The Lady Rebels wanted to make sure San Diego State center Paris Johnson didn’t beat them Saturday night.
She didn’t. Guard Jene Morris did.
Morris made 7 of 9 3-point attempts and scored a career-high 35 points, carrying the Aztecs to a 75-55 victory over UNLV at Cox Pavilion.
“I could tell they weren’t guarding me,” Morris said. “I hit my shots.”
But she hadn’t been. Morris was 1-for-15 from the 3-point line in five previous Mountain West Conference games. UNLV was more focused on Johnson, who entered as San Diego State’s leading scorer at 12.5 points per game.
Morris, a transfer from California, easily topped her previous high of 25 points.
“Everything she shot went in,” UNLV coach Regina Miller said. “We left (her) open. We kind of let her shoot it, and she killed us.”
That seems to be the theme these days for the Lady Rebels (6-12, 2-3 MWC), who have lost three games in a row and six of eight.
Including Wednesday’s 87-39 defeat at No. 18 Wyoming, UNLV has lost its last two games by a combined 68 points. It’s the first time the Lady Rebels have lost consecutive games by at least 20 points since December 1998, Miller’s first season.
They are in danger of registering their lowest win total since going 4-23 in the 1997-98 season.
UNLV will try to add some life to the season when it hosts Texas Christian on Tuesday.
“We’ve got to dig in and fight back,” Miller said. “I think you’ve got to play through it. I think you’ve just got to continue to build (confidence). You’ve got to see the results.
“And you can’t do it by having the turnovers and not executing. I think (the players) realize that. Now we’ve got to do it.”
UNLV didn’t help itself against San Diego State (11-7, 2-4), committing 20 turnovers in the first half, including nine in a span of 10 possessions. They finished with 26.
“I think a lot of our turnovers are unforced — traveling and things we can control,” said forward Sequoia Holmes, who led UNLV with 18 points.
UNLV somehow managed to stay within 11 points at halftime, but San Diego State went on a 12-point run early in the second half to increase its lead to 55-31.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 387-2914.SAN DIEGO STATE — 75 UNLV — 55
KEY: Jene Morris hit 7 of 9 3-point attempts and scored a career-high 35 points as the Aztecs handed the Lady Rebels (6-12) their third straight defeat.
NEXT: Texas Christian at UNLV, 7 p.m. Tuesday, CSTV (333), KSHP-AM (1400)