Coming off a home loss to Utah Valley SUU and a 0-3 start, the Thunderbirds were looking to bounce back on the road vs a very deep and athletic UNLV team. UNLV who beat Montana State in a very lopsided game just came off a loss to NAU.
The story of this game was the rough start for the Thunderbirds. Early turnovers and poor defensive transition allowed UNLV to an early lead they never relinquished. UNLV also took advantage of their superior athletic ability and energy on the defensive end forcing SUU to tough contested mid-range jump shots that also turned into easy transition opportunities. SUU only managed to make 4/17 shots in the first quarter and found themselves down 17-9 at the end of the first.
For the majority of the game, UNLV stayed with their base offensive game plan. With great spacing and lots of DHO actions that lead to 8 first-half 3 point FG’s and shot a blistering 75% from the floor in the 2nd and 84% in the 3rd. SUU struggled most of the game to contain the Rebels in transition, locating matchups and containing UNLVs quick guards off the bounce. UNLV forced 17 SUU turnovers that turned into 24 points and lead to a 92-59 rout of the Thunderbirds. (Highlights to show these issues)
One bright spot for the Thunderbirds was the first-half performance of Samantha Johnston going 4/6 from the 3 and at one point hitting back to back to back 3s in consecutive offensive possessions. Johnston finished with 14 points and 3 assists on 4/7 shooting. 6’5 Lizzy Williamson came off the bench and provided 11 points and 8 rebounds on 5/6 shooting. The Thunderbirds did not get their usual performance from Eaton and she struggled to get going versus the athletic guards of UNLV, scoring 9 points on 4/10 shooting and 1/5 from 3 point range. She also led the team with 4 turnovers of the night.
UNLV shot 57% from the floor for the game and the shooting performances by the Rebels in the 2nd and 3rd quarters was a huge factor in UNLV continuing to increase the lead throughout the game. UNLV was led by Nneka Obiazor who came off the bench to shoot a sizzling 10/11 from the floor and scoring 21 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.