UTEP To Battle C-USA Preseason Favorite Memphis On National TV
Jan. 6, 2012
THE OPENING ACT
UTEP To Battle C-USA Preseason Favorite Memphis On National TV
UTEP will return home to play host to C-USA preseason favorite Memphis in a national-TV tilt (Fox Sports Network) at 11 a.m. MST Sunday. Ron Thulin (play-by-play) & Christy Winters-Scott (color) will have the call. Fans can also get updates on the game through the team’s Twitter feed (@UTEPWBB). The Miners (12-2, 1-0) won their league opener at SMU, 64-53, on Jan. 5, while the Tigers (11-3, 1-0) held off Tulane, 61-59.
Promos A Plenty
All fans who wear orange will receive free admission to the game. Additionally, there will be a free post-game clinic for kids where they can get a free water bottle simply for participating in it.
We Meet Again
UTEP and Memphis will be locking up for the eighth time overall, including the seventh in the regular season. The Miners lead the overall series, 5-2, and picked up a 60-55 win at Memphis in the only meeting between the two schools last year on Jan. 13, 2011.
Looking At A 2-0 Start To League Play
The Miners are vying for a 2-0 start to league play, which would make this year’s squad the fourth in school history to achieve the feat. They would join the 2007-08 team (16-0), 2006-07 squad (3-0) & 1994-95 team (2-0) to pick up wins in at least the first two conference contests.
Chance To Shine On National TV
The game against Memphis is the first of two nationally-televised tilts for UTEP this year. The Miners’ game at Rice (2/5/12) will also be broadcast across the country by Fox Sports Networks. UTEP has enjoyed its time for the most part in the national spotlight during the Keitha Adams era, with a record of 7-5 in the situation.
Following The Miners In 2011-12
Video and audio for every home game for the Miners on the year will be available through Miner TV on UTEPAthletics.com (subscription-based). All of the road contests on the season for UTEP will be broadcast on Talk Radio 1150 AM.
Staying Up Through Social Media
To keep up with the very latest on the program, LIKE the team’s page on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/UTEPWomensBasketball) and follow the official team Twitter Feed (www.twitter.com/UTEPWBB). Additionally, connect with head coach Keitha Adams by following her on Twitter, @UTEPKeithaAdams.
Get Your Tickets Now
There are still eight home games remaining on the docket for the 2011-12 season, and individual tickets ($5 adults, $3 kids) are on sale for all of them. They may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.
UTEP will wrap up the mini two-game homestand when it locks up with Tulsa at 7:05 p.m. MST on Thursday.
GOING BACK IN TIME
Big Rebounding Night Sends UTEP Past SMU
Gloria Brown posted her third consecutive double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds), Kelli Willingham added 16 points and UTEP crushed SMU on the boards in a 64-53 win inside Moody Coliseum on Jan. 8. The Miners out-rebounded the Mustangs 52-28,including a dominant readout of 32-9 in the second half. The effort afforded UTEP an advantage of 15-4 on second-chance points, with 13 of those points coming over the final 20 minutes.
Welcome Back Kristine
Kristine Vitola was back on the court after missing one game due to an illness, and she looked to be in good form at SMU (1/5/12). The junior toyed with a double-double before finishing with nine points & eight boards in 29 minutes of action.
That’s How You Close Out A Contest
UTEP led by two (55-53) with 3:10 to play but out-scored SMU 9-0 down the stretch to close out the contest in style. The Miners iced it late by going 5-of-6 at the free-throw line in the final minute of action.
Pretty Impressive Play Of Late
After facing halftime deficits of nine & six in the first two games, the Miners have trailed by more than six points in the ensuing 12 contests. UTEP has trailed for just a combined 63:09 of those 480 minutes.
Road Wins Starting To Add Up
UTEP is off to a 4-1 start on the road, which already places this year’s squad tied for sixth all time at the school for single-season away victories. The school standard is 10, which was set during the 2007-08 campaign. The 1980-81 & 1992-93 squads each grabbed seven while the Keitha Adams’ coached teams of 2006-07 & 2008-09 finished with five.
Getting It Done Of Late In League Openers
UTEP is 6-2 since 2005 in league openers, including 4-1 at home during that time frame. Overall, the Miners are 6-5 in conference christeners during the Keitha Adams era.
Especially On The Road
The Miners are now 3-2 in league openers on the road since 2008 & are 4-7 overall in the situation under head coach Keitha Adams. UTEP was 4-16 prior to Adams’ tenure in its initial conference road contest.
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.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
The 411 On Memphis As Institution
The University of Memphis is an American public research university located in the Normal Station neighborhood of Memphis, Tenn., and is a flagship public research university of the Tennessee Board of Regents system. The school was founded as result of the General Education Bill in 1909 and first opened its doors on Sept. 10, 1912. It has been known by several names throughout the years, and it wasn’t until in 1994 when it officially took on the name of the University of Memphis. Notable alumni include Stan Franklin (cognitive scientist), Nancy Laurie (billionaire investor in Wal-Mart), Wink Martindale (gameshow host) and Fred Thompson (United States Senator).
