Through her team’s first six games, UNLV women’s basketball coach Kathy Olivier was able to gauge just how far her program had come. After Sunday’s game against 21st-ranked Georgetown, however, Olivier was more focused on how much further the Lady Rebels still need to go.
Sugar Rodgers had 16 points and five rebounds to help the Hoyas roll past UNLV 64-45 in the championship game of the Lady Rebel Round-Up at Cox Pavilion.
“That wasn’t a great matchup for us,” said Olivier, whose squad fell to 6-1. “The things they do well are the things that are hard for us.”
Georgetown’s swarming defense presented problems from the start as the Lady Rebels shot 29.2 percent from the field while turning the ball over 25 times. Seven of UNLV’s turnovers came in the opening nine minutes.
“They just have a really good press,” said Jamie Smith, who led UNLV with 14 points and 10 rebounds. “That takes seconds off the shot clock and makes it hard to get off a good shot.”
Even so, the Lady Rebels controlled the backboards early, and that enabled them to take a 10-9 lead on Kelli Thompson’s layup with 13:17 left in the first half.
But the Hoyas (5-2) took control thanks to a pair of scoring spurts, capping a 9-2 run with back-to-back 3-pointers by Tia Magee to go ahead 24-15 at the 4:02 mark.
UNLV cut into the deficit twice, but two 3-pointers by Rodgers in the final three minutes gave Georgetown a 30-22 halftime lead.
“We knew it was all about their defense,” Olivier said. “We talked at halftime about how to get the ball inside, but it’s a little harder than people think.”
Smith hit two 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the second half to shrink UNLV’s deficit to 35-30, but the Lady Rebels continued to struggle getting the ball inside. A flurry of 3-point attempts was largely ineffective, and Georgetown began pulling away.
“They’re big inside,” said Smith. “A lot of our shots were almost forced.”
Rodgers hit consecutive 3-pointers midway through the second half to start an 11-0 run for the Hoyas, who went ahead 52-35 after holding UNLV scoreless for nearly seven minutes. The Lady Rebels trailed by double digits the rest of the way.
Olivier chose to look at the positives after the game.
“Last year we didn’t have six wins until the end of December,” said Olivier, whose team will play on the road for the next three weeks. “We’re still ahead of the game, but we have to get better in some areas.”
Thompson added 12 points and four rebounds for the Lady Rebels.
Magee had 12 points and five rebounds for Georgetown.
UNLV will next face Prairie View A&M on Saturday in the Cal Classic at Berkeley, Calif.GEORGETOWN 64,
■ KEY: Sugar Rodgers scored 16 points, and the Hoyas’ swarming defense forced 25 UNLV turnovers while holding the Lady Rebels to 29.2 percent shooting from the field.
■ NEXT: UNLV vs. Prairie View A&M, 4 p.m. Saturday, Berkeley, Calif.