Las Vegas, Calif. – The San Jose State women’s basketball team led 73-72 with 39 seconds to play in its opening round game of the 2014 Reese’s Mountain West Women’s Basketball Championship, but saw the UNLV Lady Rebels hit six consecutive free throws while hitting just one shot of their own from the field and lost 78-75 in Thomas & Mack Center on Monday night.
“I’m really proud of my kids,” said head coach Jamie Craighead. “I thought they stepped up tonight and made big plays, especially (Classye James and Rebecca Woodberry). They came up big, but as a team we just came up a few possessions short.”
Woodberry had 20 points on 7-for-16 shooting from the field including 6-for-12 from 3- point range. She finishes the year with 90 threes, a San Jose State single-season record and her 150 3-point attempts in conference play are also a record for a junior.
“We were trying to get a three,” said Woodberry of the final seconds of the game. “We just weren’t able to run the play we wanted correctly. It just didn’t go as planned.”
James was 7-for-11 from the floor, 3-for-6 from beyond the arc coming up one point shy of her career-high with 22 points to lead all scorers.
With a Rachol West bucket with 3:45 to play, the 2014 Spartans set a new single-season scoring record. They passed the previous of 2,301 points set last season and finished the year with 2,308. The team also set a new record for free throws made in a season. Their 493 free throws made are six more than the previous record, 487, which was set last year.
In the first seven-plus minute the game went back and forth. The Lady Rebels jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but the Spartans tied it up at 6-6 with 15:43 to go. At the 10:33 mark, San Jose State grabbed an 18-13 lead after five consecutive made 3-pointers. Woodberry sank three and James nailed two.
The Spartans built their largest lead of the game 36-23, after a Ta’Rea Cunnigan 3-pointer rattle through with 4:29 to go in the half. UNLV closed the half on an 11-5 run and the teams went to the locker room with San Jose leading 41-34.
It was a half of contrasts. UNLV made all 13 of their field goals on layups, but were 0-for-13 on jump shots and missed 12 layups. The Spartans were just 4-for-15 on layups but sank eight of their 21 3-point attempts.
UNLV finally hit its first jumper of the night with 17:30 to play to make cut the Spartans lead to four, 43-39. They grabbed their first lead of the second half 48-46, on a Rejane Verin bucket with 13:56 to play. A pair of James free throws tied it at 48-48 and then on the next possession Woodberry hit her sixth three-ball of the game to put San Jose State back in front 51-48.
The kept the lead until a Danielle Miller layup with 56 second left put UNLV in front 72-71. Cunnigan, who finished with 11 points, raced the length of the court and gave the Spartans what would turn out to be its last lead of the game 73-72 with 52 second to go.
“We were running a pressure matchup and I thought we were very active,” said Craighead whose defense forced 19 turnovers. “We missed a few box-outs on the weak side and they cost us. But overall I was pleased with our effort.
“We need some depth to be able to do what I really want to do defensively. I’m excited about who we have coming back, the kids we have sitting on our bench as redshirts. I’m really excited.”
Riana Byrd and Woodberry led the Spartans with nine rebounds each. Britta Hall had six assists and seven points. West had six points. Jasmine Smith, who played just 15 minutes had seven boards and five points, but fouled out with 8:40 to play.
“That really hurt us,” Craighead said of Smith fouling out. “Without her we are limited in what we can do.”
The Spartans finish their third consecutive season with an 11-19 record and are eliminated from the conference tournament by a three-point margin for the third year in a row as well.
San Jose State vs UNLV
03/10/14 4:30 pm at Las Vegas, Nev. (Thomas & Mack Center)
At Las Vegas, Nev. (Thomas & Mack Center)
UNLV 78, SAN JOSE STATE 75
SAN JOSE STATE (11-19)
0-0 0. Totals 26-72 12-17 75.
ROHDE, Aley 6-6 4-8 16; MILLER, Danielle 5-15 3-4 14; CESARZ, Alana 4-13 4-6
13; BELL, Mia 2-11 6-9 10; VERIN, Rejane 5-5 0-0 10; CHARLES, Briana 3-7 2-2
8; CALLAWAY, Amie 2-11 3-3 7; COOK, Jehiah 0-0 0-0 0; HAYNES, Rmanii 0-1 0-0
0; ANDERSON, Amanda 0-1 0-0 0; MAJOR, Diamond 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-70 22-32
San Jose State................ 41 34 - 75
UNLV.......................... 34 44 - 78
(MILLER, Danielle 1-3; CESARZ, Alana 1-5; CHARLES, Briana 0-1; HAYNES,
Rmanii 0-1; ANDERSON, Amanda 0-1; BELL, Mia 0-4). Fouled out--San Jose
State-SMITH, Jasmine, UNLV-HAYNES, Rmanii. Rebounds--San Jose State 44
Assists--San Jose State 14 (Hall, Britta 6), UNLV 16 (CHARLES, Briana 6).
Total fouls--San Jose State 22, UNLV 18. Technical fouls--San Jose
State-None, UNLV-None. A-1836
2014 Reese's Mountain West Women's Championships First Round