The 411 On Memphis Basketball
Memphis has a proud tradition, with 14 postseason appearances all time. It has competed in the NCAA Tournament seven times, has six showings in the WNIT and one WBI bid. The Tigers have garnered placement in the AP poll a total of 44 times since 1977, with a high water mark of 19th for two weeks in 1981-82. UM returned four starters and eight letterwinners overall from last year’s team (21-13, 8-8 C-USA), which played in the first round of the WNIT.
Get To Know The Memphis Head Coach
Memphis is under the direction of fourth-year head coach Melissa McFerrin, who is 64-48 in that timeframe. She inherited a team which won just 10 games, but has turned the Tigers around with back-to-back 20-win seasons. McFerrin, the fourth head coach in program history, spent four seasons at American University in the same position with a record of 50-70.
She played for Missouri, starting as a point guard from 1979-83. Her efforts helped the team advance to the “Sweet 16” in 1982. Following her playing career she went on to work at Central Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota and also in the WNBA.
Looking At The Memphis Season
Memphis opened up with a pair of wins before dropping a 62-54 decision at Illinois (11/15/11). It recovered by claiming seven in a row before coming up shy at St. John’s (12/18/11) & at Missouri (12/22/11). The Tigers have won the past two times out, including a 61-59 triumph against Tulane (1/5/12).
This And That On Memphis’ Offense
Four players contribute at least 9.0 ppg, including a trio at better than 13.0 per contest (Brittany Carter, 17.6, Jasmine Lee, 14.7 & Nicole Dickson, 13.6). Dickson (23) Carter (14), & Danay Collier (11) have made 48 of the squad’s 60 three-pointers on the year. The Tigers grab 16.6 offensive rebounds per game, with Lee (56), Dickson (39), Ramses Lonlack (28), Carter (23) & Ann Jones (22) all having 20 or more total. Carter (42-34), Dickson (28-17), Lonlack (37-34), Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir (56-26) & Collier (25-24) all have more assists than turnovers. Abdul-Qaadir (.964) & Dickson (.710) are the lone players to make better than 70 percent from the charity stripe. After a stretch of seven straight games with 77+ points, the Tigers have tallied 60, 48, 82 & 61.
This And That On Memphis’ Defense
Three Tigers have at least 20 steals (Brittany Carter, 36, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, 35 & Ramses Lonlack (20). No player has reached double figures in blocks, but Jasmine Lee (nine) is one of four with at least six rejections. Memphis has +3.1 rebounding margin, with Lee (8.9) & Nicole Dickson (8.8) each grabbing better than 8.0 rpg. Memphis has held 13 of its 14 opponents to fewer than 70 points, with seven of them failing to tally more than 60.
CRASH COURSE ON UTEP HOOPS
The Basic Facts On UTEP Basketball
2011-12 marks the 38th season for the UTEP women’s basketball team. The Miners have an all-time record of 430-584, including 12-2 this year. They have registered 13 campaigns of .500 or better. Six of them, including five straight, have come during head coach Keitha Adams’ tenure. UTEP has been a member of four leagues, including being affiliated with Conference USA since the start of the 2005-06 season. The Miners have one postseason appearance and one conference championship to their credit, both of which came during the historic 2007-08 season (28-4 overall, 16-0 C-USA). UTEP returned three starters (and eight letterwinners (four guards, four posts) overall from last year’s squad (16-14, 7-9 C-USA). Six newcomers, all guards (freshmen Syerra Davis, Jenzel Nash, Chrishauna Parker & Marissa Rodriguez, sophomore Ryah Lacy and junior Melisa Mendes) are in the mix for the Orange and Blue in 2011-12.
Getting To Know Coach Adams
UTEP is led by the winningest coach in program history, Keitha Adams. She is 167-145 in her 11th year at the school, including 12-2 this year. Overall Adams is 294-182 in her 16th season as a collegiate head coach, having compiled a mark of 127-37 in a five-year run at Independence Community College. Adams has delivered the three most successful seasons in program history (22-8, 2006-07, 28-4 2007-08 & 18-12 in 2009-10). She was the 2008 C-USA Coach of the Year/finalist for national honor after leading the Miners to their first league championship & postseason bid (advanced to second round of NCAA Tournament). Every player who has exhausted her eligibility at UTEP during her tenure has graduated.
Talk About A 10-Year Stretch
Including the mark of 11-2 in 2011-12, the Miners are now 163-20 over the past 10 years (2002-03 season-present). The effort obliterates the prior standard at the school for a decade-long stretch (115-155 from 1990-91 through 1999-2000).
Winning Mark At Major Junctures
Thanks to the 10-0 start (now 12-2), UTEP was above .500 at the 10-game mark for the fifth time in the past six years. The Miners are already assured of their school-record eighth straight year with a winning record at the 15-contest juncture (prior standard four). They are also guaranteed of their program-best seventh consecutive campaign for the 20-game mark (prior record six).
The Miners have featured at least one player from the El Paso area in every year of the Keitha Adams era, with this year’s team sporting a pair. Sophomore forward Kayla Thornton starred at Irvin High School in El Paso while freshman guard Marissa Rodriguez grew up in the area before moving to San Antonio and playing high school basketball at San Antonio Reagan.
Success In Non-League Play
UTEP is 87-56 in non-conference play during the Keitha Adams era, which was aided by going 11-2 this year. The Miners have posted a school-record seven straight years of .500 or better in non-league play (prior standard four, 1994-95 through 1997-98).
