MINERS
UTEP Looks To Stay Hot At Southern Miss At 6 P.M. MST Thursday




Jan. 25, 2012

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THE OPENING ACT

UTEP Looks To Stay Hot At Southern Miss At 6 P.M. MST Thursday

UTEP, which is winners of seven straight and sits atop the Conference USA standings, will try to keep it rolling when it plays at Southern Miss at 6 p.m. MST Thursday. The game is third of four away from home for the Miners (17-2, 6-0 C-USA), who downed Houston, 87-43, to secure their biggest margin of victory in a league game in program history on Jan. 22. The Golden Eagles (6-13, 0-6 C-USA) posted a record of 6-7 in non-conference play but have fallen on hard times of late, having dropped their first six league contests. The game will be broadcast on 1150 AM in El Paso, and fans can also get live updates through Twitter (@UTEPWBB).

 

Adams On Cusp Of 300 Career Wins

Head coach Keitha Adams is one win shy of notching her 300th as a collegiate head coach. She has 172 victories with the Miners and claimed 127 previously at Independence Community College. She would become the fourth active head coach in C-USA to achieve the feat, joining Marshall’s Royce Chadwick (557-291), Tulane’s Lisa Stockton (415-205) & SMU’s Rhonda Rompola (375-244).

 

Miners Receive Vote In Both Top-25 Polls

For the first time this season, UTEP picked up a vote in the top-25 of both the AP & ESPN/USA Coaches polls in the same week. The Miners had previously secured a pair of votes in the coaches poll on Dec. 19, 2011, which marked the earliest point in any season that they drew national attention.

 

Off & Running In League Play

The Miners are off to a 6-0 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 have surged to a school-record 6-1 start on the road, topping the prior standard at this juncture (5-2 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 17-2, the Miners have equaled their best record through 19 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 & 7) to become the second team in program history to achieve the feat. The 1992-93 squad also did. (7 & 5 contests)

 

Pretty Select Company

UTEP is one of 10 teams nationally to be both undefeated in league play & have two or fewer total losses.

 

We Meet Again

UTEP leads the all-time series against Southern Miss, 5-3, but the Miners are 1-3 in games contested in Hattiesburg. The last meeting between the programs at USM occurred in the 2009-10 campaign when a 9-17, 4-9 C-USA Southern Miss squad downed a 14-11, 6-7 C-USA UTEP team, 74-63. The Miners emerged victorious in the only meeting between the programs last year, 77-49, in El Paso on Feb. 24, 2011.

 

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

LIKE the team’s page on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/UTEPWomensBasketball) and follow the official team Twitter Feed (www.twitter.com/UTEPWBB) for the latest on the program. Additionally, connect with head coach Keitha Adams by following her on Twitter, @UTEPKeithaAdams.

 

Get Your Tickets Now

Five home games remain on the docket for the 2011-12 season, and individual tickets ($5 adults, $3 kids) can be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.

 

Up Next

UTEP will return home to play host to UCF at 2:05 p.m. MST Sunday. The Miners will then have their Thursday bye before returning to action at Rice in a nationally-televised tilt (FSN) at 10 a.m. on Feb. 5.

 

GOING BACK IN TIME

UTEP Stomps Houston, 87-43

UTEP bolted out to a 41-21 lead at the half and never looked back on the way throttling Houston, 87-43, to secure its largest margin of victory in a conference game in program history on Jan. 22.

 

Season-Best Offensive Output

UTEP racked up a season-best 25 assists on 33 field goals on the way to a campaign-high 87 points against Houston (1/22/12). The Miners had a season-low-tying nine assists while hitting on 45.2 percent from the floor.

 

Balanced Attack

All 13 Miners who saw action scored at least four points, with sophomore Kayla Thornton leading the way with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. The Miners’ bench poured in 48 points, out-scoring the entire UH squad in the process.

 

Keep That Fan Support Coming

UTEP is second in Conference USA at 1,473 fans per game. Helping that figure has been eclipsing 2,000 fans in four of the past five contests and six times overall in 2011-12.

