MINERS
UTEP Women's Basketball Notes / Game 14 / Vs. Tulane




Jan. 1, 2009

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UTEP Opens C-USA Play Vs. Tulane On CBS C

The UTEP women’s basketball team will take on Tulane to in the Conference USA opener for both squads in the Don Haskins Center at 5:05 p.m. MST on Friday. The game will be broadcast nationally by CBS College Sports, in addition to airing locally in El Paso on Time Warner Cable.

 

The 411 On No. The Green Wave

Tulane University is located in New Orleans, La., and enters the match-up against UTEP at 8-5 on the year. The Green Wave started slowly on the year (1-3) but responded to win seven straight games. The streak was halted with an OT loss to Temple, which was followed by an 80-66 defeat at the hands of Big East member South Florida.

 

Who To Watch For

The Green Wave feature plenty of players to keep your eye on. Brittany Lindsey and Megan Valicevic pace them in scoring at 12.5 ppg and 11.1 ppg, respectively, but Brett Benzio (8.9 ppg), Chassity Brown (8.8 ppg), Indira Kaljo (8.4 ppg) and Ashley Langford (7.7 ppg) are all capable of lighting up the scoreboard as well. Benzio is the top rebounder (10.0 rpg)  by a large margin, with no other player contributing more than 5 rpg. Lindsey and Benzio are each shooting better than 50 percent from the floor.

 

Other Stat Notables About Tulane

Tulane has held 10 of 13 opponents to fewer than 66 points, including three which failed to eclipse 50. The Green Wave’s offense has only been kept below that margin once in the past nine contests.

 

Jekyll & Hyde

There have been two different Miner clubs this year, with the Dr. Jekyll version taking to the court seven times and Mr. Hyde unit appearing on six occasions. The stark statistical contrast in wins compared to losses is as follows.

 

In Seven Wins (Average Stats)

                 UTEP                              Opp

Pts   FG%  3fg%  RB   To    Pts   FG%  3fg%  RB   To

77.7     48.1      44.2       40.4     10.9     52.6    35.5       29.5       33.1    17.6

 

In Six Losses (Average Stats)

                 UTEP                              Opp

Pts   FG%  3fg%  RB   To    Pts   FG%  3fg%  RB   To

49.5     31.1      26.7       34.0     13.7     66.0    45.7       45.2       39.5    16.3

 

Deja Vu

Friday’s game marks the third time in UTEP’s four-year membership of Conference USA that it will tip off league play against Tulane. The Miners also did so in 2005-06, 2006-07.  Last year UTEP took on Houston in its conference opener.

 

Expect It To Be Closely Contested

The past four league home openers for UTEP have been decided by a combined 17 points. The Miners edged UAB 67-61 on Jan. 18, 2008, tripped up Tulane, 80-76, on Jan. 2, 2007, fell to the Green Wave, 68-63, on Nov. 25, 2005, and snuck past Boise State, 71-69, in OT on Jan. 1, 2005.

 

Or Maybe It Won’t Be

The past three games between UTEP and Tulane haven’t been close, with the Miners knocking off the Green Wave 60-44 on Jan. 26, 2008, and 81-66 on Jan. 12. TU took down UTEP, 81-56, on Jan. 20, 2007.

 

How Times Change

UTEP and Tulane games were closely contested the first three match-ups following the Miners’ admission into Conference USA. The Green Wave defeated UTEP, 68-63, on Jan. 25, 2006. The Miners picked up a 59-58 win on Feb. 4, 2006, and an 80-76 victory on Jan. 2, 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

Success In League Openers

UTEP has gone 3-1 since 2005 in league openers (all under head coach Keitha Adams), including 2-0 at home during that time frame. Overall, the Miners are 3-4 in conference christeners during the Adams era.

 

Not To Mention

If UTEP is able to knock off the Green Wave, the Miners would secure their third straight triumph in the league opener. UTEP never won consecutive league lid lifters before Keitha Adams’ arrival, let alone three.

 

Not So Much Before

UTEP went 3-12 (1980-81 to 2000-01) in conference openers, which included separate losing streaks of five and seven games. The Miners were without conference affiliation from 1985-86 to 1988-89.

 

Not The Case In League Home Openers

While the Miners have historically struggled in conference openers, they have been impress in home league lid lifters.

 

Looking Ahead

UTEP will be idle for a week following the game against the Green Wave before welcoming Rice and Houston to town on Jan. 9 and Jan. 11, respectively. ESPN2 will carry the contest against the Cougars. There will be free admission to the game against UH as part of the “Pack the House” promotion. Complimentary tickets are available at all Payless Shoe Stores.

 

Last Time Out

Led by Sviatlana Trukshanina’s 19 points, the UTEP women’s basketball team cruised past Sacramento State, 67-49, to take home third place at the 2008 San Diego Surf N’ Slam Classic on Dec. 30. The Miners never trailed on the night and led by 14 (42-28) at the half. UTEP connected on 48.1 of their tries from the floor, including a crisp 60 percent from three-point land. Unselfish play sparked the offense, with the Miners racking up 18 assists. UTEP held the Hornets to 30.2 shooting from the floor.

 

All Tourney Accolades

Sviatlana Trukshanina’s earned placement onto the all-tournament team at the San Diego Surf N’ Slam Classic.

 

Taking Care Of Business In Non Conference

With the win against Sacramento State, UTEP secured its third straight year with winning record in non conference play for the first time in more than a decade and just the second occasion in program history. The Miners also did so in from 1996-97 to 1998-99). 