Miners Picked Fourth In Preseason Poll
The UTEP women’s basketball team was selected tied for fourth in the 2011-12 Conference USA Preseason Poll, as voted upon the league’s 12 head coaches. Additionally, senior forward Gloria Brown was tabbed to the all-conference preseason team, which was also revealed by the league office on Oct. 6. Memphis was selected as the preseason favorite, with Tiger guard Brittany Carter being named the preseason player of the year.
In Brief 2010-11 Year-In-Review
UTEP overcame the loss of four key players to injuries at various points in the year on the way to finished with an overall record of 16-14 during the 2010-11 season. The Miners fought hard throughout the year, with a single-season school record 12 of the 14 setbacks coming by single digits. UTEP was 13-6 in El Paso, including 8-3 during non-conference play.
TRENDING WITH THE TEAM
The Miners had 57.6 ppg during a recent five-game stretch but scored 81 points against Texas State (12/31/11) & notched 64 in the win at SMU (1/5/12). After making a season-best 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from three-point land at LMU (12/17/11), UTEP has slipped to 27.0 percent (17-of-63) in the three games since. UTEP enjoyed a six-game stretch with 14 or fewer turnovers but has committed 19, 15 & 20 in the three contests since. It has grabbed 10+ offensive boards in six consecutive contests and in 12 of 14 overall.
The Miners gave up 63 & 72 points in the first two games but no foe has gotten out of the 50’s since. UTEP held a school-record 10 straight opponents (prior mark, five, 2007-08) to fewer than 55 points, with six of those squads failing to crack the 50’s. In terms of field-goal percentage defense, only UC Santa Barbara, which made 40.8 percent, on Dec. 21 has been into the 40’s. Nine of the foes have been kept to below 34 percent. Opponents made 18+ turnovers, including five with 20+, in the first seven games, but they have just 16, 15, 15,16, 17 & 13 since.
Not Just Winning But Winning Big
Ten of UTEP’s 12 wins have come by double figures, eclipsing the effort by last year’s squad. Furthermore, the Miners have seven triumphs by at least 20 points.
Even In Defeat, UTEP Is Competitive
Dating to the start of last season, 16 of the 18 setbacks in that timeframe have been by single digits. The Miners were saddled with a single-season school record 14 defeats by fewer than 10 points in 2010-11 while the two losses in 2011-12 have been by a combined three points.
It’s A Scheduling Thing
The Miners are set to play back-to-back home games before learning to have to adapt to life on the road, with three of the next four in hostile territory.
Playing Time A Plenty
Eleven Miners are earning double figures in minutes played, while a 12th checks in at 9.4 mpg. Kelli Willingham tops the list at 24.8 mpg, while six others are snagging better than 15.0 mpg.
The Bench Bunch
The Miners’ back-ups are accounting for 37.1 points per game. They have 11 games with 30+, including five with 40+ points.
Diving Deeper With The Reserves
UTEP’s bench has outscored the opposition’s reserves in every game, with a double-digit advantage in 13 of the 14 contests. Furthermore, the Miners’ reserves have out-paced the opposition’s starters in seven games while matching their effort in two others.
Ready To Rebound
UTEP was out-rebounded in the first two games but has won the battle of the boards in 10 of 12 contests since. Overall the Miners boast a +8.2 margin. Six different players are grabbing at least 2.5 rpg.
FRONT COURT VETS TRENDING
What Can Brown Do For You
Gloria Brown was the 2011 second-team all C-USA member & Newcomer/Sixth Player. She has reached double figures in six of the past seven games and nine occasions overall. Brown has managed 8+ points in 13 of the 14 contests. She has registered three straight double-digit rebounding efforts, matching her total of such contests from the first 11 tilts. She has three consecutive double-doubles, and six overall. Brown has hit seven straight free throws after enduring a stretch of 4-10. She has eight games with multiple blocks, and is responsible for 36 of the team’s 77 rejections on the year. After being called for four fouls just once in the first 12 match-ups on the season, she fouled out at Arizona State (12/28/11) & had a quartet of infractions at SMU (1/5/12).
Junior Kristine Vitola has made huge strides from her first two seasons with UTEP. Her shooting percentage is up from 36.8 to 48.2, scoring average has gone from 4.7 to 6.4 & rebounding average moved from 3.3 to 7.1. Vitola scored nine points at SMU (1/5/12), besting her sum (six) from her previous two games. Vitola had only three boards against Idaho State (11/12/11). She has grabbed 4+ in her 12 contests since, including nine with six or more. She has swatted two or more shots in eight games. Vitola was 1-of-2 at the free-throw line vs the Bengals (11/12/11) but has gone 20-of-21 since.
Sophomore Kayla Thornton has been an impact player with high-energy motor. She has been up-and-down of late with scoring, sandwiching a career-high 20 points vs. Texas State (12/31/11) with two points at Arizona State (12/28/11) & three at SMU (1/5/12). She has registered five or more rebounds in nine of the past 10 contests. Eleven of her 19 steals on the season have come in the past five contests. She is 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in the past two games, snapping a 3-of-7 skid from the prior three. She has grabbed at least two offensive boards 10 times, with half of those featuring four or more. Nearly half of her boards (42-of-92) have been at the offensive end. She has been hit for seven fouls the past two games, equaling her total from the prior five.
