Arizona Shoots Down Lady Rebels
Nov. 13, 2012
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV turned in one of its best shooting performances in school history on Tuesday night, but wasn't able to overcome a Cox Pavilion record 13 three-pointers from Arizona as the Wildcats (2-0) held off a late rally to hand the Lady Rebels (1-1) an 83-82 loss in women's college basketball action.
UNLV led for the majority of the night, until a 10-0 run from the Wildcats gave them their largest lead of the night, 81-73 with 2:52 to play. Five straight points from Kelli Thompson cut the lead to three, and after the teams traded baskets, UNLV forced a shot clock violation and took over possession with 14 seconds left, down 83-80. Arizona did not allow a clean look at the basket before fouling Thompson outside the three-point line with 2.6 seconds on the clock. Thompson went to the line for a one-and-one, and after sinking the first free throw, attempted to miss the second. However the second attempt would go in as well, cutting the lead to 83-82 but giving the ball back to Arizona. The Wildcats inbounded the ball to run out the clock and escape with the one-point win.
The Lady Rebels led 45-40 at halftime and by seven in the second half thanks to a 63.5% shooting performance, connecting on 33-of-52 from the floor. That ties for the eighth-best field goal percentage ever by the Lady Rebels in a game. Almost as impressive was UNLV's 25 assists on 33 made baskets. Arizona forced UNLV into 23 turnovers though, turning that into a 33-23 edge on points off turnovers. Just as important for the Wildcats were their shooting from behind the arc, connecting on 13-of-31 from downtown for 41.9%. Most of that came from Kama Griffitts, who scored 25 points while hitting 7-of-13 from three-point range.
"I thought we put up a great fight," said UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. "When you turn the ball over 24 times and give up 24 offensive rebounds and you're still in the game you're doing a lot of things right, but we have to get better to pull out a win like this. I do think that this year's team has the focus to get better, and was very proud of their effort tonight."
In a game that featured 12 ties and 21 lead changes, the Lady Rebels found themselves down 35-30 late in the first half before reeling off a 13-2 run. Thompson scored eight points during the run, with her three-pointer at the 2:13 mark making it a 43-37 Lady Rebel edge. UNLV would take a 45-40 edge into halftime.
UNLV opened the second half with a basket to go up 47-40. Arizona used a 9-2 run to take its first lead of the second half, 52-51 on a Griffitts jumper with 15:43 to play. The lead then switched hands three times over the next few minutes before UNLV slowly started to build a small lead, going up 70-66 on a Thompson layup with under eight to play. It was a two-point lead when the Wildcats then scored 10 straight for their eight point lead, setting the stage for the final minutes.
Four Lady Rebels finished in double-figures, paced by Thompson's 25. Alana Cesarz and Amie Callawy both posted new career-highs with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Rmanii Haynes recorded the first double-double of her career with 10 points and 13 assists. Her assist total tied for the fifth-highest in UNLV history. The Lady Rebels shot 35.7% (5-of-14) from three-point land, and was 11-of-14 at the charity stripe. UNLV held a 44-28 edge on points in the paint, and 24-5 on fast break points.
Joining Griffitts in double-figures was Davellyn Whyte with 21, on 5-of-20 shooting. Arizona held a 36-34 edge on the boards and came up with nine steals.
UNLV returns to action this weekend in the Subway Classic, hosted by the University of Minnesota. The Lady Rebels will meet Maine in the first game on Saturday at 12 pm (PT), and then will face either Minnesota or Ohio on Sunday with the time TBA.
NOTE: Lady Rebel sophomore guard Brianna Charles will be out for the next 4-6 weeks after suffering a fracture in her left hand during UNLV's game against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 9.