 

Williams Surpasses 500-Career Rebounds

Junior Timika Williams snagged four caroms in the win vs. Sacramento State to become the 12th player in program history to collect more than 500 career rebounds. She enters the game vs. Tulane at 504. Furthermore, she ranks eighth all time at UTEP with an average of 6.8 rpg.

 

Hughes Moves Past 900 Career Points

Jareica Hughes chipped in eight points in the triumph vs. Sacramento State, making her the 11th member of 900-point club at UTEP in the process. 

 

Williams Can Score A Little, Too

Timika Williams is closing in on the becoming the 22nd player in program history to score 700 points. She boasts 671 career points heading into the game vs. Tulane.

 

Chambe Controls Boards

Junior Ilda Chambe pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds in the win vs. Sacramento State on Dec. 30. She had combined to register 12 boards the prior six games. Furthermore, her prior best had been four caroms (on two occasions).

 

Resilient Under Adams

The win against Sacramento State on Dec. 30 moved the Miners to 14-1 in games following a loss since the start of the 2006-07 campaign. Nine of those triumphs have been of the double-digit variety.

 

Bombs Away

UTEP knocked down nine triples in the triumph against Sacramento State on Dec. 30, which ranks as the second-highest total on the year and just shy of the top 10 for all time in the program’s history.

 

Hughes Record Watch

Jareica Hughes, who became the program’s all-time assist leader in the win against Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 14, is rapidly climbing the career charts in other categories. She is already the only player in program history with more than 900 points, 300 assists, 150 steals and 75 three pointers made. Heading into the Tulane game, she is first in assists (345), second in steals (189), sixth in three pointers made (79) and 11th in points (902).

 

Most Important Stat

UTEP has posted a record of 57-18 since Jareica Hughes arrived on campus. The effort already makes her part of the second-winningest four-year class in program history. Only last year’s senior class (76 triumphs) can boast more victories than Hughes and Timika Williams’ class, even though the Miners are just nine games into the 2008-09 season.

 

Hughes Handles It All

While there is plenty of basketball left on the docket, junior Jareica Hughes could  join Ana Valtierra as the only players in program history to finish the year with both more assists and steals than turnovers (minimum 30 in each category). Heading into the game against Tulane, Hughes leads UTEP in assists (37) and steals (23) while having committed only 18 turnovers. Valtierra achieved the feat twice in her career, doing so in 2006-07 (94 ast, 44 stl and 28 tos) and in 2003-04 (67 ast, 60 stl and 44 tos). Stay tuned...

 

Green, Trukshanina Join 100-Career Pt. Club

Briana Green scored 12 points in the loss at New Mexico on Dec. 16, which allowed her to eclipse 100 career points. Sviatlana Trukshanina did so by pouring in 17 against in the win against Nebraska on Dec. 20. The pair enter the game vs. Tulane with respective career totals of 139 and 129.

 

Jones Does So For 200-Pt. Club.

Sophomore Brittnay Jones chipped in seven points during the triumph against Nebraska on Dec. 20, allowing her to move past 200-career points. Heading into the tilt vs. Tulane Jones’ total stands at 210.

 

Caldwell On Cusp Of 100 Career Points.

Freshman Dietra Caldwell has racked up 99 points through 11 games (missed one contest with an injury), so she too is approaching a milestone.

 

We Like To Share

The Miners enter the tilt vs. Tulane averaging 16.3 apg and on pace to almost break the school standard for helpers. Furthermore, the Miners were 16th in the country in the latest NCAA rankings for apg.

 

Not Just A One Show Pony

While Briana Green is the lone Miner in double figures for scoring (10.7 ppg), don’t let that fool you into thinking that UTEP is a one-player threat. Four other individuals are contributing at least 8.0 ppg (Jareica Hughes, 9.6,; Brittnay Jones, 8.9; Timika Williams 8.6; Sviatlana Trukshanina, 8.4 & Dietra Caldwell 8.3).

 

Because We Know You Are Curious

The last time UTEP was led in scoring by a freshman was during the 2006-07 campaign when Jareica Hughes paced the Orange and Blue at 12.9 ppg.

 

One More Fun Tidbit

The last time UTEP concluded the campaign with only one player in double figures for scoring average was in 2004-05, with senior Marta Dydek posting an even 10.0 ppg.

 

Freshmen In Top Five Scoring Rare

Were Dietra Caldwell and Briana Green  to maintain their spots of fourth and first, respectively, it would mark just the sixth time since 1982 that two freshmen were among UTEP’s top-five scorers.

 

Looking To Join Other Balanced Teams

While the Miners have only one player in double figures heading into the game against Tulane, it is very possible that four- or maybe even five- players will finish the year at more than 10.0 ppg.  A quartet of teams (2007-08, 1996-97, 1986-87 & 1983-84) teams all achieved the feat. No UTEP team has ever topped that figure.

 

The 1983-84 Team Was Really Balanced

Of the four teams in school history to boast the quartet of players in double figures for scoring, only the 1983-84 team can claim at least three others with more than 5.0 ppg (5.8, 5.7 and 5.0).

 

Doing All Of This With Youngest Squad Ever

UTEP’s 2008-09 squad is the most inexperienced in program history, with underclassmen accounting for 10 of the 14 spots on the roster. This year’s team is also the only one in school history to not feature at least one senior. Moreover, the Miners have seven true freshmen-the second-highest figure in program history.

 

Playing Time A Plenty

Entering the game vs. Tulane, Briana Green leads UTEP in minutes per contest (30.0 mpg). Were she to slip below that mark, this year’s edition of the Miners would join the 1995-96 squad as the only other team in program history with no player earning at least 30 mpg.