Junior Anete Steinberga, a two-year starter, was utilized as a reserve for the first 11 games this year. She has started the past three contests, and has scored five points on a combined 2-of-11 shooting in the stretch. She had made 19-of-26 (73.1) in the prior seven. Steinberga has defended smartly, with two or fewer fouls in 11 of the past 12 match-ups. She earned double figures in playing time in five straight games early on in the year, but has three such showings since.
BACK COURT VETS TRENDING
Willingham’s Will To Succeed
Kelli Willingham, a 2011 All C-USA Freshman honoree, tallied 16 points at SMU (1/5/12) besting her sum (14 points) from the previous three tilts. She made nine turnovers in the first five games but has only committed 10 in the ensuing 10 contests. Willingham has drilled 12-of-26 from three-point range over the past five games. She was 2-of-9 in the two games before. She made 4-of-6 free throws at SMU, her first attempts in four contests. Thirty of her 33 rebounds have been defensive.
No Ordinary Smith
Senior Kim Smith has been a quality on-ball defender while getting involved in the offense in her second & final season for the Miners. She earned double digits in playing time in the first 13 games on the season, starting 12. She also started at SMU (1/5/12) but only was on the court for five minutes, which played a big factor in ending a nine-contest stretch with 2+ assists. Five of those games featured at least three helpers. Smith has made her past four free throws. She had been 3-of-7 in a prior stretch. Smith tallied 23 points over the first three games (7.7 ppg) on 40.0 percent (6-of-15) shooting, but she has scored 20 points (2.0 ppg) while making 17.7 percent (6-of-36) since. Fifteen of her 16 boards on the season have been defensive.
Not Easy Being Green
Senior Briana Green, who has fought through a pair of season-ending injuries (freshman & junior), has been healthy thus far as a reserve for the Miners in 2011-12. She has earned double figures in playing time in 12 of the 14 contests. After scoring 12 points on a combined 5-of-11 shooting in two games, she has tallied 8 points on 3-of-13 shooting in the ensuing three contests. Fourteen of her 18 assists on the season have come in four games. She has hit multiple three pointers in a trio of contests, and is a combined 6-of-15 in them. In her other 11 games, Green is 4-of-20 from beyond-the-arc. Seventeen of her 20 boards have been defensive.
Second-year Miner & senior Erika Warren has scored nailed 7-of-14 from the floor while tallying 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds the past two games. She had managed 17 points on 5-of-15 shooting to go along with eight boards in the prior four. She had fewer than 10 minutes of playing time in two of the first five games on the year but hasn’t been in single digits since. Nine of her 13 assists on the season have come in the past five match-ups. After going 2-of-4 at the free-throw line against UTPA (11/22/11), she has drilled 10-of-12.
Senior Baiba Eglite scored 14 points in a combined 30 minutes of action in her first six games on the season. She contributed a campaign-high 11 points while nailing 4-of-6 tries in 17 minutes against Texas State (12/31/11) but played just two minutes at SMU (1/5/12). Seven of her nine FGM have been of the three-point variety. She is 5-of-7 from distance over the previous three tilts played. She was 2-of-8 in her initial five appearances.
Whitney Worth The Wait
Senior Whitney Houston transferred to UTEP from Colorado prior to the start of the 2010-11 season, but she missed a year-and-a half due to a knee injury. She made her Miner debut at Arizona State (12/28/11), earning two minutes. She then showed off her talents by scoring five points in six minutes against Texas State (12/31/11). Houston did not get onto the court at SMU, though.
Freshman Chrishauna Parker was a top-50 guard nationally out of Atascocita HS. After coming off the bench for nine of her first 10 appearances, she has started the past three contests. She scored nine points at SMU (1/5/12), which nearly matched her out-put (12) from the previous four. Parker has 10 rebounds in the past two tilts, equaling her effort from the prior three. She made 5-of-8 free throws at New Mexico (12/10/11) but is 6-of-16 in the seven contests since. After committing two or fewer turnovers-including 10 with one or less- in her first 13 appearances, she was saddled with three at SMU.
Mendes Means Business
Junior Melisa Mendes was an all-conference performer at NW Florida State College. She averaged 7.0 ppg on 40.9 percent (18-of-44) shooting from the first seven games but has dipped to 2.0 ppg on 18.2 percent (4-of-22) since. Mendes has made multiple three pointers in a quartet of contests, and is a combined 10-of-20 from distance in those contests. She is 2-of-25 on triples in the other tilts on the year.
The Name Is Nash
Freshman Jenzel Nash joined UTEP as the program’s first Parade All-American after leading the nation in scoring with 37.7 ppg for Worthing HS. She scored 26 points while nailing 12-of-25 from the floor against Houston Baptist (11/19/11 & Lamar, 12/01/11). She has managed 17 points while going 6-of-35 in the 11 other games. She has failed to register a rebound in four of the past five contests, with the exception being a three-board effort against Texas State (12/31/11). She was 3-of-9 from the free throw line to start her career but is 2-of-2 since. Nash has more offensive boards (eight) than defensive (six).
