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UNLV Lady Rebels leave Las Vegas for First Round of NCAA Tournament in Arizona

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Posted at 1:54 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 17:24:49-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The UNLV Lady Rebels are heading to their first NCAA Tournament game since 2002.

The Las Vegas community is sending them off from the Thomas and Mack Center on Thursday as they head to Tucson for the First Round against Arizona on Saturday.

Watch the send-off from Thomas and Mack Center below.

"Arizona is a great, a great opponent," UNLV head women's basketball coach Lindy La Rocque said. "But we have a group of competitors and so we're not just going to be happy to be there.

"We want to execute, we want to put a great game plan together, because they want to win and so we're going to do our best."

UNLV was selected as a No. 13 seed in the Greensboro Region by the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship Selection Committee and faces potential second-round matchups against No. 5 North Carolina and No. 12 Stephen F. Austin.

The 13 seed is 7-101 (.065) all-time in the NCAA first-round versus the 4-seed.

"Whether you're the higher seed or the lower seed, it's March Madness. Anything can happen; anyone can beat anyone.

"We knew we were going to probably be the underdog in whatever game we were playing. We love fighting with a little bit of a chip on our shoulders. That's the Vegas mentality, our Rebel spirit, so we're going to let it all hang out for sure."

UNLV and Arizona have played eight times previously, the last coming in the nine seasons ago. Arizona edged UNLV 83-82 in Las Vegas on Nov. 13, 2012.

The game pit sisters Jade and Sam Thomas against each other for the first time. Sam Thomas is a senior forward for the Wildcats, while Jade is in her sophomore season at UNLV.

Arizona (20-7) finished fourth in the PAC-12 Conference and fell to Colorado, 45-43, in its opening game of the PAC-12 Tournament.

UNLV (26-6) earned the Mountain West Conference's automatic bid after winning its first Mountain West Championship title last week.