about it; anyone can beat anyone and you have to come out focused and prepared, and I thought we did that."
Fresno State attacked UNLV from the perimeter with success in the first half, hitting four of its first five attempts from three-point range. The Bulldogs made six threes in the first 20 minutes and 10 for the game. It's the seventh time this season Fresno State has knocked down 10 or more three-pointers in a game. They led 36-26 at halftime.
Five different players scored in double figures for Fresno State, the first time all season they accomplished that feat. Senior guard Bree Farley led the way with 17 points, followed by senior guard Taylor Thompson (15 points), junior forward Alex Sheedy (15 points), sophomore guard Moriah Faulk (15 points) and junior guard Alex Furr (11 points). The Bulldogs had assists on 20 of their 27 made field goals and led by as many as 20 points in the second half.
"UNLV put everything at us, zone, man and we responded well to that," Thompson said.
For the Lady Rebels, junior guard Danielle Miller paced the squad with 18 points. Sophomore forward Réjane Vérin recorded her seventh double-double of the season (15 points, 13 rebounds). Senior guard Mia Bell (11 points) also reached double figures.
"I thought we battled," said UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. "It was just difficult to give up the points we did in the beginning. They were really hot in the beginning and it's hard to continually fight back from that."