Lace It Up With Lacy
Sophomore Ryah Lacy, who led Grayson County College to a fifth-place finish nationally, made a combined 5-of-12 from the floor for 12 points against Houston Baptist (11/19/11 & NM State, 11/29/11). In her other 10 contests played she checks in at 5-of-25 for 11 points. She is 3-of-22 from three-point land, but did go 1-of-4 in that area at Arizona State (12/28/11). She has posted one steal (or more) in eight consecutive contests & 10 of her 12 appearances on the court overall. Eleven of her twelve rebounds have been of the defensive variety.
Davis Does It
Syerra Davis, a top-50 guard who won three straight state titles with Tolleson HS, was 0-6 from the floor in her first five games as a Miner, but she is 3-of-5 in her six contests since. She had two boards against Texas State (12/31/11), matching her sum from the previous six. Half of her rebounds have been at the offensive end.
Welcome Home, Marissa
Freshman Marissa Rodriguez grew up in El Paso before starring at San Antonio Reagan High School after her family moved. She has appeared in three games, securing four minutes and a rebound in that timeframe.
New Line Impacting Miners
The three-point line was moved back this year, and it has had an impact. Through 14 games, the Miners are down from 35.2 percent (88-of-250) to 28.7 percent (75-of-261) on three-point shooting. The opposition has also suffered, though, slipping from 29.2 percent (76-of-260) to 23.5 (44-of-187).
Threes A Plenty Since 2008
From the time the three-point shot was introduced in college basketball (1986-87) until the end of the 2007-08 season, UTEP managed eight games 10 or more made triples. The Miners have registered 11 such contests since, including one thus far in 2011-12.
181 Straight Games With A Triple
UTEP has made least one three-point shot in a program-record 181 straight games. The last time UTEP failed to fill up a triple in a contest was on Dec. 30, 2005. They have hit one in all but four games during Keith Adams’ era.
STAT LOVERS’ LANE
Jekyll & Hyde
There have been two different Miner clubs this year, with the Dr. Jekyll version showing up 12 times and the Mr. Hyde unit appearing on two occasions.
In 12 Wins (Average Stats)
Team Pts FG% 3fg% FT% RB TO
UTEP 71.9 42.3 29.4 68.3 44.8 15.3
Opp. 51.7 31.9 22.8 72.1 34.9 19.3
In 2 Losses (Average Stats)
Team Pts FG% 3fg% FT% RB TO
UTEP 46.5 34.0 23.3 51.9 37.5 15.0
Opp. 48.0 36.2 27.6 60.0 39.0 15.5
The Magical 70-Point Barrier
The Miners are 106-12 during the Keitha Adams era, including 7-0 this year, in games which they eclipsed 70 points.
UTEP holds a record of 87-15 in the past 102 contests in which it has hit on at least 40.5 percent from the field. The Miners are 9-0 in the situation this year.
It’s All About The Triple
UTEP sports a mark of 47-9 in its past 56 games when making 40 percent or better from three-point range (min. 5 3PM). The Miners are 1-0 in area this season.
Better Get Ready To Rebound
UTEP has a record of 99-41 under Keitha Adams, including 33-10 in the past 43 games, when out-rebounding the opposition. It is 9-1 in the situation this year, with the lone loss coming to UCSB (12/21/11).
Helping Hand Leads To Triumphs
UTEP is a robust 52-2 under Keitha Adams, including 3-0 this year, when registering at least 20 assists in a contest. Sharing hasn’t always been so common, though. UTEP compiled 19 such games from 1984-85 through 2000-01, going 13-6.
As Does Forcing Turnovers
The Miners are 61-15 over their past 76 games that they’ve forced the opposition into committing at least 20 turnovers. UTEP is 5-0 in the situation this year. Eight have committed 18 or more, and 13 have 15+.
Turning Up The Pressure
UTEP is 60-12 during the Keitha Adams era, including 42-3 since the start of the 2006-07 campaign, when forcing the opposition into committing more turnovers than field goals made in a game. The Miners are 6-0 in the situation this year.
Making Free Throws Can Help
UTEP is 45-10 over the past 55 contests when knocking down better than 70 percent at the free-throw line (minimum 10 FTM), including 4-0 in 2011-12.
Finding A Way To Win When Not Though
Dating to the start of the 2006-07 campaign, the Orange and Blue boast a head-scratching mark of 25-13 in games in which they were below 61-percent from the free-throw line (minimum 10 attempts. They are just 1-2 in the area this year though.
The Miners are 16-8 in their past 24 regular-season contests, including 1-0 this year, in which they have made more three pointers than free throws.
Start Them Up
Adams Adding To Record With Every Win
Eleventh-year UTEP head coach Keitha Adams, the winningest coach in program history, has compiled a mark of 167-145 in her time in the Sun City. She has led her charges to a record of 164-120 from the start of the 2002-03 campaign. From the program’s inception in 1974-75 through the end of the 1990-91 season, six different coaches aided UTEP to a record of 145-286. Sandra Rushing was 123-175 in 11 seasons on the sideline (1990-91-2000-01).
Green’s Got It Going On
Briana Green’s career has been hindered with injuries (missed 29 games), making her numbers across the board even more impressive. She is 10th all time for assists (190) and ninth for individual wins (62). Green is one of 25 Miners with at least 75+ steals (79) one of 27 with 600+ points (614). She has logged 2,036 minutes of playing time, making her one of 16 in the program to do so.