 

Talking Turnovers... Or Lack Thereof

The Miners enter the game vs. Tulane tied for second in the nation in fewest turnovers per contest (12.2) according to the latest NCAA report (Dec. 21). UTEP was second in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.3) and 21st in turnover margin (6.0).

 

Noting UTEP’s Ability To Take Care Of The Ball

* The Miners have registered four games on the year with single-digit turnover totals. UTEP managed 13 such contests from the 1983-84 to the 2007-08 campaigns, a span of 908 games. For the math majors, that works out of every 70 tilts.

 

* With four games of single-digit turnovers already to their credit, the 2008-09 edition of the Miners have already posted the most of any team in program history. The 1990-91 squad registered three such tilts.

 

* UTEP posted back-to-back games with single-digit turnovers (vs. Texas State and vs. ENMU, marking the second time since 1981 that they have achieved the feat. The other occasion was also during the Keitha Adams era (eight TOs in contests against UTPA on Jan. 2, 2006, and Tulsa on Jan. 6, 2006).

 

* The Miners are close to committing fewer turnovers (158) than the number of assists registered by the opposition (154). That effort speaks to the defensive play by the Orange and Blue as well as their cherishing of the basketball. No team in program history has ever achieved that feat for a season. The closest any squad has come to doing so was in 1980-81, when the margin was 30 (421 UTEP turnovers and 391 assists by the oppositions).

 

Not The Case For The Opposition

The Miners have forced the opposition into committing double figures in turnovers in 71 straight games and in all but three of the 219 contests during the Keitha Adams era. UTEP harassed Nebraska into 22 giveaways in the win on Dec. 20, which marked the third time on the year the opposition has committed at least 20 turnovers.

 

More Along Those Lines

The Miners’ pressure defense forced Mississippi Valley State (Dec. 14) into 22 turnovers, which was four more than MVSU’s field-goal total (18). It marked the third time this year that UTEP has achieved the feat and the 52nd occasion under head coach Keitha Adams. UTEP stands at 42-10 in those contests, including 23-1 since the start of the 2006-07 campaign.

 

Finding The Range From Beyond The Arc

UTEP enters the game vs. Tulane ranked 39th in the country in three-point accuracy (37.0 percent) and 60th in triples per contest (6.2).

 

Streaking From Three-Point Land

The Miners knocked down three triples in the triumph vs. Sacramento State on Dec. 30, extending their program-record streak of two or more three pointers made in a game to 86. The last time UTEP did not drain at least two threes in a tilt came a 51-46 loss at UCF on Jan. 15, 2006.

 

Caldwell, Trukshanina Love The Triple

Freshman Dietra Caldwell and Sophomore Sviatlana Trukshanina have proven to be big-time threats from three-point land, with each making more three-point tries than twos. Caldwell paces UTEP with 21 threes (11 twos) while Trukshanina is second with 20 triples (14 twos). Since the three-point shot was introduced in 1987, there have been eight different UTEP players who have made more three pointers on the years (min. 25 makes) than two-point field goals. Three-point school-record holder Amy Billhymer achieved the feat all four years of her career. Ana Valtierra was the last individual to do so, when she knocked down 33 triples compared to 25 twos during the 2006-07 season. 

 

Not Just Making Them, But Doing So With High Rate

Dietra Caldwell and Sviatlana Trukshanina haven’t just been draining plenty of triples, but they have done so with plenty of accuracy. Trukshanina’s 46.3 percentage from beyond the arc would rate as the third-best single-season figure in program history while the freshman’s mark (44.0) would place fifth.

 

Talking All-Around Players

UTEP has a multitude of players on their roster who are capable of contributing in three or more major stat areas. Below is a breakdown of those individuals.

 

Four Major Stat Areas

Name                               Ppg     Rpg    Apg    Spg

Dietra Caldwell             8.3      3.3     2.6     1.2

Jareica Hughes              9.6      3.6     4.1     2.6

 

Three Major Stat Areas

Name                                         Ppg    Apg    Rpg

Briana Green                           10.7   2.8     2.5

Brittnay Jones                          8.9     2.5     5.5

 

To qualify: At least 2.5 apg, 1.0 bpg, 5.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.0 spg.

 

Points At Premium For Opposition

The Miners have held 10 of their 13 foes to fewer than 70 points on the year, including seven who did not manage to enter the 60s. For the year, the opposition is mustering just 58.9 points per game. That figure would rank as the third best in the 35-year history of the program.

 

Opposition Shooting It Pretty Well Though

While the ultimate determinant for measuring defensive success is points  per game allowed, the Miners certainly would like to lower the opposition’s field-goal percentage. Heading into the Tulane contest, UTEP’s foes have combined to drill 40.1 percent of their tries from the floor. 

 

Strange Way Of Appreciating That

If it seems improbable that the opposition has been held to fewer than 60 ppg despite that shooting percentage (40.1), that is because it is. Of the prior 16 teams in program history which permitted their foes to make more than 40 percent from the floor, none of them posted a scoring defense lower than 60 ppg. Five allowed at least 75 ppg,  four gave up between 70-74.9 ppg, five checked in at 65 to 69.9 ppg while only two were below that (63.8 and 62.0 ppg).

 

So How Are They Doing It?

The Miners have managed to overcome the opposition’s solid shooting percentage by taking care of the ball (12.2 turnovers per game), forcing the opposition into doing a poor job of handling it (17.0 tos per game) while  doing a decent job on the boards (+1.4 rebounding margin). The effort in those areas has allowed UTEP to attempt 135 more field goals than its foes (794-669).