 

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

The 411 On Southern Miss As An Institution

The University of Southern Miss, or Southern Miss as it is officially known, is a public, research university located in Hattiesburg, Miss. The school was founded in 1910, and is one of only a dozen institutions in the nation to hold accreditation in all four fine arts emphasis areas (art, dance, theatre and music). Jimmy Buffett (singer, songwriter & actor), Brett Favre (three-time NFL MVP QB) and Robert L. Stewart (former NASA astronaut) are among the notable names to have earned degrees from USM.

 

The 411 On Southern Miss Basketball

Southern Miss has quite a storied history, with 11 postseason appearances to its credit (8 NCAA and three WNIT). The Lady Eagles made consecutive postseason showings heading into the 2008-09 season but were snubbed despite a mark of 20-12.

 

Get To Know The Southern Miss Head Coach

Southern Miss is under the direction of head coach Joye Lee-McNelis, who returned to take over the reigns at her alma mater following a lengthy stint at fellow C-USA school Memphis. McNelis, who starred with the Lady Eagles from 1980-84 and became its No. 6 all-time leading scorer, has done a solid job since her appointment. In her eighth year at the helm of the Lady Eagles’ program, Lee-McNelis is 104-130. She is 333-285 in what is now her 22nd year as a collegiate head coach.

 

Looking At The Southern Miss Season

Southern Miss had decent success in non-conference play, registering a record of 6-7. The Lady Eagles claimed three of their final four non-league tilts to gain some momentum heading into C-USA action but they have not been able to sustain that. USM is 0-6 in league play, although four of those setbacks have come on the road. It is 6-13 overall, including 5-5 at home in 2011-12.

 

This And That On Southern Miss’ Offense

Southern Miss has a top-heavy offense, as it is the only team in Conference USA to have a pair of players contributing better than 15.0  points per game.  Tanecka Carey (16.1) & Jamierra Faulkner (15.4) lead the way, with  the next player on the squad (Nitesha Pierce) checking in at 7.4 ppg. Carey (42), Faulkner (14) & Niesha Pierce (10) have drilled 66 of the team’s 78 three-pointers on the year. Faulkner (126-89) is the only player with more assists than turnovers. Three players have more than 25 offensive boards, including Nitesha Pierce with her team-leading 50. Carey & Faulkner log better than 36.0 minutes per game, but no other player is at more than 25.0 mpg.

 

This And That On Southern Miss’ Defense

Four players have 20+ steals, with Jamierra Faulkner (52) and Tanecka Carey (29) setting the pace. Ance Celmina (20) & Sedreka Plummer (17) are the only players with double figures in blocked shots. Nitesha Pierce has committed a team-high 57 fouls, which has played a role in her fouling out in four contests.

 

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 435-584, including 17-2 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 172-145 in her 11th year at the school, including 17-2 this year. Overall Adams is 299-182 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 17-2 in 2011-12, the Miners are now 169-120 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 (17-2), 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 70.9 ppg in the past seven games, a big jump up from 57.6 ppg over the prior six. Aiding the increase was tallying a season-high 87 points against Houston (1/22/12). For the second time this year, UTEP has posted back-to-back games of better than 45 percent from the floor. They are a combined  46.2 percent (60-130) in those tilts, a big improvement upon the combined readout of 35.6 percent (88-247) in their first four league games. The Miners sank 37.5 percent (9-24) from three-point range against Houston (1/22/12) to snap out of a 21.2 percent funk (11-of-52) spanning the prior four games.  After consecutive contests with 20+ turnovers, UTEP had nine giveaways against the Cougars. It is at 56.4 percent (22-of-39) from the line the past two tilts. It had nailed 76.6 percent (90-of-117) in the previous five games. The Miners dished out 25 assists vs. Houston, nearly equaling their sum (29) from the prior two tilts.

 

Getting Defensive

UTEP hasn’t allowed more than 63 points in regulation this season. 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. UC Santa Barbara, which hit 40.8 percent from the floor on Dec. 21, is the only opponent to get into the 40’s. Ten have failed to eclipse 34%. After three straight opponents had 18+ turnovers, the Miners were only able to force 15 against Houston (1/22/12). After swatting 10 shots at Tulane (1/15/12), the Miners have a combined eight rejections in the two tilts since.

