Air Force Falls To UNLV, 70-63
USAFA, Colo. -
Despite shooting 52 percent for the game, the Air Force women's basketball team was unable to overcome UNLV, falling 70-63 to the Lady Rebels Thursday evening in Clune Arena. The Falcons, in the midst of a four-game losing streak, drop to 7-17, 2-9 in the conference, while UNLV improves to 15-10, 6-5 in league play.
The two teams traded baskets to start the game, with eight ties and eight lead changes in the first 13 and a half minutes of the period. However, the Lady Rebels took a 27-26 lead at tafter a three-point play by Nikki Hitchens and went on to extend their advantage to five points. Air Force freshman Lauren Henderson (Nixa, Mo.) responded with a long-range bomb at the 5:03 mark, but UNLV went on an 8-2 run over the next four and a half minutes to go up by eight. Air Force went into the locker room down 39-34 after freshman Pamela Findlay (Glenview, Ill.) knocked down a three-pointer with 23 seconds left on the clock.
Although Air Force scored the first bucket of the second half, RanDee Henry scored UNLV's first six points of the half to put the Lady Rebels up by seven. A 6-0 spurt by the Falcons brought them within a point with 16:11 remaining on the clock, but it was as close as they would come for the rest of the game, as Sheena Moore drained a three-pointer to extend UNLV's lead to 48-44.
The Falcons were down five points with 11:32 remaining when head coach Ardie McInelly was slapped with a technical foul. A pair of free throws by Moore kept the momentum in UNLV's direction as it stretched its lead to as many as 10. Even so, Air Force kept clawing back, cutting the margin to 63-60 with 4:46 on the clock when sophomore co-captain Letricia Castillo (Anchorage, Alaska) drained a trey. However, it was the last field goal for the Falcons, as the Lady Rebels outscored Air Force 7-3 to close out the game for the 70-63 victory.
The Falcons shot over 50 percent for just the second time this season, including a blistering 60 percent in the first half. However, Air Force hit only 8-of 16 free throws for the game and was outrebounded 24-14 in the second half.
Air Force was led by sophomore Jacki Novak (Kewaunee, Wis.), who notched a career-high 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting, to go with her five rebounds. Meanwhile, Findlay scored 11 points along with her team-leading two blocks and two steals. The Falcons' leading rebounder was freshman Alecia Steele (Oklahoma City, Okla.), who had seven rebounds in addition to her seven points.
Henry scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Lady Rebels, Moore had 14 points and Hitchens added 13 points and 10 rebounds for UNLV.
Air Force will celebrate Senior Day on Saturday, March 5, as it hosts San Diego State in the home finale. The Falcons will say goodbye to lone senior Jennifer Roesch prior to the contest, which is slated to tip off at 2:00 p.m. in Clune Arena.