 

Further Examination Of That FGA Margin

UTEP enters the game against Tulane taking 61.1 shots per game compared to 51.5 by the opposition. That would rate as the largest margin for that category in program history. In fact, only four teams boast a differential of great than 8.0. (2005-06-8.3; 1991-92; 8.1; 2006-07; 8.0 and 1988-89; 8.0).

 

Can Make Strides On Defending Three Especially

One area which would help the field-goal percentage would be the Miners doing a better job on guarding the three ball. The opposition is connecting on 36.5 percent of its tries from beyond the arc, with places UTEP 294th in the country for three-PT FG defense.

 

Miners Taking Care Of The Boards

For the most part this year, UTEP has done a good job in the rebounding department. Entering the game vs. Tulane, UTEP has a +1.4 rebounding margin. That figure would be the best since 2005-06 (+2.3) and  check as the second best in the Keitha Adams era.

 

Micula A Monster On The Offensive Boards

Junior Marta Micula, UTEP’s third-leading rebounder at 5.3 rpg, has done the lion’s share of her work at the offensive end of the court. She enters the game vs. Tulane with 69 rebounds (35 offensive, 34 defensive).  Of UTEP players with a rebounding average of at least 2.0 rpg, only 11 since 1982 have finished a season with more offensive boards than defensive. The list (largest average to smallest) is as follows:

 

1990-91: Charsa Palamore, 242 RB (125/117), 9.3 rpg

1991-92: Michille Roper, 199 RB (103/96), 7.4 rpg

1989-90: Charsa Palamore, 191 RB (101/90), 6.8 rpg

1992-93: Monica Ramirez, 188 RB (95/93), 6.7 rpg

1992-93: Kathy Mangram, 175 RB (88/87), 6.3 rpg

1992-93: Michille Roper, 148 RB (85/63), 5.3 rpg

1988-89: Melinda Bufford, 125 RB (63/62), 5.0 rpg

1994-95: Kiana Taylor, 124 RB (65/59), 4.6 rpg

1995-96: Shani Dinwiddle, 98 RB (61/37), 3.6 rpg.

2006-07: Charnette Phelps, 64 RB (33/31), 2.8 rpg.

1998-99: Kim Causey, 65 RB (33/32), 2.4 rpg

 

Newcomers Not Looking So New

Seven of UTEP’s newcomers have earned playing time for head coach Keitha Adams in 2008-09, and the results have been encouraging. Dietra Caldwell, Torrie Childs, Fannie Goodwin, Channing Hillman, Briana Green, Marta Micula and Delfina Vasquez have combined to account for 71 percent of UTEP’s blocked shots, 49 percent of the assists, 46 percent of their points, 43 percent of the steals and 42 percent of the rebounds.

 

Green, Caldwell In Rare Company

Freshmen Briana Green and Dietra Caldwell have been consistent threats for the Miners. They recently became the sixth and seventh freshmen at UTEP eclipse the 10-point barrier at least five times through the season’s first 10 contests. Amy Pack (nine, 1999-00), Heidi Walker (eight, 1999-00) hold down the top two spots, followed by Green, Jareica Hughes (six, 2006-07), Laura Walker (five, 1992-93) and Caldwell.

 

Check Those Rims Out

For whatever reason, free throws have far from that for both UTEP and its opponents this year. The Miners and their foes have combined to go just 275-of-438 (63 percent) from the charity stripe through 12 games. UTEP enters the contest vs. Tulane having made 116-of-202 tries while their foes have knocked down 159-of-236.

 

Who Needs Them Anyway

Free throws win ball games. Well, that is the case for most teams, but thus far that phrase is far from true for the Miners. The Miners are 6-3 on the year when shooting below 60 percent from the free throw line. Furthermore, they are 6-1 in that situation since dropping the first two tilts. UTEP has made at least 70 percent in the other four games on the year, going 1-3 (87.5 vs. Texas, 72.2 vs. MVSU and 70 percent vs. Monmouth and at NMSU).

 

Go Figure

Dating to the start of the 2006-07 campaign, the Orange and Blue boast an incredible mark of 14-5 in games in which they were below 60-percent from the free-throw line (minimum 10 attempts).

 

Go Figure Part Two

Five of the Miners’ past nine losses (dating to early in the 2007-08 campaign) have come in games in which they drained at least 70 percent of their tries at the free-throw line.

 

Go Figure Part Three

The Miners have won seven of their past eight regular-season contests, including four already this year (vs. NMSU, Savannah State, Nebraska & Sacramento State) in which they made more three pointers than free throws.

 

Same Player, Different Results

With the departure of five seniors, a big question for UTEP coming into the year would be which reserves from the 2007-08 would step up to help fill the void. Consider sophomores Brittnay Jones and Sviatlana Trukshanina up to the task. Below is a look at the statistical difference for each of the players, who have both elevated their play.

 

Jones’ 07-08 Stats                    Trukshanina’s 07-08 Stats

Ppg   Rpg   Apg   Mpg        Ppg Rpg    Apg    Mpg

2.9    1.9    0.4    12.7       1.0  0.5     0.5     5.6

 

Jones’ 08-09 Stats                    Trukshanina’s 08-09 Stats

Ppg   Rpg   Apg   Mpg        Ppg Rpg    Apg    Mpg

8.9    5.5    2.5    27.1       8.4  1.0     1.0     17.5

 

Caldwell Is Clutch

The Miners have been involved in three games decided by five or fewer points. (L 55-54 in OT to UC Irvine on 11/14, W 54-50 vs. NMSU on 11/20 and L 54-49 vs. Monmouth). Based on the play in those contests of freshman Dietra Caldwell, it appears that she has ice in the veins. In the final five minutes/OT of those contests, Caldwell is 6-of-8 from the floor, including a perfect 3-of-3 from three-point land. One of the threes tied the game late against UCI while another was a dagger in the Miners’ triumph against NMSU.

