Lady Rebels in the Hunt for March Madness

After starting the season 17-5, the UNLV Lady Rebels dropped three straight games in mid-February. But what’s impressive is the way they bounced back the following week to win tough games against TCU and New Mexico. As fans of the men’s basketball squad know, teams run into slumps in conference play: The real test is how they respond to them. And so far, the Lady Rebels (19-8) have responded well.

Though San Diego State has opened up a big lead in the conference regular season standings, Coach Kathy Olivier has done a great job of keeping the Rebels focused on their goal of making the NCAA Tournament. With senior Sandrine Nzeukou, and Kelli Thompson leading the way this year, the Lady Rebs are 7-4 in the conference and are in third place.

As the Mountain West Conference tournament—which will be held March 7-10 at the Thomas & Mack Center—approaches, Coach Olivier likes the Rebels’ chances, but they must stay positive and play well together. She also says her leaders—Thompson, Nzeukou and Mia Bell—have to play at their highest level.

Notwithstanding the recent challenges for both the men’s and women’s teams, it’s been great to see both programs doing well—and it would be wonderful to see them both win the Mountain West Conference Tournament the way I watched the teams from San Diego State do it last year. It would be a great accomplishment for the university and the coaching staffs.