UNLV hoped moving next door to the Thomas & Mack Center would help prepare the Lady Rebels for the floor they will play on in the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament.
But instead of making the most of the opportunity Wednesday, the Lady Rebels stumbled so badly in a 68-60 loss to New Mexico, their coach had to resist the urge to question the players’ effort.
“I can’t even go there,” UNLV coach Kathy Olivier said. “I question that. I don’t want to question that until I watch the film. I mean we’re playing at the Thomas & Mack. This is where we want to play as a program. We need to play energized with an incredible passion, and I don’t think we did that as much as we would’ve liked to.”
The defeat dropped UNLV to 10-18, 3-11 in the conference. The Lady Rebels have two games remaining to get out of the Mountain West basement for the tournament that begins March 8.
“There’s not one area that we’re really bad at,” Olivier said. “There are a lot of areas that we’re not really good at. We need to get better at all the basic fundamentals of the game.”
UNLV led New Mexico (10-15, 4-9) deep into the second half before the Lobos took the lead for good at 44-42 on Amanda Best’s 3-pointer with 12:20 left.
Best scored 19 of her 22 points in the second half. Teammate Jasmine Patterson scored 24.
New Mexico twice went ahead by as many as 10 points down the stretch before holding off a late UNLV push.
Kelli Thompson led UNLV with 17 points but made just 5 of 20 shots, including 3 of 15 from the 3-point line. The Lady Rebels made 28.6 percent of their shots.
“We can’t go anywhere but up now,” Thompson said.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914.NEW MEXICO — 68
UNLV — 60
KEY: UNLV made just 28.6 percent of its shots in falling to 3-11 in the Mountain West.
NEXT: UNLV at Wyoming, 1 p.m. Saturday