Brown’s Not Too Bad Either
Gloria Brown is the 11th Miner to reach the half-century mark after joining the program as a junior, and the 35th player overall at the school to do so. She has piled up 529 points, with currently rating first all-time at the school for career free-throw percentage at 79.4 (124-156) helping that. Brown ranks third in blocked shots (101) & fourth in double-doubles (14).
Was A Historic Start To The Season
UTEP opened up at 10-0 (now 12-2) to stand alone for the best start to a season in program history, besting the prior standard out of the gates (7-0) during the 1996-97 season. The Miners became the first Conference USA school since 2004-05 & fifth overall to open up with 10 straight wins. Overall it tied as the third-best start in league history.
Piled Up The Non-League Wins
UTEP went 11-2 in non-conference play. The 11 wins tied for the most in school history heading into the start of league action, matching the effort by the 2006-07 squad (11-1).
Miners Pick Up Votes In ESPN/USA Top-25 Poll
UTEP received a pair of votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ top-25 poll on Dec. 19. It marked the earliest point in a season that UTEP had garnered votes in either of the top-25 polls, besting prior mark from 2007-08 season. There have now been two campaigns in school history (2007-08 & 2011-2) where the Miners have grabbed a vote in a top-25 poll.
Now That’s Balance
The Miners racked up 81 points against Lamar (12/1/11) despite their leading scorer for the game (Melisa Mendes) finishing with only 10 points. UTEP averaged 47 points in 29 games dating to the 1983-84 season in which its leading scorer finished with 10 or fewer points. It only eclipsed 60 in one of those contests, with a 71-point effort against McNeese State on Nov. 24, 1989.
Dominant Three-Game Stretch
The Miners blew past Denver, 80-49, on Nov. 26, New Mexico State, 63-27, on Nov. 29 & Lamar, 81-52, on Dec. 1, which marked the first time they won three straight games by at least 29 points against a Division I foe for the first time in school history.
Historic Night Of Defense
UTEP smothered New Mexico State (11/29/11), setting program records against a division I opponent for fewest points allowed in a half (eight)and game (27) and field-goal percentage defense (18.4 percent). Additionally, it ranked as the third-fewest points permitted by a Conference USA school.
The Miners sunk 11 three pointers in the win against Denver (11/26/11), which rated tied for the seventh-highest single-game total in program history.
Crashing The Glass
UTEP secured 29 offensive rebounds, the third most in program history, which led to 33 second-chance points in the win against Houston Baptist (11/19/11). Overall the Miners tallied 60 rebounds, which was their highest sum since the 2005-06 season and tied for ninth overall in school history.
Gloria Was Glorious
Gloria Brown flirted with a triple-double (21 points, nine boards, eight blocks) while playing a career-high 31 minutes in the win at NM State (11/16/11). The eight rejections rate third all time at the school, trailing only former Miner Izabela Piekarska’s single-game effort (10, twice).
Double Your Pleasure
Gloria Brown posted a double-double (18/10) in the season opener, becoming the first Miner to register the feat in consecutive years. Overall she has 14 double-doubles in her two years at UTEP (4th all time), with six of those coming this season.
HOME SWEET HOME
Loving Life In El Paso
The Miners are 75-18 in El Paso since the start of the 2006-07 season, including 8-1 this year. Keitha Adams’ charges have strung together a school-record four straight seasons with 12 or more home triumphs. UTEP only had four campaigns where it even reached double figures in home wins during the first 27 years of the program, with the high water mark (12-1) coming in 1988-89.
Home Games A Plenty In 2011-12
By year’s end, the Miners will have played 17 home games (nine non-conference & eight C-USA), which ties as the third-highest figure in program history. The school standard (19 games, 13-6 record) was set last season, which was aided by the Miners playing host to the 2011 Conference USA Tournament. UTEP rolled to a record of 16-2 in 2006-07 while forging a mark of 12-5 in 2008-09.
Don’t Take Things For Granted
UTEP has posted a program-best eight straight years with at least nine home victories and boasts an overall record of 110-50 in El Paso during the Keitha Adams era. The Miners had six such seasons in the 27 years prior to her tenure, and were a combined 163-142.
Not Too Shabby Of A Homestand
UTEP rolled to a record of 5-0 in its homestand from Nov. 19 through Dec. 1. The Miners’ largest deficit during the sequence was three, 5-2 with 18:47 to play first half against Lamar. Overall UTEP only trailed for a combined time of two minutes and 25 seconds in the five games.
Making Progress On The Road
UTEP is 42-84 on the road under Keitha Adams, but they have made strides of late. UTEP is 30-33 away from home dating to the 2006-07 season, including a solid mark of 4-1 this year.
Appreciating The Efforts Under Adams
UTEP is off to a good start of posting it fourth season with a mark of .500 or better away from home during the Keitha Adams era. (5-5 2006-07/2008-09, and 10-3 2007-08). Prior to Adams’ arrival in the Sun City, UTEP never posted a winning road record and it had only two years (2-2; 1974-75 & 7-7; 1992-93) where it mustered a mark of .500. The Miners were a combined 68-241 in hostile territory the 27 years before Adams’ tenure. They were held at two triumphs or fewer in 14 of those campaigns.
Have Had Some Big Wins Away From Home
UTEP boasts 18 double-digit victories on the road under head coach Keitha Adams. The Miners compiled 32 such victories before her and almost half of them (13 of the 27) were at the hands of non-division I opposition.