                                       

Starting To Come Together

UTEP had a sluggish start to the year, as it started 0-2 for the first time since the 2003-04 season. The Miners have bounced back, though, to go 7-4 since then. The effort should come as no surprise, though, as UTEP recovered from an 0-2 mark during the 03-04 season to finish at 16-13.  At the time, the 16 victories were the second most ever in program history. Also, it marked the first winning campaign since 1997-98 squad went 16-11.

 

Adams Chasing UTEP Win Record

Keitha Adams, in her eighth year at the helm of the program, enters the game vs. Tulane with a record of 112-107 at UTEP. That effort ranks her second all time at the institution for victories, and it is still possible that she will break that standard this year. Sandra Rushing holds the record with 123. It should be noted, though, that Rushing compiled those 123 wins over 11 years.

 

The Basic Facts On UTEP

The Miners returned a pair of starters and five players from last year’s record-setting squad which posted a mark of 28-4- including an unprecedented 16-0 in Conference USA play- and advanced into the second round of the “Big Dance.” Eight newcomers (seven freshmen and one junior-college transfer) were added in the offseason to give the 2008-09 edition of UTEP a fresh look. Highlighting the returnees is Jareica Hughes, the 2008 Conference USA Player of the Year. Timika Williams, who has led UTEP in rebounding on consecutive campaigns while contributing 9.0 ppg, returns as well. Also back is high-energy player Brittnay Jones, who appeared in every game last year as a freshman. Sophomore sharp shooters Sviatlana Trukshanina and Alyssa Faubion, who gained valuable experience as freshman return Tough-nosed post player Ilda Chambe picked up a ton of experience last year by taking a redshirt to learn the system, and should be a key contributor in 2008-09.

 

Challenging Slate To Say The Least

The Miners’ 2008-09 schedule features 10 contests against 20-plus win teams from a year ago and 12 versus squads with at least 18 triumphs.

 

Eight New Faces, Nine New Players

The Miners’ 2008-09 roster has plenty of new faces, with seven true freshmen and a junior-college All-American accounting for eight of the 14 spots on the squad. Furthermore, Ilda Chambe debuted after sitting out last year as a redshirt.

 

Hughes Among Candidates For Wooden Award

Junior point guard Jareica Hughes is on the list of 30 preseason candidates for the Women’s Wooden Award All-America Team and Player of the Year, the most prestigious individual honor in the sport.  Hughes is the only player from a C-USA school to appear on the list. She is one of just five players from a non BCS institution to make the cut for the celebrated preseason distinction.

 

Hughes’ Banner 2007-08 Campaign

Jareica Hughes was the 2007-08 Conference USA player of the Year, becoming the first Miner and just the second sophomore in league history to garner the award. She was a significant part of UTEP’s record-setting season, in which the Miners made their first NCAA tournament appearance and tied the institution’s record for most victories (28-4). She led UTEP in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.7), assists- a single-season school record 171-, scoring (14.6 points per game), while ranking second in steals (88).  She was 21st nationally in apg (a program-best 5.5), 28th in spg (2.8) and 51st in assist/turnover ratio.

 

Can She Repeat?

While it won’t be easy to do, should Jareica Hughes claim the Conference USA Player of the Year award again in 2008-09, she would become the first individual to notch consecutive POY distinctions since Houston’s Chandi Jones did so from 2002-04.

 

Coaches Certainly Think So

Count the coaches around Conference USA as individuals who believe that Jareica Hughes can repeat as the league’s player of the year. Hughes was tabbed the preseason player of the year, as announced by the league on the eve of media day this year.

 

THIS IS UTEP BASKETBALL

One Of The Very Best Past Two Years

It is the golden age of women’s basketball at UTEP. Heading into the 2008-09 campaign, the Miners had racked up an astonishing 50 wins the past two seasons, including an institution-tying (men or women) 28 victories during the historic 2007-08 campaign. At 50-12 UTEP was one of only 29 squads nationally, and one of a mere 12 non-BCS teams, to have 50 or more victories since 2006.

 

The Best C-USA Has To Offer

Since joining Conference USA in 2005, UTEP boasts the most wins, fewest losses and top winning percentage of the 12 teams in the highly-competitive league.

 

More Along Those Lines

Thanks to back-to-back 20-win seasons, the UTEP women’s basketball became the first Conference USA school to achieve the feat since the 2003-04 and 2004-05 campaigns.

 

Unprecedented Success Under Adams

Behind Keitha Adams the UTEP women’s basketball team has soared to heights that even the most ardent of Miner fans could possibly imagine. Before Adams patrolled the sidelines, the Miners had never won more than 20 games in a campaign, let alone compete in a postseason tournament (no WNIT or NCAA appearances pre Adams). In 2007-08, not only did UTEP achieve both of those feats, but it also made some noise in the “Big Dance” by throttling Western Kentucky, 92-60, in the first round before bowing out to eventual national runner-up Stanford.

 

CliffsNotes: Reviewing 08-09 Campaign

 

UTEP Falls To No. 4 Texas

The UTEP women’s basketball team was knocked off by No. 4 Texas, 79-40, in the first game for both teams at the 2008 San Diego Surf N’ Slam Classic on Dec. 28. UT’s size simply proved to be too much for UTEP to handle, with the Miners’ offense (26.3 percent from the floor) never able to get on track. UTEP did a respectable job at the other end of the court, holding the Longhorns below their season average in both field-goal percentage (46.4 compared to 48.2) and scoring average (79 to 83.7). UTEP also harassed the UT into committing 15 giveaways, with the Miners converting those into 11 points. 