 

Not Just Winning But Winning Big

Thirteen of UTEP’s 17 wins have come by double figures, which ranks tied for third all time in a single season at the school. The standard is held by the 2007-08 squad (18), followed by the 2006-07 team (15) & 1992-93 squad (13). A school-record-tying eight of the triumphs have been by at least 20 points, matching the effort in 2006-07.

 

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 25.5 mpg, while five others are snagging better than 17.0 mpg.

 

The Bench Bunch

The Miners’ back-ups are accounting for 37.1 points per game, which has been aided by 30+ points in 15 of the 19 contests. UTEP has seven 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 18 of the 19 contests. Furthermore, the Miners’ reserves have either out-scored the opponent’s starters (nine) or matched them (two) 11 times.

 

Ready To Rebound

UTEP was out-rebounded in the first two games but has won the battle of the boards in 14 of 17 contests since. Overall the Miners boast a C-USA best +8.7 margin.

 

Controlling The Paint

UTEP is generating 33.3 points per game in the paint, which has been helped with 14 games of 28+ points. The Miners have eclipsed 40 points down low on six occasions. The opposition has managed just 20.5 ppg in the paint. Northern Colorado, which had 30 points in the paint on Dec. 13, is the lone foe to get above 28.

 

FRONT COURT VETS TRENDING

What Can Brown Do For You

Gloria Brown was the 2011 second-team all C-USA member & Newcomer/Sixth Player. After consecutive contests with double figures, Brown had four points in five minutes of action against Houston (1/22/12). She has 10+ rebounds in five of the past eight contests. After an 18-of-19 stretch at the free-throw line, she is now 3-of-5 of late. She has gone 9-of-12 from the floor in the past two tilts to snap out of a three-game slump where she was at 28.0 percent.  She has had at least four blocks in four of the past six tilts, and is responsible for 53 of the team’s 107 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 44.0, scoring average has gone from 4.7 to 5.9 & rebounding average moved from 3.3 to 6.2. She has gone 7-of-14 (50.0 percent) from the floor with 14 points the past two games. She had managed 17 points on 6-21 shooting (28.6 percent) during the first four C-USA contests. Vitola grabbed eight rebounds against Houston (1/22/11), nearly equaling her sum (nine) from the prior three. She 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 five straight & six of the past seven games. She did so five times in the 12  contests prior. Thornton has grabbed at least 8 rebounds in five of the past six contests. After a stretch of 18-of-21 at the free-throw line, she is a combined 4-of-7 in the past two games. She has 3+ offensive rebounds in seven 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 (14) and starter (four) this season. She was 0-of-5 from the floor against Houston (1/22/12). She had gone 12-of-19 over the prior three games while reaching double figures twice, something she had done just once in the first 15 games. Steinberga has defended smartly, with two or fewer fouls in 16 of the past 17 match-ups.

 

BACK COURT VETS TRENDING

Willingham’s Will To Succeed

Kelli Willingham was a 2011 All C-USA Freshman honoree. After back-to-back games with 4+ assists for the first time on the season, she had two helpers against Houston (1/22/12). She is 4-of-10 from the floor in the past two games. She was a combined 3-of-16 in the three games prior. After logging 28+ minutes in three straight and six of eight, something she did just twice in the first 10 tilts, she played just 16 minutes against the Cougars. She has made four in a row & 20 of the past 23 at the free-throw line.

 

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 matched her career high (six) in assists in two of the past four games & has at least two helpers in 13 of 15. She started 16 straight, came off the bench at ECU (1/18/12), and was back in the top five against Houston (1/22/12). She had five points against the Cougars, nearly doubling her effort (three) during the prior two tilts.

