Lady Rebels Set For Utah Trip|
March 2, 2004
LAS VEGAS -
The UNLV women's basketball team closes out its regular season with a crucial road trip this week, as the Lady Rebels (19-6, 8-4 MWC) visit first place Utah (21-5, 11-1 MWC) on Thursday at 7 pm in Salt Lake City, Utah, and then take on BYU on Saturday. Holding on to third-place in the MWC, the Lady Rebels at least a 1-1 split in its two games, or a 2-0 sweep to claim the third seed in the tournament, as Colorado State is just one game behind UNLV. A third seed would be the highest ever for UNLV in the MWC Championships, as it has been either a fourth or fifth seed in the first four years of the tournament.
The Lady Rebels also hope to keep alive their chances for an at-large bid to the NCAAs. UNLV enters the week with 19 wins (19-6 overall record), and in the five-year history of the Mountain West, only one of the 11 teams that have posted 20 wins in a season not earned a bid to the NCAA (the 1999-00 Colorado State team was 20-9 after the MWC Tournament, and played in the WNIT). The Lady Rebels are also one win away from its second 20-win season in the last 12 years, as the 2001-02 team finished the year 23-8 and earned a trip to the NCAAs.
Thursday's game matches the top two shooting teams in the conference, as Utah is shooting 45.1 % and UNLV 45.0%. However, the Lady Rebels have been winning off their offense, averaging a league-high 72.7 ppg, while Utah is second in the conference in scoring defense at 53.6%. In the first meeting this year, defense won out, as UNLV was held to 55 points in a 72-55 Ute win in Las Vegas.