LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The UNLV women’s basketball team clinched the Mountain West championship Thursday night, bouncing San Jose State 77-60 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The victory was the 15th without a loss in conference play for UNLV, which is 25-2 overall and No. 23 in The Associated Press rankings.
It also mean’s the Rebels will be the top seed for the Mountain West tournament, which opens March 5 at the Thomas & Mack. Winning the tourney would give the Rebels an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The Rebels took a bit of time to celebrate on the court after their victory, which was just fine with coach Lindy La Rocque.
“Winning is really hard. We’ve done it pretty well here so its easy to take it for granted,” Lindy La Rocque said. “When you have little victories, big victories — whatever they are — you’ve got to remember to celebrate them.
“I think winning the regular season is really hard. It takes a consistent commitment to effort, concentration and focus and a mindset that not many people have. This group does. I’m excited because they’re not done.”
It’s UNLV’s first time for back-to-back regular-season championships since the Jim Bolla’s teams won the Big West in 1989 and 1990.
The Rebels also notched their 16th straight victory, the second-longest active streak in Division I play behind top-ranked South Carolina’s 38-straight victories.
UNLV won Thursday on the strength of a 15-0 run to close the first half that featured eight points from Alyssa Brown. The Rebels led 37-18 at intermission.
Overall, Brown had 17 points (8-for-8 shooting) and 12 rebounds. Desi-Rae Young added 16 points, Alyssa Durazo-Frescas chipped in 14 and Justice Ethridge 10.
The Rebels close the regular season with three more conference games, beginning Feb. 23 against Utah State at the Cox Pavilion.