 

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 hit 2-of-5 from the floor and had four points against Houston (1/22/12). She had been scoreless in the prior four  & had a total of eight points on 3-of-17 shooting in the previous eight. She earned 17 minutes against the Cougars, matching her amount played in the prior four. She has hit multiple three pointers in a trio of contests, and is a combined 6-of-15 in them. In her other 16 games, Green is 4-of-22 from beyond-the-arc.  

 

Warren’s Way

Second-year Miner & senior Erika Warren 2-of-4 from the floor while tallying five points against Houston (1/22/112) in making her third start of the season. She was scoreless while missing all five shots at ECU (1/18/12). 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 four of her past nine.

 

Eglite’s Extent

Senior Baiba Eglite is healthy & has appeared in 13 games as a senior. She had nine points on 3-of-5 shooting against Houston. She had managed two points while going 1-of-9 from the floor in the first five league contests.

 

Ten of her 13 FGM have been of the three-point variety. For the first time this season, Eglite has garnered 10+ minutes of playing time in back-to-back contests.

 

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 seven contests. She has scored 14 points, with five points against both Texas State (12/31/11) & Houston (1/22/12).

 

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 seven contests before missing the contest against Houston due to team rules. Parker  is 8-of-20 at the free-throw line over the previous eight contests. While her scoring has dipped of late, she has still gone 6-of-12 from the field in the past four contests.

 

Mendes Means Business

Junior Melisa Mendes was an all-conference performer at NW Florida State College. Mendes had five points against Houston (1/22/12). She had been scoreless on the road trip to Tulane & ECU. She is still stuck in a bit of a shooting slump, standing at 9-of-33 from the floor over the past six contests.  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 5-of-34 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. For the first time at the collegiate level she has scored 5+ points in three straight contests, including a career-best 25 points at Tulane (1/15/12). She has played 14+ minutes seven times this year, and is accounting for 11.9 ppg while hitting 44.1 percent from the floor (30-of-68) & 66.7 (22-33) at the free-throw line. In her other 11 games played, she has had 1.2 ppg while making 13.9 percent from the field (5-of-36) and 50.0 percent (2-of-4) at the charity stripe. She is 19-of-25 at the free-throw line in the past five games. She was 5-of-10 in that department to start the year. She has 13 rebounds the past three tilts, surpassing her effort (11) from the prior 11. Nash made her first career start at ECU (1/18/12). 

 

Lace It Up With Lacy

Sophomore Ryah Lacy, who led Grayson County College to a fifth-place finish nationally, has missed the past four games (three injury, one team rules). 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 5-of-7 in her seven contests since. Half of her points on the year (seven) & almost half of her rebounds (seven) were against Houston (1/22/12).

 

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 19 games, the Miners are down from 36.2 percent (115-of-318) in 2010-11 to 28.2 percent (95-of-337) on three-point shooting this season. The opposition has also suffered, though, slipping from 31.4 percent (103-of-333) to 23.9 (59-of-247).

 

Threes A Plenty Since 2008

From the time the three-point shot was introduced in college basketball (1986-87) through 2007-08, UTEP had eight games with at least 10 triples. The Miners have compiled 11 since, including one during the 2011-12 season.

 

186 Straight Games With A Triple

UTEP has made least one three-point shot in a program-record 186 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 17 times and the Mr. Hyde unit appearing on two occasions.

 

In 17 Wins (Average Stats)

Team       Pts       FG%       3fg%       FT%       RB        TO      

UTEP         71.4      41.6        28.7         68.9       45.3      15.9

Opp.        52.9      32.3        23.4         71.8       35.4      19.2                                 

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 107-12 during the Keitha Adams era, including 8-0 this year, in games which they eclipsed 70 points.

 

Seems Logical

UTEP holds a record of 89-15 in the past 104 contests in which it has hit on at least 40.5 percent from the field. The Miners are 11-0 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 103-41 under Keitha Adams, including 37-10 in the past 47 games, when out-rebounding the opposition. It is 12-1 in the situation this year, with the lone loss coming to UCSB (12/21/11).

 

Helping Hand Leads To Triumphs

UTEP is a robust 54-2 under Keitha Adams, including 5-0 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 63-12 during the Keitha Adams era, including 45-3 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 9-0 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 24-11 in games in which they were below 61-percent from the free-throw line (minimum 10 attempts. The Miners are 4-2 in that situation this year.

