Junior guard Dakota Gonzalez scored 17 points and had a Mountain West Tournament record eight steals and junior guard Brooke Johnson added 17 points and a school tournament record five 3-pointers to help lead the third-seeded UNLV Lady Rebels to a 68-43 quarterfinal victory over No. 6 seed Utah State on Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The 25-point margin of victory was the largest ever in a Mountain West quarterfinal, easily surpassing the previous high of 18 points set by Boise State against the Lady Rebels (64-46) in 2015.
Sophomore forward Paris Strawther scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds and junior guard Dylan Gonzalez added 12 points for UNLV (22-9) which will face No. 7 seed Fresno State (17-14), which upset second-seeded Wyoming, 58-48, in the semifinals at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night.
“I just felt like we had one of our best complete games of the season,” UNLV coach Kathy Olivier said. “We had so many options out there. And when our defense plays with that kind of intensity and that kind of effort our defense creates our offense and it kind of opened the game up.”
The Lady Rebels finished with 13 steals and forced 17 turnovers.
“This team has so many options and that’s what makes us a good basketball team,” Olivier said. “It’s not just one player, it’s several players. To have four players in double figures, and to play that kind of tenacious defense is pretty much what the Lady Rebels are all about.”
Fresno State defeated UNLV, 66-60, last year in the semifinals, but the Lady Rebels won the only meeting this season, 54-38, last Friday at Cox Pavilion.
Top seed Colorado State (24-7) will play Boise State (23-7) in the other semifinal at 6 p.m. The winners play Friday at noon for an automatic berth to the NCAA Tourney.
Check out video highlights from the game below: