Updated February 25, 2022 - 5:10 am
No matter the result Thursday, a 77-73 loss at Wyoming, the UNLV Lady Rebels knew they already had a share of the title.
“We have that expectation and standard for our program,” coach Lindy La Rocque said. “That’s what our players want. That’s why they’re so committed and willing to do anything and everything we ask.”
New Mexico’s loss to Fresno State late Wednesday night earned UNLV a share of the Mountain West regular-season championship for the first time since 2017-18.
La Rocque’s team had a chance to claim the title outright Thursday night for the first time, but a slow start against Wyoming proved too much to overcome.
The result snapped the Lady Rebels’ 12-game win streak. But La Rocque says sitting atop the conference with two games left is exactly where she expected to be.
“Obviously we’ve got a little bit of sour taste just because of the game right now,” she said. “But we’re really excited about who we are, who we have here and the direction our program is going.”
A win Saturday at Colorado State or a New Mexico loss to San Jose State on Friday will clinch the regular-season championship for UNLV. The Lady Rebels (22-5, 14-2 Mountain West) haven’t won a title outright since 1989-90, when the team played in the Big West.
Wyoming did just enough to play spoiler. Led by junior McKinley Bradshaw, who had 16 of her 23 points in the first quarter, the Cowgirls (13-11, 9-6) shot 55.6 percent from the floor.
UNLV junior Essence Booker and sophomore Desi-Rae Young never found their rhythm with 6-foot-4-inch Wyoming center Allyson Fertig clogging the paint. Lady Rebels freshman Kiara Jackson added 10 points off the bench, while sophomore Nneka Obiazor led the team with 14 points.
“We’re excited about having a share, but … we’re greedy,” La Rocque said. “We don’t want to share anything.”