Lady Rebels look to walk the walk next season
The task at hand the last few years for the Lady Rebels was simple: Win a Mountain West Conference Championship.
Next year, UNLV has a different mindset.
“With this team, we just need to stop saying we are going to do something,” said soon-to-be senior Danielle Miller. “and actually do it.”
The Lady Rebels will head into the 2014-15 season with five new recruits, while losing key players Mia Bell and Rmanii Haynes.
It’ll be up to Alana Cesarz, along with Miller, next year to try and get UNLV to the top of the conference.
“Now is the time for a culture change around here because we have five new faces coming in, and now is the time to set the tone and make a change and get things right,” Cesarz said.
UNLV is going to have a veteran roster next year. The Lady Rebels will have seven players who can contribute valuable minutes.
Therefore, Cesarz and Miller believe a fresh start is in order; a new attitude.
“We just need to instill it from day one that this is how Rebels work, and this is how UNLV plays,” Miller said. “It’ll be a good situation if we all buy in and understand our roles, and understand what we need to do as individuals to be good as a team.”
The freshman class coming in next year is full of talent, and Miller believes that they’ll have four or five nominations for Conference Freshman of the Year.
In order to make that happen, UNLV needs to start strong right out of the gate and not go into the Mountain West tournament with a below-.500 record.
“I think Dani and I will both still come back powerful next year, and as leaders for our team,” Cesarz said. “I just want to see work ethic improvement and I think that will really help us next year.”
It’ll also be considered a make-or-break year for head coach Kathy Olivier. With a solidified coaching staff in place, as well as a deep roster, Olivier is all for a change heading into another season at UNLV.
“I love that they say that [they need a culture change],” Olivier said. “That’s not me saying that to them. They are obviously thinking like that, and that’s always a huge plus when you’re going into your senior year that you are thinking right.”
The Lady Rebels had high hopes for themselves last year. They thought, with a veteran squad, they could dominate the Mountain West. But it didn’t happen again. It was time for a change in their minds.
Miller and Cesarz don’t know last year’s record. Not because they don’t know it, but because dwelling in the past won’t help them change.
“It’s always nice to have a goal, like win the Mountain West,” Cesarz said. “But I think especially with the type of team that we have next year, I think that we are really gonna need to take one game at a time, worrying about being 1-0 every game.”
UNLV has let chances squander away before. Two years ago, the Lady Rebels were contenders for a conference championship. That was they thought, but didn’t get it done.
They don’t want to just walk the walk next year.
“We just need to establish ourselves here as a great team on campus,” Miller said. “Let it be known that we are here to win. We aren’t here to play games.
Lady Rebels captains Danielle Miller (left) and Alana Cesarz (right) have a lot to prove as captains at UNLV next season after falling short in the Mountain West Conference Tournament once again. PHOTOS BY DANIEL WARD/THE REBEL YELL