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Lady Rebels put on (layup) clinic in routing Air Force — PHOTOS

Updated February 19, 2024 - 7:32 pm

They just keep winning, keep outplaying Mountain West opponents, keep heading towards another conference title.

It wasn’t difficult at all for the UNLV women’s basketball team Saturday, this one a 95-68 rout of Air Force at the Thomas &Mack Center.

It was the first game of a doubleheader that was followed by the late men’s game between UNLV and UNR. You could probably make the case neither of them have made as many layups this season as the Lady Rebels did over four quarters.

It was a clinic.

You pressure the ball against much better players, and this is what’s going to happen. Talent will go right by you and to the basket. That was the idea for UNLV. Attack with abandon. It never stopped.

“The game plan was get to the paint and score,” UNLV point guard Kiara Jackson said.

Pretty good one. Really good scouting report.

It was over at halftime with the Lady Rebels (22-2, 12-1) holding a 49-26 advantage over Air Force (12-15, 5-9).

One point of interest: How many times UNLV — now winner of seven straight — would actually score outside the paint. Its first such basket came with 2:58 left in the second quarter.

No joke. And even that was a short baseline jumper.

Think about it: Of the team’s opening 10 field goals, eight were layups. Its first six baskets of the second quarter came in the paint.

“At this point in the year, all you want is more wins,” UNLV coach Lindy La Rocque said. “This was more a style of play against their defensive style. This is what they were giving us, so just drive to the basket. It was working, so why fix it?”

It was like a pregame drill. Transition layups. Layups off the dribble. Layups off the pass. UNLV really is unstoppable when playing as it did those first 20 minutes. Sharing the ball. Converting.

It shot 61.8 percent for the half, which happens when most of your attempts come within 2 feet. It led 10-6 and 22-12 and 30-15 and 36-21 and 47-23.

It also held Air Force to 32 percent shooting and doubled the Falcons up on the boards by a 24-12 margin over the opening two quarters.

Seven players scored for the Lady Rebels in the half, including 12 from Jackson and 10 from Desi-Rae Young.

Things didn’t let up after intermission. This was UNLV’s first seven scores: Layup. Layup. Layup. Free throw. Short jumper. Layup. Layup. That made it 62-36.

It was then more of the same. Over and over.

All 12 UNLV players saw minutes. Eleven of them scored. Four reached double figures. Young had a team-high 19, and Jackson added 14.

UNLV had — count ’em — 64 points in the paint.

“I thought we played well,” La Rocque said. “We know we have great talent. I’m happy when they put it against someone else, because obviously we see it in practice. But to get everyone in the game and show our fans and the community how great our team is, it takes everyone.

“Obviously, I’m really proud of that. Air Force isn’t going to quit, so you can’t play the score. We couldn’t slow the pace down. We continued to play hard as if it was a two-point game or 20 or whatever it was.”

It was, from the opening tip, a clinic.

Contact Ed Graney at egraney@reviewjournal.com. Follow @edgraney on X.

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