UNLV fall short, 87-73, as Creighton advances to play UCLA on Monday

Jordon Kelly - The Sporting Tribune
The UNLV Lady Rebels' season ended with a loss to Creighton, despite Young scoring 30 points during the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

LOS ANGELES — The NCAA Tournament has arrived at Pauley Pavilion, where the first game of two is set to begin with No. 7 Creighton taking on the No. 10 UNLV Lady Rebels. Creighton only lost three games during the regular season, finishing second in the Big East Conference behind UConn. On the other hand, the Lady Rebels finished first in the Mountain West Conference with a 17-1 record for the season.

The Bluejays entered the game ranked 13th in the nation for their average of 8.8 made 3-pointers per game. During the first two rounds of the women’s tournament, this is the 14th instance where a team has made at least 16 3-pointers in a single game. In the first half, 10 of Creighton’s 16 field goals were from beyond the arc as they were up by 14 at halftime.

In the start of the game, there were three ties and four lead changes, with the Bluejays falling behind 12-9. However, they managed to make a comeback and closed the first quarter on a 14-4 run, taking the lead at 23-16. The Bluejays continued to dominate the second quarter, with Morgan Maly’s three-pointer pushing the lead into double-digits at 33-23.

Lauren Jensen was the highest scorer for Creighton, averaging 17.1 points per game during the regular season. She had a great game, making 8 out of 12 shots from the field, including five 3-pointers. Ronsiek is a senior forward who typically averages 16.7 points per game. She got back on track after only scoring 17 points in her last three games. The Bluejays went 10 for 10 from the free throw line, leading the nation in free throw shooting 82.5%.

UNLV’s head coach Lindy La Rocque led her team to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in her fourth season, but has felt short of securing the Lady Rebels’ first tournament victory since 1991.

“This one loss doesn’t sour an incredible season,” La Rocque said. “To win 30 games in back-to-back years, it’s really special. Really, really special and it’s really hard to do.”

Desi-Rae Young scored 30 points in her final game at UNLV. She became the second player in program history to surpass 2,000 career points with 2,017. Young has been an important piece for this program as they now say goodbye.

“I’m extremely happy and extremely proud of everything that we’ve done,” Young said. “Being able to let the younger group come in and play out here and let them experience this because they will be back here next year.”

Creighton made 15 threes and defeated UNLV 87-73 in the first round of the NCAA women’s tournament. Lauren Jensen and Emma Ronsiek contributed 25 and 23 points to help the team. UNLV fought till the last second, as they never gave up even if they were trailing by double digits.

UNLV women’s team had an outstanding season with a remarkable 30-2 record and an unbeatable streak of winning 15 games. Despite this, the team has shown great resilience and determination, and their future remains bright. Although Young will no longer be eligible to play next season, the team is confident they will come back stronger and continue to dominate on the court.

On Monday, the UCLA Bruins and the Creighton Bluejays will be facing off in the second round game at Pauley Pavilion at 5:30 PM. The winner of this game will secure a spot in the Sweet 16. UCLA’s Lauren Betts might not be able to play in this game, as Cori Close has stated that it will be a game-time decision.