MINERS
UTEP Continues Road Trip At East Carolina




Jan. 17, 2012

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THE OPENING ACT

UTEP Continues Road Trip At East Carolina

UTEP will play its second straight road contest when it takes on East Carolina inside Minges Coliseum at 5 p.m. MST Wendesday. The Miners (15-2, 4-0 C-USA) will be vying to secure their first victory in Minges Coliseum against the Pirates (6-10, 0-3 C-USA). ECU is 38-11 over the past 49 games at home, including winning 12 of the last 14. The contest will be broadcast on 1150 AM in El Paso, and fans can also get live updates through Twitter (@UTEPWBB).

 

Off & Running In League Play

The Miners are off to a 4-0 start in league play for just the second time in program history. The 2007-08 squad got off to a quick start in conference and never looked back en route to becoming the first women’s school in Conference USA history to run the gauntlet to finish 16-0.

 

On The Road As Well

The Miners are off to a program-best 5-1 start on the road, eclipsing the prior standard through six games (4-2 in 2007-08). The season standard for top mark in hostile territory is 10-3, which came in that historic 2007-08 campaign.

 

Not To Mention Overall

With a record of 15-2, the Miners have equaled their best record through 17 games in school history (2007-08). That 2007-08 squad climbed to 27-2 before suffering its third loss of the season & finished with a school record of 28-4.

 

It’s A Streak Thing

The Miners have two separate winning streaks of at least five games this year (10 & 5) to become the second team in program history to achieve the feat. The 1992-93 squad also did. (7 & 5 contests)

 

Did You Know

The Miners are now 2-1 on the year (wins at New Mexico & Tulane, loss at Arizona State) when falling shy of 33.5 percent from the floor in road games. UTEP had dropped 41 straight such contests dating to the 1996-97 campaign.

 

Pretty Select Company

UTEP is one of 11 teams nationally to be both undefeated in league play & have two or fewer total losses.

 

We Meet Again

UTEP and East Carolina will be meeting for the seventh time on Wednesday. The Pirates hold a 4-2 series advantage, including 3-0 at Minges Coliseum. The Miners won the only meeting between the schools last year 

 

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

Six 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.

 

Up Next

UTEP will return home to play host to Houston in the second of its “Grand Prize Giveaway Games” at 1 p.m. MST Sunday.

 

GOING BACK IN TIME

Nash Carries Miners Past Tulane, 65-64 In OT

Freshman Jenzel Nash poured in a career-high 25 points, and UTEP got three stops in the final 45 seconds on the way to handing Tulane its first home loss of the season, 65-64, in overtime inside Fogelman Arena on Jan. 15. Nash scored six points in the extra session, including banking in a jump shot with 1:11 to play in OT that would serve as the eventual game-winner.

 

Putting Nash’s Performance In Perspective

Freshman Jenzel Nash poured in 25 points to go along with seven rebounds and seven steals. She is the second player in school history to have at least 25-7-7 (of that combination) in a single game. Former standout & current WNBA player Natasha Lacy achieved the feat with 25-8-8 in an 86-69 rout of Southern Miss in the semifinals of the 2008 C-USA tournament on March 8, 2008.

 

It’s Not Over ‘Til The Fat Lady Sings

The Miners closed regulation on a 12-3 run to force OT. Kayla Thornton hit her first three pointer of the season to pull UTEP within one (55-54, 1:27 to play), and Gloria Brown eventually tied it by sinking two clutch free throws with 20 seconds to play.

 

LEAGUE MATTERS

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.

 

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.

 

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

The 411 On East Carolina As An Institution

East Carolina University is a public, coeducational, engaged doctoral/research university located in Greenville, N.C. It is the third-largest school in the state, and has been the fastest-growing campus in the UNC system for seven straight years. It was founded in 1907 as a teacher’s school but has evolved over the years. Its campus size has expanded from just 43 acres to what is now almost 1,600. Notable alumni include actress Sandra Bullock, the founder of the Golden Corral restaurant chain, James Maynard (degree in psychology) and World Wrestling Entertainment chairman Vince McMahon.

