UNLV women’s basketball facing rugged schedule

The UNLV women’s basketball team will play at least 10 games against teams that appeared in the postseason.

UNLV’s schedule was released Monday, and the Lady Rebels face such teams as Creighton, which advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, as well Fordham, Charlotte, Brigham Young and Utah. The latter four schools made the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, with Fordham and Charlotte reaching the final 16.

“We feel it’s going to be another challenging year, but this is what we need to schedule for ourselves to be prepared for the demands of our conference schedule,” coach Kathy Olivier said in a release. “We are going to face teams in our nonconference portion that will test our moxie; we will have to be mentally and physically prepared to face these teams. After the demanding season that we went through a year ago, our returning players have been through the fire and survived, and we’re hoping that experience can pay off for us this year.”

UNLV went 12-19 last season, but tied for fourth in the Mountain West at 8-8.

The Lady Rebels were hit hard by injuries last season, but return all five starters, including forward Rejane Verin, the conference Freshman of the Year. Senior point guard Mia Bell, who missed last season because of a knee injury, also returns.

Sophomore center Aley Rohde, who started two seasons ago at Arizona, is eligible after sitting out last season under NCAA transfer rules.

The strong core of returning players should make UNLV one of the favorites in the Mountain West.

“You need to have mental toughness and have a deep team as well to really have success in this league, as every game is a battle,” Olivier said. “We feel that we’ve developed that depth that’s needed to hopefully challenge for a conference title this year, and we’re looking forward to the start of the season.”

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