Tough To Win On Road When Shots Don’t Fall
The Miners have lost 41 straight road games when falling shy of 33.0 percent from the field. The last time UTEP picked up a win under those circumstances was on a 74-51 defeat of New Mexico State on Nov. 26, 1996. The Miners made 29 free throws in that game-the most ever in a road tilt in program history- to overcome the overall poor shooting.
THIS IS UTEP WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
CLIFF’S NOTES ON 2011-12
UTEP Thrashes Texas State, 81-58
Kayla Thornton poured in a career-high 20 points, Gloria Brown notched her second straight double-double (10 points, 13 rebounds) and Baiba Eglite provided a spark off the bench with a season-high 11 points to help UTEP rout Texas State, 81-58, on Dec. 31. The Miners trailed 12-8 with 10:36 to play in the first half before going on a 17-5 run on the way to taking control of the contest. Eglite fueled the sequence with a trio of three pointers, and the Bobcats who had won three in a row- never recovered.
Houston Shows Her Skills
Senior Whitney Houston, who made her UTEP debut at Arizona State (12/28/11), displayed some scoring ability by pitching in five points in six minutes of action against Texas State (12/31/11).
Arizona State Holds Off UTEP, 47-45
Kelli Willingham’s potential go-ahead three pointer from the right wing was blocked with seven seconds to play, allowing Arizona State to creep past UTEP, 47-45, inside Wells Fargo Arena on Dec. 28. It was a back-and-forth defensive battle, with seven ties & nine lead changes. The Miners trailed by four (47-43) with 1:20 remaining in regulation but held the Sun Devils scoreless down the stretch to give themselves a chance at a comeback.
Vitola Has Another Big Night On Boards
Kristine Vitola notched her third double-digit rebounding effort of the year, with a career-high 11 boards at Arizona State (12/28/11). It marked her third game of the year with 10 or more rebounds. She never had more than nine in her first two seasons with the Miners.
UTEP Falls For First Time, 49-48, To UCSB
UTEP was saddled with its first loss of the season in challenging fashion, falling to UC Santa Barbara, 49-48, on a last-second shot by Sweets Underwood at home on Dec. 21. The Miners led 47-40 with 2:56 to play only to have the Gauchos close out in the contest on a 9-2 push, which was capped by Underwood’s short jumper off an out-of-bounds play with 0.4 seconds remaining.
Sometimes Shots Don’t Fall
UTEP finished at 35.2 percent from the floor (19-of-54), with a readout of 18.8 percent (3-of-16) from three-point land impacting that figure. The Miners heated up in the second stanza to drill 45.5 percent from the floor, including 2-of-4 from distance, but ultimately it wasn’t enough.
Miners Roll To 68-48 Win At Loyola Marymount
Kelli Willingham poured in a season-high 18 points to help lead UTEP to a 68-48 triumph at Loyola Marymount on Dec. 17. The Miners bolted out to a 15-2 lead, which was capped by an Erika Warren three pointer with 15:02 to play in the first half. The Lions fought back to trim the deficit to four on a couple of occasions but the Miners used a 14-6 surge to carry a 37-25 advantage into the locker room. LMU never got closer than eight from that point on, with the Orange and Blue putting it on cruise control.
Warren Solid In First Career Start
Senior Erika Warren was steady in making her first career start at Loyola Marymount (12/17/11). In a season-best 22 minutes she matched her campaign high for assists (three), turned in her second-best scoring output (seven) while recording her third-highest rebounding sum (four).
Brown Powers Miners Past UNC, 74-51
Gloria Brown recorded her third double-double of the season (16 points, 11 rebounds)to help the Miners post a 74-51 conquest of Northern Colorado at home on Dec. 13. The Miners were up 19-17 with 9:17 to play in the first half before putting together a 20-2 run to break the game wide open. They led 41-27 at the half, pushed their advantage out to as many as 31 (74-43).
Balanced Approach Does It
Seven different players scored at least six points against Northern Colorado (12/13/11). Gloria Brown keyed the efforts with 16 while Anete Steinberga registered a season-high 11 points to join her in double figures. Chrishauna Parker (nine points), Kayla Thornton and Kelli Willingham (eight points) and Kristine Vitola and Baiba Eglite (six points) all got in the act as well.
Big Effort By The Bench
UTEP’s reserves poured in a season-high 47 points in the win against Northern Colorado (12/13/11).
Willingham Dishes It Out
Sophomore Kelli Willingham tallied a season-high nine assists while committing only one turnover to help the Miners turn in an efficient offensive night against Northern Colorado (12/13/11). UTEP finished with 20 assists on 28 field-goals made.
UTEP Smothers New Mexico, 53-43
Stifling defense, a quality effort at the free-throw line and baskets at key times carried UTEP past New Mexico, 53-43, on the road on Dec. 10. Gloria Brown (12 points, 7 rebounds), Briana Green (10 points), Kelli Willingham (10 points) and Kristine Vitola (six points, 10 rebounds) led the way for the Miners.
UTEP kept the Lobos to 25.5 percent from the floor and harassed them into committing 22 turnovers.