 

Miners Down Nebraska, 63-53

Sviatlana Trukshanina poured in 17 points, while Jareica Hughes added 14 and Briana Green contributed 11 to help lead the UTEP women’s basketball team to an impressive 63-53 win against Big 12 powerhouse Nebraska at the Don Haskins Center on Dec. 20. The Miners were in control throughout the tilt, enjoying the lead for all but the two minutes and 49 seconds of the first half.

 

UTEP Locks Down NU From Long Range

The Miners held Nebraska without a three-point field goal (0-of-9). It marked the first time since Feb. 15, 2007 (at ECU) and just the fifth occasion in the past 15 years that UTEP has not allowed its opponent to knock down a triple.

 

Been A While For Win Vs. BCS Program

The triumph against Nebraska marked the first win for the UTEP program against a BCS institution since the 1996-97 campaign. That year the Orange and Blue knocked off Kansas State, 67-61, which is also from the Big 12.  Overall, UTEP is now 8-54 against BCS opposition.

 

Battling BCS Members

The games against Nebraska & Texas marked the first time since 1986-87 and the sixth time in program history that the Miners faced opponents from BCS conferences. UTEP knocked off Nebraska, 63-53, on Dec. 20. The 2008-09 edition of UTEP managed to pick up a win in the demanding stretch, something only the 1976-77 squad did.

 

Miners Derailed At UNM

The UTEP women’s basketball team fell behind by double figures early in the contest and could never recover, falling 66-43 to New Mexico in front of 8,451 at The Pit on Dec. 16. The Miners were led by Briana Green and Jareica Hughes, who scored 12 points a piece. Angela Hartill paced the Lobos (10-1) with 20 points, who remained undefeated in Albuquerque this year.

 

UTEP Rolls Past Mississippi Valley State

Timika Williams poured in a career-high 25 points while Briana Green (15 points), Dietra Caldwell (13 points) and Brittnay Jones (10 points) also joined in on the action to help lead UTEP to a 85-52 trouncing of Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 14. The Miners raced out to a 19-2 lead and never looked back. They put things on cruise control in the second half after leading by 24 at the break (44-20).

 

Hughes Sets UTEP Career Assist Mark

Junior guard Jareica Hughes dished out nine assists in the win vs. MVSU, becoming UTEP’s career leader in the process. She surpassed former Miner greats Terri Pedregon (326) and Ana Valtierra (324).

 

UTEP Falls at NMSU

Jareica Hughes scored 20 points and pulled down seven rebounds while Marta Micula notched her second straight double-double (10 points, 14 rebounds) but it wasn’t enough as New Mexico State held off UTEP, 77-67, at the Pan-American Center on Dec. 7. The Miners had claimed a program-best seven straight against their I-10 rivals, but  challenging effort from the floor (21-of-65, 32.3 field-goal percentage) and a turnover-heavy first half (10 giveaways) put them in a big hole. UTEP won the battle of the boards (44-34), with 23 of those rebounds of the offensive variety. The Miners tallied 17 second-chance points, in addition to 21 points off of 17 Aggie turnovers, and found themselves down by only three (55-52) with 8:03 left in the contest.

 

Miners Blast ENMU, 87-44

UTEP raced out to an 8-0 lead and never looked back on the way to trouncing Eastern New Mexico, 87-44, at the Don Haskins Center Dec. 1. Brittnay Jones (16 points and 11 rebounds) and Marta Micula (15 points, 10 rebounds) both registered double-doubles to lead the way for the Miners, who put things on cruise control after pasting the Zias  to the tune of 49-15 in the opening half.

 

Double Your Pleasure

Sophomore Brittnay Jones notched consecutive double-doubles, (19 points, 12 rebounds in the win against Texas State on Nov. 30 (18 points, 10 boards in the triumph vs. ENMU on Dec. 1). She became the first player since Timika Williams (vs. Tulane and Rice) during the 2006-07 season to do so. The last guard to achieve the feat was Dragana Zoric (2001-02).

 

Don’t Forget Marta

Marta Micula also posted a double-double in the triumph vs. the Zias, giving the Orange and Blue multiple players with double-doubles for the first time since Natasha Lacy and Izabela Piekarska did so in a win at SMU on Jan. 31, 2008.

 

Welcome Back Jareica

Reigning Conference USA Player of the Year Jareica Hughes returned to the lineup in the win against ENMU on Dec. 1 and looked to be in good form despite missing four straight games. The junior tallied 11 points to go along with four assists, three rebounds and two steals in limited action.

 

Miners Held Their Own Without Her

While UTEP certainly prefers to have a healthy Jareica Hughes, her absence did not mean that wins would be at a premium. The Miners went 3-1 in the four contests without Hughes. UTEP is  4-1 in its past five games in which she did not play dating to the start of the 2007-08 campaign. The veteran-laden 2006-07 squad was not as fortunate, as it posted a mark of 0-2 when Hughes was out. 

 

Balanced Attack Without Hughes

In the four contests the Miners played without Jareica Hughes, the offensive came from a multitude of players. Freshman Dietra Caldwell (14.7 ppg), sophomore Brittnay Jones (13.0 ppg), freshman Briana Green (13.0), sophomore Sviatlana Trukshanina (11.3) and junior Timika Williams (9.3 ppg) have all contributed at least 9.0 ppg.

