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BYU surges late to edge Lady Rebels

In a back-and-forth battle, Brigham Young rode a late 7-0 run to a 71-64 victory over the UNLV women’s basketball team on Tuesday night at the Thomas &Mack Center.

Alana Cesarz made a 3-pointer to tie it at 52 for the Lady Rebels (1-1) with 8:07 left, but the Cougars (2-0) scored the next seven points — on a layup by Jennifer Hamson, a 3-pointer by Xojian Harry and two free throws by Stephanie Rovetti — to take a 59-52 lead with 4:47 to play.

Two layups by Cesarz, who finished with 13 points, cut the deficit to 59-56, but a Hamson layup and Harry jumper pushed BYU’s lead back to seven with 2:38 left, and UNLV got no closer than five the rest of the way.

Five players scored in double figures for the Cougars, who sank 8 of 10 free throws in the final minutes and made 21 of 29 free throws overall.

“BYU is a good team, a top-25 caliber team,” Lady Rebels coach Kathy Olivier said. “Our strength is getting to the free-throw line, and BYU got to the line tonight, making 23 while we only made 10. That’s a big difference when you lose by seven.

“We need to work on doing a better job on the offensive end, getting into a flow and attacking the basket so we can get to the line.”

Senior point guard Mia Bell sank a career-high five 3-pointers for UNLV and led all scorers with 23 points.

Danielle Miller had 12 points and four assists, and Rejane Verin and Aley Rohde each had seven rebounds for the Lady Rebels, who trailed by 12 with 1:05 left in the first half before ripping off a 20-5 run to take a 40-37 lead, their largest, midway through the second half.

Hamson and Harry scored 13 points apiece for the Cougars. Morgan Bailey had 10 points and 10 rebounds, Kim Beeston had 10 points and six assists, and Rovetti added 10 points, all on free throws.

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