By Rebekah Romney
BYU is looking more seriously like a contender for the conference championship after beating the No. 2 UNLV Rebels on Feb. 28 in Las Vegas.
The women”s basketball team defeated the Rebels 64-48 and broke the 13-game winning streak UNLV was trying desperately to hang on to.
“This was one of our best defensive games of the year,” coach Jeff Judkins said. “This is a great win for our program.”
Junior forward Jennifer Leitner once again led the Cougars to the win. Leitner picked up her ninth double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, the exact same numbers she had against Utah last weekend.
Leitner”s 18 points are the most scored by any member on either team, and were also a game-high for her.
UNLV”s senior forward Linda Frohlich, who has recently been selected to play at the 2002 Women”s Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Challenge, had only eight points against the Cougars.
Frohlich”s eight points were a season-low for her, as she made only two of her nine shots from the floor.
“I”d say BYU is the toughest team (in the conference),” Frolich said.
Three of BYU”s players scored in double-digits, with senior forward Melanie Pearson coming off the bench to give the Cougars 17 points.
Senior guard Erin Thorn had 12 points, twice what she scored against Utah.
The Cougars stepped out in front early on, leading by 17 points at the half.
The second half turned out even better for the Cougars as they allowed UNLV to score only 23 points.
“We played a great second half and I think the fact that we changed some things defensively made a huge difference for us,” Judkins said.
Junior guard Constance Jinks tried to pick up where Frohlich left off, leading the team with 15 points and playing the full 40 minutes.
The win against UNLV will give the Cougars more confidence as they head into next week”s conference tournament.
Moving into third place in the conference, the Cougars will play San Diego State on Saturday for their last regular-season game.
The tournament starts next Wednesday, March 6 in Las Vegas.