PROVO -- An early second-half scoring burst and key free throw shooting down the stretch helped the BYU women's basketball team hold on to defeat UNLV, 89-83, Thursday night in a key Mountain West Conference game at the Marriott Center. With the win, the Cougars remain unbeaten on their home floor this season.
BYU led 79-65 with 3:38 to play, but that is when UNLV made a spirited comeback. Three Lady Rebel three pointers and some key steals that resulted in easy baskets aided the comeback that fell short. The Cougars hit 8-of-10 free throws in the last two minutes to seal the victory. BYU led 42-30 at halftime and held as much as a 25 point lead midway through the second half, thanks in part to fast break opportunities and inside scoring. Four Cougars scored in double figures for the game, led by sophomore All-American Erin Thorn, who had a game-high 25 points while also dishing out seven assists. Stacy Jensen had 12 points and five assists, while Caroline Beus scored 11 points and grabbed seven boards. Sophomore Jennifer Leitner chipped in 10 points and had six rebounds. The Cougars had a season-high 24 assists, led by Lisa Osguthorpe's eight. BYU shot 50 percent from the field for the game and a red hot 92.3 percent from the free throw line, making a season-high 24-of-26 from the stripe. The Lady Rebels shot 47.5 percent from the field but only 73.1 percent from the line for the game.
"We played an excellent basketball game for the most part," head coach Trent Shippen said. "At the end, we got a little passive and weren't playing aggressive. The momentum changed and we lost our focus, but it's a good win over a good team."
UNLV was led by junior Kinesha Davis, who scored 21 points, including four three pointers and Constance Jinks, who scored 20 points. Danya Gambill chipped in 14 points and four assists, while Linda Frohlich scored 14 points and grabbed a game-high 18 rebounds.
The win improves the Cougars record to 13-8 (5-3) on the season, while UNLV drops to 14-6 (4-4) on the year. BYU will next play San Diego State, Saturday at 7 p.m., in the Marriott Center.