Not a bad season for first-year women’s basketball coach Lindy La Rocque.
Her squad finished 15-9 overall, and 13-5 in the Mountain West Conference — good for a second-place record in the division.
The Lady Rebels reached the quarterfinals in the conference tournament before falling 72-56 to Wyoming, but not before their play earned significant accolades.
LaRocque was named the Mountain West Coach of the Year after nabbing the second-most conference wins in team history. The 15 overall wins placed LaRocque second in the nation among first-year coaches.
Impressive, considering UNLV returned only one starter from last year’s team: redshirt senior guard Bailey Thomas. The 2019-20 Mountain West defensive player of the year is one of only two players on the team who had played any games at the Division I level prior to this season, recording 53 of 54 games of D-I experience on the roster. Sophomore forward Anna Blount has the lone other game.
The first Las Vegan to ever coach the Lady Rebels, La Rocque spent three years on staff at Stanford during which time the Cardinals won a Pac-12 championship, twice reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, and once reached the Elite Eight.
It’s the first conference Coach of the Year award for UNLV women’s basketball since Jim Bolla earned Big West honors in the 1989-90 season.
Thomas took her second straight defensive player of the year award in the Mountain West, and center Desi-Rae Young was named Freshman of the Year. Thomas’ younger sister, Jade, played her way into conference all-freshman team honors, while the elder Thomas and junior guard Nia Johnson were named to the all-Mountain West team.