Bell Leads Lady Rebels To Sweep

Feb. 18, 2012

LAS VEGAS ( - Photo Gallery

Junior guard and Las Vegas native Mia Bell scored a game-high 22 points to lead UNLV to a 65-60 victory over New Mexico in front of a season-high crowd of 1,476 on Saturday afternoon in Mountain West women's basketball action at the Thomas & Mack Center. The win gave the Lady Rebels their first season sweep of the Lobos since the 2001-02 season. It also improved them to 19-8 on the year (7-4 in MW play), the most wins for UNLV since the 2003-04 campaign. UNM meanwhile dropped to 8-15, 2-9 in the league.

New Mexico actually led for the majority of the first half, but an 11-2 run over the final three minutes of the half put the Lady Rebels up 29-24 at halftime. UNLV held a four-point edge, 34-30, when a Kelli Thompson three-pointer sparked an 11-4 run over the next 4:53 of the game. Bell capped the run with a three-point play, giving UNLV a 45-34 edge at the 11:11 mark.

The lead was still at 10 points, 55-45, when New Mexico started a little run, with Caroline Durban scoring seven points in a 1:22 span. Her trey at the 1:50 mark brought UNM within 57-52. UNLV answered back with four straight free throws to go back up nine, and would make 8-of-11 overall over the final two minutes to hold on for the victory.

UNLV struggled from the floor at the beginning of the game, with only five made field goals in the first 17 minutes of the half. Two of those came from Bell, back-to-back treys that put UNLV up 8-4 at the 13:14 mark. New Mexico countered with a 7-0 run, capped by a jumper from Jayme Jackson to make the score 11-8 with 11:29 on the clock. After a Bell layup put UNLV back ahead 12-11, UNM scored four straight for a 15-12 lead. The Lobos' largest lead of the game came on a Jackson three-pointer, making the score 22-18 with 3:18 to go. Then UNLV took over with 11 points in the final three minutes, beginning with a jumper from Jamie Smith. A layup by Lenita Sanford tied the score, while Danielle Miller gave UNLV the lead for good at the 1:26 mark for a 24-22 lead. Following a three-point play from Bell, UNM scored on a layup with 16 seconds left, and Sanford answered with an offensive rebound and layup at the buzzer.

For the second time this season, Bell finished with a 20+ point game in the Thomas & Mack Center, finishing the afternoon 7-of-12 from the floor. Against UTSA on Nov. 22, Bell scored a career-high 27 in UNLV's only other game in the TMC this season. Sanford posted her second straight double-double of the year, and her seventh of the year with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while Thompson added 17 points, and was 10-of-12 at the free throw line. UNLV shot 37% (20-of-54) from the floor, was 3-of-10 from three-point range (30%), and 22-of-32 (68.8%) from the free throw line.

New Mexico was paced by Durbin's 19 points. Taylor came off the bench to post 10. The Lobos shot 42.1% (24-of-57), and were 6-of-15 from three-point range for 40%, but made 21 less trips to the free throw line, making 6-of-11 from 54.5%.

UNLV will return to action next week with two games on the road, beginning with a Wednesday night contest at Boise State, starting at 6 pm (PST).