Aug. 21, 2012
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) -
Click here to access the 2012-13 UNLV Lady Rebel schedule
Despite losing one of the top senior classes in recent history, the UNLV Lady Rebels had no intention of seeking an easier schedule for the 2012-13 season, as once again the team will play a very challenging slate that features several national powerhouses as well as a pair of road tournaments at BCS member schools.
The 30-game regular-season slate, which was released by the athletics department on Tuesday, will see UNLV play in four separate regular-season tournaments for the second straight year, including two away from Las Vegas. The highlight, however, of the non-conference schedule is the Rebels' pre-Christmas tournament, the World Vision Classic, that features two of the three teams that made up the past two NCAA championship contests. UNLV will also make a total of two regular-season appearances on TV, on the CBS Sports Network.
"We played a similarly challenging schedule, and the our success in our non-conference portion really helped us when we entered Mountain West play," said fifth-year UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. "Our goal in putting together tough schedules is to get in several early tournaments that give us the chance to learn how to win with the pressure of advancing, which worked out well for us last year, playing in the championship in all four of our events. We're also happy to have a strong home schedule that brings in several of the current elite teams in nation."
On Dec. 19-21, the Lady Rebels will host the World Vision Classic, the participants of which are UNLV, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Old Dominion, and Alabama A&M. Notre Dame has been the NCAA runner-up the past two years, losing the championship to Texas A&M in 2011, and to Baylor last season. Texas A&M reached the Sweet 16 in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, while Kansas State made it to the second round. UNLV opens up the event hosting Old Dominion on Dec. 19, with Texas A&M and Kansas State in the second matchup, and Notre Dame and Alabama A&M in the final game of the day. Second round games will be on Dec. 20, with the fourth place, third place, and championship game to be played on Dec. 21.
The season starts with a pair of home games for UNLV, with UC Santa Barbara coming into the Thomas & Mack Center for the opener on Nov. 9, followed by Pac-12 rival Arizona on Nov. 13 in the Cox Pavilion, where the rest of the season's home games will be played in. Both contests are return trips after UNLV played each on the road last year, beating the Gauchos, an eventual NCAA team, on a last-second shot, and falling late at Arizona.
UNLV will then go on the road the next weekend to play in the Subway Classic, hosted by the University of Minnesota. First up will be the first-ever meeting between UNLV and Maine on Nov. 17. Then the Lady Rebels will face either the host Gophers or Ohio in the consolation or championship game on Nov. 18. Minnesota, who won the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI) postseason tournament last year, last met UNLV in the WBCA/BTI Classic in Seattle in the 2004-05 season, while the Lady Rebels and Ohio have never met in the sport of women's basketball.
Another tournament follows, this the first of two hosted by UNLV, as Montana, Bowling Green and Villanova will all make the trip to Las Vegas for the Lady Rebel Round-Up, held on Nov. 24-25. The Lady Rebels will take on Montana Nov. 24, while Bowling Green and Villanova, both of whom played in the 2012 WNIT Postseason tournament, will face off in the second game. The consolation and championship games will be played on Nov. 25.
Next up will be a three-game stretch away from Las Vegas as UNLV will start its extended annual road trip during the National Finals Rodeo, which is on campus in December. First up will be a pair of games at the ASU Classic in Tempe. The four-team field features Dayton, an NCAA team from 2012 and UNLV's first round matchup, the host Arizona State Sun Devils (2012 WNIT) and Binghamton. The next weekend will see UNLV make a trip to Texas to face UTSA on Dec. 8.
The Lady Rebels will break for Christmas after the World Vision Classic, before resuming play with a two-game road swing in California with contests at UC Riverside (Dec. 29) and Santa Clara (Dec. 31).
UNLV begins the 2012-13 Mountain West schedule at home against New Mexico on Jan. 9, while its first road league game follows, at Air Force on Jan. 12. The Lady Rebels will play their first games against Nevada, Reno and Fresno State as Mountain West rivals on Jan. 30 (Reno, Nev.) and Feb. 6 (Las Vegas, respectively. Other highlights include the two televised games of the season, against Colorado State on either Jan. 19 or Jan. 20 in Las Vegas, and at San Diego State on either Feb. 16 or Feb. 17. Those dates will be finalized by CBS Sports Network in September.
This year's MW Tournament, held once again in the Thomas & Mack Center moves back to a nine-team format, with the eight-nine play in game returning for the first time since the 2007-08 year. That game will be played on March 12, while there is no longer a break in between the quarterfinals and the semifinals, leaving the quarterfinals set for Thursday, March 14, the semifinals on March 15, and the championship game on March 16, which will be televised live by CBS Sports Network.
"This year is really a new beginning for the conference, with several new teams coming in, but there are still the familiar faces that will be looking to challenge for the championship once again," said Olivier. "It should be a fun and competitive year in the league this year, and just like always, you'll have to be ready every night if you want to come out with a win."
The Lady Rebels ended the 2011-12 season with the best record in eight years, finishing 22-10 while earning its first postseason trip since 2006 with an appearance in the Postseason WNIT, and also posting its first-ever top-two finish in the MW, placing second with a 10-4 mark. UNLV lost four seniors off last year's team, but does bring back the same starting backcourt for the fourth straight season, All-MW senior guards Kelli Thompson and Mia Bell.