Lady Rebels burnout Broncos, 78-68
The UNLV Lady Rebels earned another victory after defeating the Boise State Broncos, 78-68, Wednesday night at the Cox Pavilion, improving their conference record to 8-8 and moving them to fifth in Mountain West Conference rankings.
After losing to UNR last Saturday, the Rebels were anxious to get back on track with a win against the third place Broncos (16-10)(9-6). Sophomore guards Dakota and Dylan Gonzalez were looking to get the most from their home-state team.
“Everyone was disappointed about the Reno loss. We’re a different team at home. The team played inspired … the community got behind us,” head coach Kathy Olivier said.
Playing against the big school from their home-state, the Gonzalez twins were ready for a fight with Dakota getting the Rebels on the board with a three-point shot that ignited the offense.
Dakota ended the night with 13 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
With UNLV on the board Boise State retaliated managing their own three-point basket; throughout the first quarter the Broncos were ready to respond going shot for shot with the Rebels.
However, sophomore guard Brooke Johnson was on fire for the Lady Rebels and was not going to let anyone get in her way.
“We knew we were a better team (than the UNR loss), and I think that showed tonight,” Johnson said. “We wanted this game just as bad, and we can play with any team in the conference.”
Johnson came up big for the Lady Rebels, hitting a buzzer-beating three to end the first half with UNLV leading 41-35. Johnson would eventually nail the dagger for the Lady Rebels with a three-pointer that out the game out of reach for the Broncos with 1:59 left. Johnson would end the night with a career high of 25 points and 7 assists.
While the Rebels aggressive defense is usually the team’s powerhouse during this game the Rebels offense was its own force to be reckoned with and everyone was stepping up to the plate.
Senior center Aley Rhode was on the attack, as she played physical both offensively and defensively, finishing the game with 18 points and 8 rebounds.
“I kept yelling at Aley, ‘Want it, want it,'” Olivier said. “She fed off that, it was fun to see.”
After returning from a foot injury Rhode has provided an incomparable presence on both sides of the ball, something the team desperately needed.
“We’re a much better team with Aley,” Johnson said. “We have four to five players who can score double digits every night.”
After losing four of their last five games, the Lady Rebels needed a big win to stay afloat the Mountain West standings and they delivered.
With the bulk of their schedule behind them, UNLV shift their focus to their final road game where they will travel to Laramie and battle 9th place Wyoming (12-14)(5-11) on Saturday. The Lady Rebels defeated the Cowgirls during their trip to Vegas on January 9 in a blowout, 66-37.
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