Though their records, overall, aren’t comparable, UNLV still sits above the University of New Mexico women’s basketball team in the Mountain West standings.
But on Wednesday evening, the Lobos (16-3, 4-2 MW) can climb the ladder with a win over the visiting Rebels (8-7, 3-1 MW) in a battle of No. 2 vs. No. 3 in the Mountain West.
Most recently for UNM was its first win over Fresno State Saturday afternoon at home after losing two straight on the road, to the likes of San Jose State and the conference leader in Wyoming.
UNLV, however, has been on a roll as of late. After losing their first conference game against Boise State on the road, the Rebels have strung together three wins — two at home, one away — over San Jose State, Utah State and Air Force; the latter two teams, though, are at the bottom of the Mountain West standings.
Against Fresno State, the Lobos excelled from the get-go, scoring 16 seconds in — as well as stringing together an early 7-0 run — to pick up their second win this calendar year, after they defeated Boise State on Jan. 3.
Against the Bulldogs, both senior guard Cherise Beynon and junior post Jaisa Nunn had spectacular performances, especially in their concentrated areas. Beynon, who runs point for the Lobos, scored 20 points and had 10 assists, while Nunn scored 20 points and had 10 rebounds.
3-point shooting was there for the Lobos, too, as senior guards Tesha Buck and Alex Lapeyrolerie hit eight of the team’s nine baskets from beyond the arc.
In UNLV, however, the Lobos face no slouch. The Rebels, on one hand, aren’t the best of shooters — they are shooting 38 percent from the field and an even-worse 25.5 percent from range.
But the visiting team does possess a strong attribute: rebounding.
So far this season, UNLV ranks atop the conference in rebounds per game (42.4) as well as offensive rebounds per game (14.8). A big reason for that is due to junior post Katie Powell, who’s leading her team with 9.3 rebounds per game.
As far as scoring goes, though, senior guard Brooke Johnson lead the Rebels with 15.5 points per game.
The Lobos have four players who are averaging 10 or more points per game. Beynon leads the team at 15.9 points per game, while Nunn (15.4), Buck (15.2) and Lapeyrolerie (11.9) are the others.
For UNM, scoring shouldn’t be a problem. But for them to win, Nunn and the Lobos will have to challenge the Rebels in the rebounding category.
Tip-off for the game is at 7 p.m. at Dreamstyle Arena. The game will be broadcast live on the Mountain West Network.
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s and women’s basketball and baseball. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.