women's basketball 11/15-4 (copy)

Illinois State's Paige Robinson takes the ball down the court during the home opener against St. Thomas on Nov. 15. The Redbirds dropped their first game of the season 73-66 Sunday to UNLV in the UNLV Thanksgiving Tournament Championship. 

LAS VEGAS -- Despite a late push, Illinois State women's basketball was unable to overcome a sluggish first half and would fall 73-66 in the UNLV Thanksgiving Tournament Championship for its first loss of the season. 

Despite finding success shooting the ball, the Redbirds struggled to maximize their opportunities. They would turn the ball over 15 times in the first half to thwart their 53% field goal percentage on 17 shots. 

On the other side, the Rebels dominated from every level of the floor. UNLV more than doubled ISU's first half shot attempts 36-17. They would make 17 of those attempts while only turning it over seven times. 

All of this helped the Rebels take a 42-25 lead into the break. 

Coming out of the half, the Redbirds did not seem to make adjustments initially. The same issues that haunted them in the first half continued to do so in the third quarter as UNLV would grow its lead to 22 midway through the frame.

In the game, the Redbirds would record an astounding 25 turnovers. 

However, something seemed to click for ISU as the Rebels' lead slowly began to shrink late in the quarter. DeAnna Wilson put together a strong finish to the frame with four straight points to help trim the deficit to just 12 heading into the final 10 minutes. 

Both offenses came to a quick halt in the final quarter as the teams would combined for just six total points through the first 6:03. Once they got going, however, ISU made its push. 

With the help of some clutch free throw shooting down the stretch, the Redbirds shaved the deficit to just five with 1:30 left. 

However, missed opportunities late helped keep the Redbirds at bay and give UNLV the title. 

Paige Robinson finished as the game's leading scorer with 19 points on 6-9 shooting followed by 14 from Maya Wong

SCOTT PREROST is Sports Editor for The Vidette. Prerost can be conactacted at swprero@ilstu.edu. Follow Prerost on Twitter at @Scotty_Prerost   

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