 

Going Green At The Point

Briana Green certainly did a good job in running the point in place of Jareica Hughes when the C-USA Player of the Year was sidelined for four straight contests. Green registered 4.5 assists per game in addition to 13.0 ppg.

 

Miners Cruise Past Texas State

Behind Brittnay Jones’ first-career double-double, the UTEP women’s basketball team cruised past Texas State, 85-74, to take home third place at the second-annual Miner Thanksgiving Classic at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 30.  Jones poured in 19 points to go along with a career-high 12 rebounds, in addition to a game-high six assists. Freshman Briana Green and sophomore Sviatlana Trukshanina joined forces with Jones to form a three-headed scoring monster for the Orange and Blue. Green finished with a career-best 21 points while Trukshanina matched her personal best by pouring in 20 points.

 

Rebounding Machine

Sophomore Brittnay Jones posted a career-high 12 boards in the win against Texas State on Nov. 29.The effort on the glass were the most rebounds by a UTEP guard since Kasia Krezel-also a sophomore at the time- pulled down 12 at Tulsa on Feb. 26, 2006.

 

In Case You Were Curious

The 21 points tallied by Briana Green in the triumph against Texas State were the most by a Miner freshman since Jareica Hughes poured in 24 points in a road triumph at Houston on Jan. 7, 2007. In terms of strictly non-conference games, it marked the highest point total by a freshman since Timika Williams contributed 24 vs. Arizona on Nov. 26, 2006.

 

20/20

Sophomore Sviatlana Trukshanina, who tallied a combined 20 points in 20 games all of last year, notched her second 20-point game on the campaign in the triumph against Texas State on Dec. 29.

 

Already In Exclusive Company

By virtue of her second 20-point game on the year, Sviatlana Trukshanina joined an impressive list of players at UTEP to boast multiple contests with 20 or more points during their sophomore campaign. Amy Pack (11 times in 2000-01), Kasia Krezel (seven times in 2005-06), Jareica Hughes (seven times in 2007-08), Heidi Walker (four times in 2000-01), Kris Hudson (four times in 1982-83), Izabela Piekarska (three times in 2005-06) and Timika Williams (two times in 2006-07) are the only other players on the list.

 

That’s One Way To Win The Boards

UTEP out-rebounded Texas State 34-30, but did so in an unconventional manner. The Miners tallied more offensive rebounds (18) than defensive (16), yet still found a way to secure more boards than the Bobcats. It marked the first time since Dec. 16, 2007, that UTEP won the rebounding battle against a foe in a game in which it had more of the offensive variety. In that contest against Prairie View A&M, the Miners grabbed 24 offensive caroms and 22 defensive.

 

Another Way To Win A Game Period

Texas State knocked down 51.7 percent of their shots against UTEP, but the Miners still found a way to win. The triumph moved the Orange and Blue to 3-20 under Keitha Adams when opposition tops 50 percent.

 

Monmouth Edges UTEP

Briana Green and Dietra Caldwell scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, but the UTEP women’s basketball team was dispatched by Monmouth, 54-49, in the opening game for both teams at the Miner Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 28. UTEP fought back from a 52-42 deficit with 2:36 left in the game with a 7-0 run to make it 52-49 with 25 seconds left.

 

Banner Performance: Miners Rout Savannah State

On a night which the UTEP women’s basketball program raised its first two banners into the rafters of the venerable Don Haskins Center, the 2008-09 edition of the Miners showed that the future is bright by demolishing Savannah State 103-46 in a record-setting game on Nov. 22.  The Miners established single-game-program records for assists (33), three-pointers made (14) on the way to posting the largest margin of victory against a Division one opponent (57) while scoring the second-most points ever vs. a DI foe.

 

Not Too Shabby Of Shooting

The Miners connected on a mind-boggling 57.1 percent from the floor, including a sizzling 53.8 on three pointers. Those figures ranked as the sixth and ninth best efforts, respectively, in program annals.

 

Triple Threat

Sophomores Brittnay Jones and Sviatlana Trukshanina and freshman Dietra Caldwell led the offensive onslaught by combining to score 64 of UTEP’s 103 points.  Jones finished with a career-high 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting while Trukshanina contributed a personal-best 20 points on an amazing 8-of-10, including 4-of-6 on three pointers. Caldwell knocked down six three pointers-the second most ever in a game by a UTEP player- en route to a 20-point outing. She also dished out seven assists and notched five rebounds.

 

Triple Threat Part Deux

Brittnay Jones (24 points), Sviatlana Trukshanina (20 points) and Dietra Caldwell (20 points) all contributed at least 20 points in the win vs. SSU, marking the first time since 1982 and just the second time in program history UTEP has had three players top 20 points in the same game. Kris Hudson (28 points), Kathy Rodolph (25 points) and Tonie Greene (22 points) joined forces to pour in 75 points in a romp against Texas Lutheran on Dec. 4, 1982.

 

Flying High In The Rafters

Prior to the start of the game against Savannah State, the UTEP women’s basketball program held a ceremony in which two banners were unveiled from high above the court. The Miners hung a banner for their 2007-08 Conference USA championship in addition to participating in the NCAA tournament.

 

Wait, There Were More Stars

Briana Green registered 10 assists- equaling the sixth most by a Miner. Fellow classmate Fannie Goodwin pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds (including six of the offensive variety), to help UTEP own the boards to the tune of 50-18.

 

Winning All The Fun Stat Categories

UTEP dominated all of the special statistical categories against SSU. The Miners had 42 points in the paint (14 by the Lady Tigers), 29 points off turnovers (seven from SSU), 21 second-chance points (two for SSU), 25 fast-break points (four from SSU) and 41 points courtesy of the bench (24 by the Lady Tigers).

