2023 Mountain West Women’s Basketball Championship: Game Preview, How To Watch

2023 Mountain West Women’s Basketball Championship: Game Preview, How To Watch

UNLV looks to finish a historic run through the Mountain West while Wyoming hopes to play spoiler. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for.

Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire

Who will come out on top?

2023 MOUNTAIN WEST WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP: #1 UNLV Lady Rebels (30-2, 18-0 Mountain West) vs. #2 Wyoming Cowgirls (22-9, 13-5 Mountain West)

WHEN: Wednesday, March 8 — 7:00 PM PT/8:00 PM MT

WHERE: Thomas & Mack Center; Las Vegas, NV

TV: CBS Sports Network

STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes CBSSN, by following this link.

TOURNAMENT TO DATE: UNLV defeated #8 Nevada 84-47 on Monday and then defeated #5 San Diego State 71-68 on Tuesday, while Wyoming defeated #10 San Jose State 72-57 on Monday and #3 Colorado State 65-56 on Tuesday.

WEBSITES: UNLVRebels.com, the official UNLV athletics website | GoWyo.com, the official Wyoming athletics website

GAME NOTES (PDF): UNLV | Wyoming

The opening round of the Mountain West men’s basketball tournament is set to begin in Las Vegas this morning, but hoops fanatics will want to stick around Thomas & Mack until the night to potentially witness history.

UNLV’s Lady Rebels, led by head coach Lindy La Rocque and the trio of Desi-Rae Young, Essence Booker, and Justice Etheridge, hope to cap an undefeated run through the Mountain West, the first since 2015-16, and claim their second straight bid in the NCAA tournament. They dispatched rival Nevada and survived a serious upset bid from San Diego State to reach the title game, but they won’t have it easy against their championship opponent.

That’s because Wyoming comes into the evening having won eight of ten since the start of February and can boast of having one of the conference’s most efficient shooters and rebounders in sophomore center Allyson Fertig. Though UNLV won both regular season matchups, the Cowgirls won’t back down after having taken care of business against San Jose State and rival CSU. In a matchup of the last two tournament champions, only one will get an opportunity at this year’s big dance.

Players to Watch

She wasn’t selected as the conference player of the year again, but Desi-Rae Young is still UNLV’s most important player. Young was an all-conference selection for the second straight year after making the all-freshman team back in 2021 and has been no less dominant on the court as a junior, leading the Mountain West with ten rebounds per game while finishing second with 17.8 points per game.

Young has a wealth of help on the floor, though, from senior guard Essence Booker (19.0 PPG, 89.4% on free throws in two tournament games) to sophomore Justice Etheridge (15.5 PPG in the tourney) to sixth player of the year Kiara Jackson. Sophomore forward Alyssa Brown has also been clutch in the tournament, averaging seven rebounds in the first two games while contributing 9.5 PPG, as well.

For Wyoming, Allyson Fertig is the top player to watch. After being tabbed as the Mountain West’s freshman of the year in 2021-22, the sophomore center from Glendo was one of two Cowgirls named to the all-conference team after finishing third overall with 13.4 points per game and second behind Young with 9.2 rebounds per contest. Unlike Young, however, Fertig was one of two Mountain West players to average two blocks per game, as well, meaning that play under the basket at both ends is likely to dictate a lot of how the game shakes out.

Additionally, don’t overlook Malene Petersen, who succeeded Fertig as the conference’s top freshman this season. She and guard Quinn Weidemann averaged 11.1 and 11.4 PPG, respectively, which made the Cowgirls the only team in the Mountain West to have three players finish in the top 15 within that category.

Lastly, junior forward Grace Ellis has raised her game in the tournament and may be an X-factor to keep an eye on. She’s averaged 8.9 PPG and 4.6 RPG in the season to date, but she put up a double-double in the team’s victory over CSU on Tuesday night and could do a lot of heavy lifting to take pressure off of Fertig near the basket.

More Mountain West Basketball!

2023 Mountain West Tournament: Day 1 Schedule, Bracket, Livestream, Odds

2023 Mountain West Basketball Tournament Predictions

2023 Mountain West Conference Tournament: #8 Colorado State vs #9 Fresno State

Advertisement
Advertisement

Story originally appeared on Mountain West Wire