Winning At The Pit Is Always Special
Thanks to the effort at New Mexico (12/10/11), the Miners picked up their first win at The Pit since the 1994-95 season to stand at fourth all time (4-20). Additionally, it marked the Lobos’ first double-digit home setback of the season.
Miners Crush Lamar, 81-52
UTEP played its most complete game of the year to remain undefeated on the season with a resounding 81-52 victory against Lamar on Dec. 1. Eight different players scored at least seven points for the Miners (7-0).UTEP bolted out to a 39-21 halftime lead, extended it to as many as 36 (79-43) before putting it on cruise control down the stretch.
How Sweep It Is; UTEP Crushes NM State, 63-27
Behind stifling defense, UTEP cruised past New Mexico State, 63-27, to complete the sweep of the Sonic Battle of I-10 series at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 29. The Miners led 23-8 at the break and were up by at least 30 points over the final 10 minutes of the contest. It marked the largest margin of victory in the series for the Miners and the second-biggest overall.
UTEP limited NM State to just 9-of-49 shooting from the floor, including 1-of-11 from beyond-the-arc on Nov. 29. The Miners also harassed the visitors into committing 25 points, only two shy of the Aggies’ point total.
Break Out The Brooms
The effort against NM State (11/29/11) locked up the Miners’ first sweep of the series since 2007-08 and ninth overall. Five of the sweeps have come during Keitha Adams’ tenure. UTEP is now 13-9 against the Aggies under Adams, making her the lone coach in school history to have a winning record against their Sonic I-10 rivals.
UTEP Stomps Denver, 80-49,
UTEP overpowered Denver, 80-49, in a clash of unbeaten squads on Nov. 26. Sophomore Kelli Willingham poured in a season-high 18 points to lead a quartet of players in double figures. UTEP was up, 40-26, at the half and led by as many as 38 (80-42) at one point. The Miners drilled 11 threes (t7th-most school history), with Willingham making four of them.
Getting It Done At The Line
UTEP used good movement & motion to earn ample trips to the free-throw line against Denver (11/26/11). The Miners hit a campaign-best 19-of-27 at the free-throw line.
UTEP Takes Down UTPA, 62-51
Powered by Gloria Brown’s second double-double on the year, UTEP dispatched UTPA, 62-51, on Nov. 22. The Miners jumped out to a 29-17 lead at the half, extended it to as many as 19 (58-39 with 4:56 to play) before a mini run late made the final score a little more aesthetically pleasing for UTPA. The Miners dominated down low, scoring 40 of their 62 points in the paint, in addition to winning the rebounding battle, 40-35.
Brown & Vitola Got It Done
Gloria Brown led the way for the Orange and Blue with 13 points, 11 rebounds while also registering five blocked shots against UTPA (11/22/11). Kristine Vitola recorded eight points to go along with five boards to support Brown.
Plenty Of Playing Time
Head coach Keitha Adams used 14 of the 15 played dressed in the win against UTPA (11/22/11). Twelve of those 14 logged at least 10 minutes on the court.
UTEP Routs Houston Baptist, 82-53
The Huskies led 2-0 led but the Miners used an 11-0 run to stake an advantage they would never relinquish. UTEP led 43-17 at the half before putting it on cruise control in the second half.
Big Rebounding Nights For Vitola & Warren
Kristine Vitola and Erika Warren both got after it on the glass with nine rebounds each. The nine board is a career high for Warren,while it matched Vitola’s personal-best at the time (since eclipsed).
Nash Finds Her Rhythm
Jenzel Nash was 0-7 from the floor in her first two collegiate games before breaking through against Houston Baptist (11/19/11). She nailed 8-of-16 from the floor, including a dazzling fake on a one-on-one situation midway through the second half on a lay-up to bring the crowd to life. She finished with a team-high 18 points.
Brown Leads UTEP To 76-72 OT Win At NM State
Gloria Brown poured in 21 points while grabbing nine rebounds and blocking eight shots to help lead UTEP to a 76-72 overtime victory at New Mexico State in the SONIC® ® America’s Drive-In® battle of I-10 on Nov. 16. The Aggies scored the first two points of OT before the Miners ripped off nine straight to surge ahead, 70-63, with 3:03 to play. NM State eventually whittled the margin down to two (74-72) but Melisa Mendes came up with a clutch steal and sank a pair of free throws with six seconds left to seal the win.
Other Standouts At NM State
Chrishauna Parker delivered 11 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes in her first career start while Melissa Mendes. Kristine Vitola came through with eight points-including six in OT- to go along with eight rebounds.
UTEP trailed by as many as nine in the first half and was down by six with 9:27 to play. The Miners utilized a 17-3 run over the next seven-plus minutes on the way to surging into the lead (60-52). NM State forced OT by closed the period on a 9-1 run, including a lay-up at the buzzer.
UTEP Rides Big Second Half To Topple ISU, 79-63
UTEP thumped Idaho State, 53-28, during a dominating second half on the way to securing a 79-63 win in the 2011-12 season opener for both squads at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 12.
Defense Does It
The Miners held the Bengals to 30.8 percent (16-of-52) from the floor, including just 4-of-26 (15.4) in the second half. ISU committed 27 turnovers, which led to 28 UTEP points.
Unselfish play helped with UTEP registering 20 assists on 29 field goals against Idaho State (11/12). Kelli Willingham & Kim Smith accounted for half of them, with five helpers each.