Horned Frogs Drop Nail Biter To UNLV, 55-54

Feb. 16, 2012

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Freshman Natalie Ventress scored a career-high 25 points Wednesday night, but TCU couldn't complete the comeback as UNLV dropped the Horned Frogs at Cox Pavilion, 55-54.

Ventress scored a game-high 25 points on 8-of-18 shooting, including 5-of-10 from three. It marked the fifth time this season the freshman from Fort Worth has scored 20 + points and the 14th time she has led the Horned Frogs in scoring this season. In all, Ventress did most of her damage in the second half as she scored 20 points in the period, including four of her career-high five three-pointers to lead a furious comeback. Sophomore Latricia Lovings also had a solid showing with an eight-point, five board night.

Lenita Sanford led UNLV with 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Mia Bell also scored in double-figures with 11 points.

In all, TCU moved to 12-13 overall and 5-5 in the Mountain West, while UNLV improved to 18-8 overall and 6-4 in league play.

With 17 seconds left on the scoreboard and the Rebels leading 53-52, Briesha Wynn tried to give TCU a one-point lead after driving the lane, but her shot literally rolled in and out of the rim and UNLV cashed in on both free throws on the other end to go up by three. On a career night, Ventress tried one last time to rattle home a three from the corner, but came up long as the Rebels won for only the fourth time in 19 tries against TCU.

The Horned Frogs, who shot 52 percent from the floor in the second half, couldn't quite complete the comeback Wednesday after trailing by 15 even though the Frogs out-rebounded the Rebels, 40-36. TCU played its trademark defense for a majority of the night as they held UNLV to 35.2 percent from the field, including 20 percent on 3-of-15 shooting from three. In all, the Frogs limited UNLV's leading scorer Kelli Thompson, who coming into the game averaged double-figures in scoring, to only six points on 1-of-11 shooting.

Ventress would score the first four points of the half for TCU to bring the score to 27-21, but UNLV would continue its hot shooting to jump up by 15 on a 12-4 run at the 14:21 mark. Chelsea Prince would inch the Frogs closer though, skying towards the bucket and Ventress then proceeded to hit a mid-range jumper to inch the Frogs closer with a little over 13 minutes remaining in the second frame.

After a couple of free throws, UNLV led 40-31 at the midway point of the second period, but Ventress drilled a deep three from the corner to pull the Frogs, who were on a 7-2 run, within six with a little over 8 minutes remaining in the game.

With UNLV up 42-36, Meagan Henson and Ventress drilled back-to-back treys and the Frogs were now in business with the game tied at 42-42. The Rebels would bounce back, scoring the next four to regain the lead, but Latricia Lovings powered home a layup to bring the Frogs within two at 46-44 with 3 minutes, 54 seconds remaining in the game.

The two teams would trade free throws back-and-fourth and the Frogs would tie game at 46-46, but UNLV jumped back on top by five with 2:02 left before Ventress tickled the twine on back-to-back trips to move back within one at 53-52 down the stretch.

With 17 seconds left, Wynn tried one last time to give TCU its first lead in the game since the closing minutes of the first half, but the sophomore couldn't connect from in close. Trailing by three, Ventress appeared to have tied the game at 55-55, but her shot sailed long and UNLV was able to escape with its first win ever over the Frogs at Cox Pavilion.

Prince got the Frogs rolling early, picking the pocket of a UNLV offensive player and driving coast-to-coast for the bucket. A few moments later, Antoinette Thompson found Lovings down low to give the Frogs an early 4-1 lead. The Purple and White would continue their hot start at the 15:24 mark of the opening frame when Ventress pushed the score to 9-3 on five-straight points.

In all, TCU, who held UNLV without a bucket from the floor for over 7 minutes of play, opened the game on an 11-3 run after Henson crossed over her defender and scored on a running floater with a little over 13 minutes remaining in the first half. The Frogs would push their lead to 10 points when Thompson split a double team and found Lovings wide open in the lane to make the score 13-3 at the halfway point of the first half.

UNLV would battle back though with a little over 3 minutes remaining in the half as the Frogs went cold from the field, but Whitney Williams ended the Rebels 11-1 run, knocking down a three from the right side of the court to give TCU a 17-14 lead down the stretch.

The Lady Rebels would close the half on a 10-0 run to make the halftime score 24-17 in slight favor of UNLV. 

TCU will return home to face Boise State on Saturday. Tip-off is set for Noon CT from Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.