 

The 411 On ECU Basketball

East Carolina’s program was started prior to the 1969-70 season. It is 593-505 all time, including 6-7 thus far in 2010-11. The Pirates have been affiliated with two leagues, including Conference USA since the 2001-02 season. ECU has made three postseason appearances, including two since 2007. The Pirates competed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament while earning a spot in the 2010 WNIT. The other bid was to the NCAA, which came in 1982.

 

Get To Know The ECU Head Coach

Heather Macy is 22-25 in her second year at the school and 140-64 overall in seven years as a collegiate head coach. Her prior experience came at the Division II level, including most-recently forging a mark of 75-19 at Francis Marion University (2007-10). She was also head coach at Pfeiffer University (2005-07), registering a record of 40-20. A graduate of Greensboro College in 2000, Macy was a four-year letterwinner (1996-2000) for the Pride women’s basketball team.

 

Looking At The ECU Season

East Carolina split its first four tilts before winning three straight to improve to 5-2 on the campaign. It has gone 1-8 since, including dropping its past seven contests. Three straight and five of those seven setbacks have by single digits, including a 62-59 defeat at Memphis (1/15/12).

 

This And That On East Carolina’s Offense

Four players provide at least 5.5 ppg, with Shala Hodges (11.9 ppg) & Chareya Smith (10.6 ppg) leading the way. Hodges (22), Kristine Mial (13) and Bryelle Smith (12) have hit  47 of the team’s 71 three-point shots. Smith (40-36) is the lone player on the squad with more assists than turnovers. While ECU makes  almost 37 percent of its shots, no player is better than 48 percent individually. Britny Edwards (44) & Smith (35) each grabbed better than two offensive boards per game.

 

This And That On East Carolina’s Defense

Five different players have at least 20 steals, with Celeste Stewart (26) & Britny Edwards (25) pacing the team. Edwards (25) & Kristine Mial (14) have 39 of the team’s 54 blocked shots on the season. Opponents make 20.9 turnovers per game. ECU kept six of the first seven foes to fewer than 60 points while going 5-2. It is 1-8 in the games since, with seven of the nine opponents eclipsing 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 433-584, including 15-2 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 170-145 in her 11th year at the school, including 15-2 this year. Overall Adams is 297-182 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 15-2 in 2011-12, the Miners are now 167-120 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 start (15-2), UTEP has now rolled off a school-record eight straight seasons 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). Additionally, the Miners were above .500 for the fifth time in the past six years through 10 tilts.

 

Hometown Heroes

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.

 

Taking Advantage Of National Spotlight

The Miners are 8-5 in national TV games during the Keitha Adams era, including 1-0 this year  (66-60 win vs. Memphis). UTEP is also slated to play on national TV for the game at Rice (2/5/12), which will also be broadcast by Fox Sports Networks.

 

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).

 

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

Getting Offensive

The Miners are at 68.6 ppg in the past five games, an improvement from 57.6 ppg during the previous five. After making a season-best 53.8 percent (7-of-13) from three-point land at LMU (12/17/11), UTEP has slipped to  25.0 percent (26-of-104) in the six games since. UTEP has posted 17 or more turnovers in three of the past four games. It had 14 or fewer in seven of the prior nine. UTEP has grabbed 10+ offensive boards in nine consecutive contests and in 15 of 17 overall. UTEP has hit 76.9 percent (90-of-117) at the free-throw line in the past five games. It was at 56.1 percent (23-of-41) in prior three. The Miners had 20 assists against Tulsa (1/12/12), their highest sum since tallying 21 at NM State (11/16/11).

 

Getting Defensive

The Miners have not allowed more than 63 points during their 15 games decided in regulation this year. Included in the stretch was keeping a program-best 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. UTEP has forced 20+ turnovers in consecutive contests, marking the third time this year it has achieved the feat.

 

Not Just Winning But Winning Big

Eleven of UTEP’s 15 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.

 

Playing Time A Plenty

UTEP has 12 players earning double figures in minutes played (min. appearance in 75% of games played), which checks in as the most in the country according to Stats Inc. Sophomore guard Kelli Willingham tops the list at 25.9 mpg, while five others are snagging better than 15.0 mpg.

 

The Bench Bunch

The Miners’ back-ups are accounting for 36.5 points per game, which has been aided by 30+ points in 13 of the 17 contests. UTEP has six outings with 40+ points, including a Keitha Adams era best 55-point showing against Texas State (12/31/11).