 

Miners Pick Up Thrilling Win Vs. NMSU

Behind a monstrous double-double from Timika Williams (17 points and 15 points) and clutch play from Dietra Caldwell and Briana Green, the UTEP women’s basketball team picked up an emotional 54-50 victory against I-10 rival New Mexico State at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 20.

 

Green & Caldwell Show

Freshmen Dietra Caldwell and Briana Green paved the way down the stretch in the Miners’ triumph against NMSU. The duo combined to score 17 of the final 18 points on the night for the Miners . Included among the stretch was a pressure-packed triple by Caldwell, off a great pass from junior forward Marta Micula, to afford the Miners a 51-47 lead with 30 seconds left. Green then iced the contest by sinking two free throws to put away the Aggies, who had climbed within two (52-50) with three seconds on the clock.

 

Micula Makes Lone Assist A Big One

While junior Marta Micula registered only one assist in the triumph against NMSU, it could not have been more important. Micula passed out of a double team and set up Dietra Caldwell’s clutch triple which gave the Miners a four-point lead with only 30 seconds left.

 

Williams Overwhelms Aggies

Timika Williams accounted for almost 40 percent of UTEP’s rebounds against NMSU(15 of 38). She also helped the Miners to tally 20 points in the paint compared to 14 by the much taller Aggies.

 

Winning In The 50’s Rare

Making the win against the Aggies even more impressive is the fact they UTEP was limited to 54 points. The triumph improved the Miners to 5-40 during the Keitha Adams era when scoring in the 50’s. At the time of the game,  the Orange and Blue stood at 7-66 under Adams when falling shy of 60 points.

 

UTEP Dealt Gut-Wrenching Loss To UCI

The UTEP women’s basketball team was dealt a heartbreaking 55-54 overtime loss by UC Irving at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 16. Freshman Dietra Caldwell, who forced OT with a clutch three pointer with 31 seconds left, almost lifted the Orange and Blue to victory in the final seconds but her shot at the buzzer rattled out.

 

Progress On Boards

After a challenging effort in the rebounding department against Kansas State (43-27), the Miners were much better in that regard against UC Irvine. UTEP out-rebounded the Anteaters 46-43, with 18 of those coming on the offensive end of the court. The 18 offensive boards were the most since UTEP notched 24 in the 80-68 triumph against Prairie View A&M on Dec. 18, 2007. 

 

Micula Matters

Junior Marta Micula played a big role in the Miners’ success with rebounding against UC Irvine. She pulled down a game-high 11 boards, including three of the offensive variety.

 

For The Stat Lovers

UTEP lost to UC Irvine despite committing only eight turnovers, out-rebounding UCI 46-43 and holding it to a shooting percentage of 33.3. If you are thinking that it seems hard to believe that a team could achieve each of those feats and still come up short, you would be correct. Prior to the setback against the Anteaters, the Miners had never lost a game when registering fewer than eight turnovers, winning the battle of the boards and limiting the opposition to a field-goal percentage of below 35 percent.

 

So What Happened?

One of the biggest determinants in the loss vs. UC Irvine was the fact that UTEP went 13-of-27 at the free-throw line, including 2-of-6 in the extra period. .

 

UTEP Falls In Season Opener To K-State

The UTEP women’s basketball team fell 65-44 loss to Kansas State in the 2008-09 season opener for both squads at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 14. The Miners trailed by only six at the half (28-22) but the defending Big 12 champions managed to pull away down the stretch.  Junior Jareica Hughes (12 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals) led the way for UTEP with sophomore Brittnay Jones (11 points, two boards) and freshman Fannie Goodwin (10 points) joining her in double figures.

 

Goodwin In Good Company

Fannie Goodwin contributed 10 points in 22 minutes of action against Kansas State, becoming just the fourth freshman to reach double figures in the season opener during the Keitha Adams era. The other three names on the list should be very familiar to UTEP fans. Timika Williams and Jareica Hughes pitched in 14 and 11 points, respectively, in the campaign lidlifter vs. St. Mary’s on Nov. 10, 2006. Izabela Piekarska, UTEP’s school record holder for scoring (1,251 points) and games played (119) notched 10 points against UT-Dallas on Nov. 20, 2004.

 

All Good Things Come To An End

UTEP’s setback at the hands of Kansas State halted the Miners’ school-record 14-game home winning streak. UTEP’s last defeat at home prior to being tripped up by the Wildcats came on Feb. 24, 2007, against SMU.

 

Big 12 Team Was Up First Again

The Miners’ 65-44 setback against Kansas State on Nov. 14 marked the second straight year that they christened the campaign against a Big 12 foe. UTEP tipped off what would be the record-setting 2007-08 season by traveling to Lincoln, Neb., to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Nov. 9. While UTEP was dispatched 81-74, the Orange and Blue played well throughout and gained experience that would prove to be vital down the road. Here’s hoping that will once again be the case in 2008-09.

 

Miners Sharp In Preseason

UTEP went 2-0 during the exhibition season, picking up victories against St. Mary’s (TX) and the traveling all- star team of the Houston Jaguars. Returning junior starters Jareica Hughes and Timika Williams led the way in the exhibition romps, contributing 16.5 ppg and 12.0 ppg, respectively. Hughes also contributed 4.0 assists per game and 2.0 steals per game. Williams looked to be in top form with rebounding by averaging 10.0 boards per tilt. As a team, the Miners shot 43.1 percent from the floor compared to a paltry effort of 33.0 by the opposition.


 

 

UTEP Athletics