November 18, 2018 Currently: 48° | Complete forecast

Mountain West champions: UNLV women enjoy basketball title with win against Utah State

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Courtesy photo

The UNLV women’s basketball team celebrates winning the Mountain West conference regular season title on March 2, 2018, after being Utah State 68-58.

Brooke Johnson’s last game at the Cox Pavilion was sure memorable for the UNLV women’s basketball team.

The senior had a career-best five 3-pointers in a 22-point effort to lead the Lady Rebels to a 68-58 victory against visiting Utah State, giving them a share of the Mountain West conference regular season championship with Boise State.

It was the first conference title of any kind for UNLV since winning the Big West Conference tournament in 1994. It’s their first all-time Mountain West championship.

The Rebels enjoyed a postgame celebration that included cutting down the nets, receiving championship shirts and hats, and proudly hoisting the championship trophy as confetti fell from the above.

“I love these young women,” UNLV coach Kathy Olivier said in a video posted online by the university. “They have worked the entire year. I can’t say enough about that. They said at the beginning of the year that they wanted to win a championship and here we are. We won a championship.”

Johnson added four assists to move into fifth-place all-time in the school’s record book with 375 career assists. Katie Powell contributed 13 points and Nikki Wheatley had 12.

“We worked all summer, all offseason for this,” Johnson said.

The Rebels were 17-of-17 from the free throw line.

The Mountain West tournament, which UNLV needs to win to make the NCAA Tournament, begins Tuesday. By winning the regular season title, it’s guaranteed a spot in the women’s NIT.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 702-990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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