Southern Arizona Greats

Sahuaro great Alyssa Brown of UNLV “super blessed” to be MVP of MWC tournament

Sahuaro graduate Alyssa Brown’s three years at UNLV have included a three-peat of Mountain West champions and now a conference tournament MVP honor (UNLV athletics photo)

Sahuaro graduate Alyssa Brown was named the Mountain West tournament MVP after scoring 11 points with nine rebounds and four assists in UNLV’s 66-49 win over San Diego State in the championship game Wednesday night in Las Vegas.

Brown’s performance against the Aztecs followed these in the conference tournament held at Thomas & Mack:

— 16 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots in an 83-35 win over Fresno State.

— 8 points, 10 rebounds in a 62-52 victory over Colorado State.

“I couldn’t hear anything after my name was called (as the MVP), but my heart was in my ears,” Brown said in the postgame press conference. “I’m glad the girls grabbed me because it would have been water works a little worse than it was.

“Super blessed to be in this position.”

UNLV celebrates its third straight Mountain West tournament championship (UNLV photo)

The Lady Rebels (30-2) earned their third straight Mountain West tournament title, all with Brown after she graduated from Sahuaro in 2021.

“It’s hard to do it three times in a row,” Brown said. “Our conference, they recruit to play us at this point, so I feel like we constantly adapt to try and find ways to score.”

Desi-Rae Young recorded her 48th career double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 19 UNLV to its 15th straight win and its third consecutive NCAA Tournament with the win over San Diego State.

Young shot 9-for-17 from the field for her 18 points and had a career-high six steals.

Kiara Jackson had 14 points with a team-high seven assists whil Ashley Scoggin had 13 points including three 3-pointers in the second half.

Brown primarily came off the bench her first two seasons playing for coach Lindy La Rocque, who is Lute Olson’s goddaughter.

She played entirely as a reserve as a freshman and started 20 of 32 games as a sophomore last season.

She emerged as a starter this season, starting 27 of the 30 games she played. She is averaging 6.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game.

“The coaches since day one, I’ve had kind of every position on this team since freshman year, and they’ve instilled so much confidence in me and worked with me,” Brown said. “The girls have put their confidence in me. It was just like the highest moment in my career, and I felt very blessed and very proud.”

Brown was a four-year starter for coach Steve Botkin at Sahuaro, where she tallied 2,680 career points from 2017-21. That is second in the state’s history behind 2,913 scored by Julie Brase at Catalina Foothills from 1994-98.

Brase is Olson’s granddaughter.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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