 

Diving Deeper With The Reserves

UTEP’s bench has outscored the opposition’s reserves in every game, with a double-digit advantage in 16 of the 17 contests. Furthermore, the Miners’ reserves have out-paced the opposition’s starters in eight 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 12 of 15 contests since. Overall the Miners boast a +7.8 margin. Six different players have 2.5 rpg, including three with 6.0 or more.

 

FRONT COURT VETS TRENDING

What Can Brown Do For You

Gloria Brown was the 2011 second-team all C-USA member & Newcomer/Sixth Player. Brown scored 13 points at Tulane (1/15/12), topping her total (12) from the previous two tilts. Overall she has 10 double-digit scoring efforts while managing 8+ points 15 times. After a season-low two rebounds against Tulsa (1/12/12), she snagged eight at Tulane.  She has made 18 of her past 19 free throws. She has 11 games with multiple blocks, and is responsible for more than half (49-of-96) of the team’s rejections on the year.

 

Vitola’s Venue

Junior Kristine Vitola has made huge strides from her first two seasons with UTEP. Her shooting percentage is up from 36.8 to 43.9, scoring average has gone from 4.7 to 5.8 & rebounding average moved from 3.3 to 6.4. She had nine points at SMU (1/5/12) but has scored nine total in the three tilts since. She has had three consecutive contests with four or fewer rebounds, which is more than she had overall (two) in the first 13 games. Vitola was 1-of-2 at the free-throw line vs the Idaho State (11/12/11) but has gone 23-of-25 since.

 

Kayla’s Corner

Sophomore Kayla Thornton has been an impact player with high-energy motor. She has reached double figures for scoring in three straight & four of the past five games, matching her total of such contests in the first 12. She has also has 7+ rebounds in the past five games after having 7+ just five times over the first 12 contests. She has nailed 18 of her past 21 free-throw tries. She has 3+ offensive rebounds in five straight contests to surpass her sum (four) of in the first 12 tilts.

 

Anete’s Area

Junior Anete Steinberga, a two-year starter, has been utilized both as a reserve (13) and starter (three) this season. She has hit 5-of-10 from the floor in the past two games while scoring 12 points. She missed all six field-goals attempted & was scoreless in the prior three. Steinberga has defended smartly, with two or fewer fouls in 14 of the past 15 match-ups.

 

BACK COURT VETS TRENDING

Willingham’s Will To Succeed

Kelli Willingham, a 2011 All C-USA Freshman honoree, had seven assists at Tulane (1/15/12), her second-highest total on the year. She had three or fewer helpers in the prior seven games. Willingham is 3-of-16 from the floor while tallying 13 points in the past three games. She had 16 points on 4-of-8 at SMU (1/5/12) prior to the mini slump. Thirty-four of her 37 rebounds have been at the defensive end.

 

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 has 2+ assists in 11 of the past 13 games. Five of those contests featured at least three helpers, including a career-high six against Tulsa (1/12/12). She was scoreless at Tulane (1/15/12), but she did have her second-best seasonal total (eight points) against Tulsa (1/12/12). She is 2-of-6 from three-point range in the past two tilts. She had been in a 2-of-22 slump the prior 13. Eighteen of her 19 boards on the year have been defensive. 

 

Not Easy Being Green

Senior Briana Green, who has fought through a pair of season-ending injuries (freshman & junior),has played injury free this year. Green has scored 8 points on 3-of-17 shooting in the past six games. She had 12 points while making 5-of-11 in the prior two. She has hit multiple three pointers in a trio of contests, and is a combined 6-of-15 in them. In her other 15 games, Green is 4-of-20 from beyond-the-arc.  

 

Warren’s Way

Second-year Miner & senior Erika Warren had five points 2-of-3 shooting at Tulane (1/15/12). She was had two points while making 1-of-5 in the prior two. She had fewer than 10 minutes of playing time in two of the first five games but hasn’t been in single digits since. After a stretch of nailing six free throws in a row, she has made two of her past five.