 

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 29-9 when Kristine Vitola has started. UTEP is 23-8 with Kayla Thornton earning a starting nod.

 

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 172-145 in her time in the Sun City. She has led her charges to a record of 169-120 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 (66) & 10th for assists (193). She is one of 25 Miners with at least 75+ steals (79) one of 27 with 600+ points (618). She has logged 2,067 minutes of playing time, making her one of 16 in the program to have 2000+.

 

Brown Getting It Done In All Areas

Gloria Brown will leave a big dent in the UTEP record books despite joining the program as a junior. She is currently first all time at the school for career field-goal percentage at 55.1 (217-394) & FT percentage at 79.8 (138-173). Brown has piled up 575 points to become the 11th Miner to reach the half-century mark as a junior transfer & 35th overall. Additionally she is tied for first in blocks per game (2.5), third for total blocks (118) & fourth in double-doubles (15).

 

Vitola’s A Big Shot Blocker Too

Junior Kristine Vitola  has swatted 79 shots in her career, which ranks fifth all time at the school. She has also tallied 398 career points while grabbing 317 boards in 80 games played.

 

Steinberga Marching Toward 500

Junior Anete Steinberga is slowly but surely making the climb toward joining the 500-point club at UTEP. She had a season-best 15 points at East Carolina (1/18/12), and now stands at 437 for her career.

 

Was A Historic Start To The Season

UTEP opened up at 10-0 (now 17-2) 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).

 

Nash’s Star Showing At Tulane

Freshman Jenzel Nash poured in 25 points to go along with seven rebounds and seven steals at Tulane (1/15/12). 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.

 

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 78-18 in El Paso since the start of the 2006-07 season, including 11-1 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 113-50 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 6-1 start on the road, the best start away from home in program history. Overall the six triumphs ranks as 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 victories.

 

Making Progress On The Road

UTEP is 44-84 on the road under Keitha Adams, but they have made strides of late. UTEP is 32-33 away from home dating to the 2006-07 season, including the 6-1 record this year.

 

Appreciating The Efforts Under Adams

UTEP is almost ensured of its second winning record on the road under Keitha Adams & fourth year at .500 or better away from home. Prior to her arrival, the Miners’ never had a winning road mark & were at .500 just twice in 27 years.

 

Have Had Some Big Wins Away From Home

UTEP boasts 19 double-digit victories on the road under head coach Keitha Adams. The Miners had 27 such victories before her tenure, 13 were against non-DI schools.

 

Did You Know

The Miners are 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.

 

LEAGUE MATTERS

Miners Picked Fourth In Preseason Poll

UTEP was selected tied for fourth in the 2011-12 Conference USA Preseason Poll, as voted upon the league’s 12 head coaches. 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 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. They were

3-12 before her.

 

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.

 

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

UTEP Secures First Win In Greenville, 66-56

UTEP pounded East Carolina down low while punishing it on the glass on the way to picking up its first victory in four tries at Minges Coliseum, 66-56, on Jan. 18. The game was tied at 35 at the half but the Miners ripped control of the contest with an 11-2 run over the first nine minutes of the second stanza. The Pirates tried to rally but each run was answered with one by the visitors.

 

Stars Of The Contest

Gloria Brown posted her seventh double-double of the year  (17 points, 11 boards) to lead the way while Anete Steinberga added a season-best 15 points and Kayla Thornton pitched in 10. Senior Kim Smith also stood out with a career-best five rebounds and a career-high-tying six assists in 26 minutes of action.

 

Nash Carries Miners Past Tulane, 65-64 In OT

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, 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.

 

It’s Not Over ‘Til The Fat Lady Sings

The Miners closed regulation on a 12-3 run to force OT in the eventual win at Tulane (1/15/12). 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.

 

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.

 

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 to that point with a career-high 11 boards at Arizona State (12/28/11).

 

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. 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.

 

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.

 

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.


 

 

UTEP Athletics