BATON ROUGE, La. (WANE) — Emily Kiser had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Maddie Nolan added 18 points and sixth-ranked Michigan beat 11th-ranked UNLV 71-59 in the first round of the women’s NCAA tournament on Friday on the 22-game winning streak rebels.
DeKalb High School graduate Leigha Brown scored 17 points for Michigan (23-9), who had lost three of their previous four games. The Wolverines used their advantages in size and physicality to establish and maintain a double-digit lead for much of their opening game in the Greenville 2 area.
Guard Laila Phelia, who wears a left knee brace and is only playing her third game since missing seven times with a leg injury, exerted her influence on the game on defense, catching 11 rebounds that added her career to her eight points — less — earned more than half of her 16.9 scoring average.
The Wolverines will face either third-seeded LSU or 14th-seeded Hawaii in the second round.
UNLV (31-3) missed the longest winning streak in program history. His Mountain West Tournament title win had reached a mark previously reached in the 1978-79 and 1989-90 seasons.
The Rebels went undefeated (27-0) as they scored 69 or more points — a total they couldn’t match against a Michigan team that overtook them 41-31.
Essence Booker scored 16 points for UNLV while Justice Ethridge and Desi-Rae Young scored 11 each.
Michigan finally took the lead as Phelia’s offensive rebound set up Brown’s second chance layup to make it 9-7 in the first quarter.
The Wolverines led by as much as 13 points in the second quarter before Kenadee Winfrey and Ethridge each hit 3 seconds during an 8-0 run, which helped UNLV close to five points.
Michigan led 28-20 at halftime. The Wolverines went 17 points ahead as Kiser hit eight points on a free throw, two layups and a 3 during a 12-0 run that went 48-31 late in the third period. UNLV then only came within nine points.
UNLV: Shot 28% (7 of 25) from 3-point range, well below the season average of 33.8%. …shot 38% overall (23 of 60), also well below the season average of 46.3%.
Michigan: Converted 12 offensive rebounds into 13 second-chance points. … ended up with a 20-14 advantage in points from turnovers.