Updated March 7, 2021 - 7:47 pm
The UNLV women’s basketball team won several awards Sunday after its surprising second-place finish in the Mountain West.
First-year coach Lindy La Rocque was named Coach of the Year, center Desi-Rae Young was voted Freshman of the Year and senior guard Bailey Thomas collected her second straight Defensive Player of the Year honor.
Junior guard Nia Johnson was selected to the 10-player All-Mountain West team, and guard Jade Thomas joined Young on the conference’s All-Freshman Team.
The Lady Rebels were picked for ninth in the conference but finished the regular season on a five-game winning streak and won 10 of their final 12 to go 13-5 and 15-8 overall.
La Rocque is the first UNLV women’s coach to be named MW Coach of the Year.
“I’m honored for the fact that it’s voted on by other coaches in the league, and for them to recognize the challenges we’ve all faced this year and what our team has been able to do on the court,” La Rocque said.
Bailey Thomas led a defense that was fourth in the league in points allowed per game (65.4) and field-goal defense (38.8 percent). She was eighth in the conference in steals with 1.6 per game and became the first Lady Rebel named to the All-Defensive team three times.
Young, a former Desert Oasis High standout, led all conference freshmen in scoring (12.7 points) and rebounding (6.9) and tied for the lead among all players with four double-doubles.
“The individual awards are a product of team success,” La Rocque said. “If we were last in the league, it wouldn’t matter how good of defense Bailey plays or how many points Desi-Rae scores.”
Johnson ranked ninth in the conference in scoring, averaging 13.6 points, including back-to-back 28-point efforts. Jade Thomas, Bailey’s younger sister and a former Centennial High standout, was third in scoring (7.6) and fourth in rebounding (5.2) among Mountain West freshmen.
Haley Cavinder of Fresno State was Player of the Year.
UNLV will begin play in the Mountain West tournament against Wyoming at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Thomas &Mack Center.