 

Eglite’s Extent

Senior Baiba Eglite was 1-of-5 from the floor against Houston Baptist (11/19/11). She has gone 9-of-18 since. Included in stretch was making 4-of-6 for a season-best 11 points against Texas State (12/31/11). Seven of her 10 FGM have been of the three-point variety. After starting 2-of-8 from three-point range, she has sunk 5-of-9.

 

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 has played in five contests. She has scored nine points, with five of them coming in six minutes against Texas State (12/31/11).

 

NEWBIES TRENDING

Parker Power

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 six contests. She had two points and two rebounds at Tulane (1/15/12), halting a personal-best three in a row with 6+ points & boards. Parker  is 8-of-18 at the free-throw line over the previous seven contests.

 

Mendes Means Business

Junior Melisa Mendes was an all-conference performer at NW Florida State College. Mendes was scoreless at Tulane (1/15/12), but did tally seven points against Tulsa (1/12/12). Mendes has made multiple three pointers in a quartet of contests, and is a combined 10-of-20 from distance in those games. She is 4-of-31 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 has scored 68 of her 85 points on the year in four games (Houston Baptist, Lamar, Memphis & at Tulane), making a combined 25-of-55 from the floor in them. In her other 12 appearances she has gone 6-of-39 from the floor for 17 points. She is 16-of-20 at the free-throw line in the past three games. She was 5-of-10 in that department to start the year.

 

Lace It Up With Lacy

Sophomore Ryah Lacy, who led Grayson County College to a fifth-place finish nationally, has missed the past two games due an in injury. She 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 11 contests played she checks in at 5-of-25 for 11 points. She has posted one steal (or more) in 11 of her 13 games played.

 

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.

 

THREE-POINT LAND

New Line Impacting Miners

The three-point line was moved back this year, and it has had an impact. Through 17 games, the Miners are down from 36.5 percent (105-of-288) in 2010-11 to 27.8 percent (84-of-303) on three-point shooting this season. The opposition has also suffered, though, slipping from 30.1 percent (94-of-312) to 24.5 (54-of-223).

 

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.

 

184 Straight Games With A Triple

UTEP has made least one three-point shot in a program-record 184 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 15 times and the Mr. Hyde unit appearing on two occasions.

 

In 15 Wins (Average Stats)

Team       Pts       FG%       3fg%       FT%       RB        TO      

UTEP         70.7      40.9        28.3         70.5       44.7      16.0

Opp.        53.3      32.5        23.7         72.6       35.7      19.6                                 

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.

 

Seems Logical

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 101-41 under Keitha Adams, including 35-10 in the past 45 games, when out-rebounding the opposition. It is 10-1 in the situation this year, with the lone loss coming to UCSB (12/21/11).

 

Helping Hand Leads To Triumphs

UTEP is a robust 53-2 under Keitha Adams, including 4-0 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 63-15 over their past 78 games that they’ve forced the opposition into committing at least 20 turnovers. UTEP is 7-0 in the situation this year. Ten have committed 18 or more.

 

Turning Up The Pressure

UTEP is 62-12 during the Keitha Adams era, including 44-3 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 8-0 in the situation this year.

 

Making Free Throws Can Help

UTEP is 47-10 over the past 57 contests when knocking down better than 70 percent at the free-throw line (minimum 10 FTM), including 7-0 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.

 

Go Figure

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

The Miners are 28-10 when Kristine Vitola has started while standing 21-8 with Kayla Thornton earning a starting nod during their respective careers.

 

MILESTONE MOMENTS

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 170-145 in her time in the Sun City. She has led her charges to a record of 167-120 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 sixth for individual wins (65) & 10th for assists (190). She is one of 25 Miners with at least 75+ steals (79) one of 27 with 600+ points (614). She has logged 2,050 minutes of playing time, making her one of 16 in the program to have 2000+.

 

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 554 points, with currently rating first all-time at the school for career free-throw percentage at 80.4 (135-168) helping that. Brown ranks third in blocked shots (114) & fourth in double-doubles (14).

 

Was A Historic Start To The Season

UTEP opened up at 10-0 (now 15-2) 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.

 

Rally Time

UTEP roared back from 19 down to defeat Memphis, 66-60, on Jan. 8. The come-from-behind triumph is the biggest in terms of league games for UTEP, eclipsing the prior standard (15) in a 67-64 defeat against UAB on Jan. 18, 2008. Overall it equals the effort by the Miners in 72-71 OT win against Illinois State on Dec. 19, 2004.

