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1st-place Lady Rebels run winning streak to 10 games

It’s been six weeks since the UNLV women lost a game.

The Lady Rebels defeated San Diego State 76-67 on Saturday at Cox Pavilion for their 10th consecutive victory, the first time they’ve had a double-digit winning streak since the 2003-04 season.

UNLV’s last loss was Jan. 3, when the Lady Rebels fell 71-68 at New Mexico.

“I think maybe it was this week that I started to realize we’ve got something really special going on this year,” said coach Lindy La Roque, whose team improved to 20-4 overall and a Mountain West-leading 12-1.

Built around a core of former Las Vegas high school stars such as junior guard Essence Booker, senior guard Justice Ethridge and sophomore forward Desi-Rae Young, the Lady Rebels are equipped to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002.

“With this team, I feel like we can win 20 in a row,” Booker said.

Ethridge, a former Centennial standout, said playing in front of friends and family has made her time at UNLV special. Booker, a former Spring Valley star, said having a coach who also is from Las Vegas — La Roque played at Durango — means a lot to the program.

“Coming out here every night, putting on this jersey on, I’m not only representing my family but I’m representing the city,” Booker said. “Winning 10 in a row for the city and getting more fans in there to see us compete and win is definitely important.”

Booker and Young led the way against San Diego State (11-13, 5-8 MW). Booker scored 23 points on 8-for-15 shooting, and Young, a former Desert Oasis star, added 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Sophomore forward Nneka Obiazor scored 15 off the bench.

The Lady Rebels will host Fresno State at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Cox Pavilion.

“We all want the same thing,” said Ethridge, who played despite battling a non-COVID illness and got into foul trouble.

Contact reporter Andy Yamashita at ayamashita@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ANYamashita on Twitter.

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