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#AztecWBB Falls at UNLV, 74-59

Danesha Long hit a pair of three-pointers Saturday at UNLV, finishing with 12 points for the game.
Danesha Long hit a pair of three-pointers Saturday at UNLV, finishing with 12 points for the game.

Jan. 18, 2014

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LAS VEGAS - Despite a team-high 18 points from junior Khristina Hunter (Fairfield, Calif.), the visiting San Diego State women's basketball team suffered a 74-59 setback at the hands of UNLV Saturday night in a Mountain West clash at Cox Pavilion.

Hunter connected on 9 of 13 field-goal attempts and pulled down six rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Aztecs (5-10, 2-3 MW) saw their two-game winning streak snapped.

SDSU also received a double-digit scoring total from senior Danesha Long (Long Beach, Calif.), who recorded 12 points to go with six boards of her own, while freshman Ariell Bostick (Oakland, Calif.) contributed nine points and five assists in the loss. However, the Aztecs' leading scorer, senior Cierra Warren (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), was plagued by foul trouble throughout the evening and finished with just six points and four rebounds in 18 minutes of action.

On the flip side, the Lady Rebels (7-10, 4-1 MW) defeated SDSU for just the second time in the last 15 meetings between the two schools as three players reached double figures. Danielle Miller posted a game-high 20 points, followed closely by Mia Bell (19 pts.) and Alana Cesarz (17 pts.), who pulled down a game-high seven rebounds.

The Aztecs shot 40.7 percent from the field (24-59), but connected on just 31 percent of their attempts in the second half (9-29) as the Lady Rebels closed with a 14-2 run in the final 6:39 to seal the win. Despite owning a 42-32 rebounding advantage and a 36-28 spread on points in the paint, SDSU was victimized by 20 turnovers and nine UNLV three-point baskets, including five by Bell herself.

Still, the two sides found themselves in a veritable slugfest, combining for five ties and seven lead changes in the first half. The Aztecs led by as many as four points, including a 22-18 spread following a three-pointer by junior Chairese Culberson (Oakland, Calif.) at the 8:38 mark. However, Bell responded with a triple to spark an 11-2 surge that put UNLV in front for good at 29-24 with five minutes remaining in the period.

SDSU trimmed the deficit to two on three occasions, including a 35-33 margin on a layup by Bostick with 1:40 left on the clock, before Bell dialed up from long distance with back-to-back three-pointers. Then with just four seconds to go before intermission, Long got into the act for the Aztecs, draining a three-ball of her own to pull the Scarlet and Black to within 41-36 heading into the locker room.

SDSU found itself in pursuit mode for the remainder of the game, but could draw no closer than three points as UNLV repeatedly kept the visitors at bay with timely baskets and free throws.

Trailing 49-46 after a Bostick jumper with 14:14 to go, Aley Rohde and Rejane Verin got loose in the middle with consecutive layups to restore the Lady Rebel advantage to seven at 53-46. Shortly thereafter, Long buried a trey, prompting visions of another Aztec comeback. However, UNLV quickly dashed those hopes as Miller converted an and-one opportunity, while Cesarz added two foul shots to put the Lady Rebels in front 58-49 with 10:05 remaining.

An 8-2 SDSU run capped by a Warren layup narrowed the gap to 60-57 with 6:39 to go. However, the Aztecs imploded down the stretch, connecting on just one of nine field goals while committing five turnovers. Conversely, UNLV received yet another three-pointer from Bell, while Miller sank six free throws to help put the game out of reach.

In all, the Lady Rebels went 15 of 21 from the charity stripe, compared to the Aztecs' 8-for-13 ciip.

SDSU returns to the court on Wednesday, Jan. 22, when it plays host to San Jose State at Viejas Arena. Game time is set for 6 p.m. PT.