 

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.

 

Bombs Away

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 77-18 in El Paso since the start of the 2006-07 season, including 10-1 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 nine straight years with at least nine home victories and boasts an overall record of 112-50 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.

 

TRAVEL TIME

Road Wins Starting To Add Up

UTEP is off to a 5-1 start on the road, the best start away from home in program history. The five triumphs ties for the fourth most in a single season at the school. The program record is 10 (2007-08) while the 1980-81 & 1992-93 squads each grabbed seven triumphs. The Keitha Adams’ coached teams of 2006-07 & 2008-09 also had five.

 

Making Progress On The Road

UTEP is 43-84 on the road under Keitha Adams, but they have made strides of late. UTEP is 31-33 away from home dating to the 2006-07 season, including the 5-1 record 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.

 

THIS IS UTEP WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

·          UTEP has piled up  more than 100 victories since the start of the 2006-07 season.

·          UTEP has posted a school-record five straight seasons with a record of .500 or better in the sequence

·          Only 20+ win seasons and postseason appearance at school occurred during stretch

·          UTEP went 28-4 in 2007-08, including historic 16-0 in Conference USA play

·          Effort tied the 1966 men’s national champions for most wins by a basketball team in school history

·          Advanced to second round of ‘08 NCAA Tournament after drilling Western Kentucky, 92-60

·          Nationally ranked in polls final six weeks of ‘07-08 and received votes at start of ‘08-09

·          One of eight schools in country with multiple players chosen in ‘08 WNBA Draft

·          All players who have exhausted eligibility under head coach Adams have graduated

 

CLIFF’S NOTES ON THE 2011-12 SEASON

Brown Tabbed C-USA Player Of The Week

Gloria Brown was named the Conference USA Player of the Week, the league office announced on Jan. 9.  Brown helped lead the Miners to a perfect 2-0 start in league action by averaging 12.5 points, 11 rebounds, 5.0 blocks and 2.5 steals in 23.5 minutes.

 

UTEP Topples Tulsa, 67-56

Kayla Thornton scored 17 points and UTEP used a solid approach defensively on the way to downing Tulsa, 67-56, on Jan. 12. The Miners led the final 37:45 of the game, and were up by at least seven points over the final 10 minutes.

 

Deeeee-Fense

Tulsa hit just 29.4 percent from the floor, and had only six second-half field goals. It finished with more free-throws made (23) and turnovers committed (20) than total field goals (15).

 

Steinberga Steps Up

With Gloria Brown limited due to foul trouble, junior Anete Steinberga provided a lift against Tulsa (1/12/12). She tallied 10 points while grabbing five rebounds.

 

Smith’s Career Contest

Kim Smith played an important role in the triumph against Tulsa (1/12/12). She had eight points (2nd-highest seasonal total) while posting career highs for assists (six) and boards (four) again

 

Stunning Comeback Lifts UTEP Past Memphis, 66-60

UTEP equaled the biggest comeback in school history, erasing a 19-point halftime deficit to down Memphis, 66-60, on Jan. 8. The Miners used a 36-12 surge, including a 17-0 run to start the stanza, to not only erase the 41-22 deficit but take a lead they would never relinquish. The Tigers pulled within two (62-60) with 24 seconds left but UTEP sealed the comeback by knocking down its final four free throws.

 

Nash Was Big

Jenzel Nash was instrumental in the rally. Nash scored the first five points and nine total during a 17-0 run to open the period and get UTEP back in the game. After Memphis had pulled back ahead, the Miners struck back with eight in a row, and six of them came from Nash. She hit 7-of-11 from the floor and was 7-of-9 at the charity stripe.

 

Thornton Was Too

Kayla Thornton scored 17 points to match Jenzel Nash, including a pair of free throws in the waning seconds to seal the game for the Miners.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Lockdown Defense

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.

 

Big-Time Defense

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

Kayla Thornton posted a double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) while freshman Jenzel Nash poured in a career-high 18 points to propel UTEP past Houston Baptist, 82-53, at home on Nov. 19. 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.

 

Second-Half Magic

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. 

Helping Hands

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.