MINERS
Top-Seed UTEP Opens 2012 C-USA Championships On Thursday




March 6, 2012

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THE OPENING ACT

Top-Seed UTEP Opens 2012 C-USA Championships On Thursday

UTEP is the No. 1 seed in the 2012 Conference USA Championships, and it will take on the victor of (8) UCF/ (9) Southern Miss in a quarterfinal contest at 4 p.m. MST at Elma Roane Fieldhouse on the campus of host Memphis on Thursday, March 8. The Miners (26-3, 15-1) won the 2012 C-USA regular-season crown, and were one of four squads to secure a first-round bye. The game will be broadcast on 1150 AM in El Paso, and fans can also get updates by following the Miners on Twitter (@UTEPWBB).

 

Quick Rundown On UCF

UCF, the 2011 C-USA Tournament Champions, compiled a mark of 12-16 on the year. It was 7-5 in league play coming down the stretch before dropping its final four contests to finish at 7-9. Four Knights contribute at least 7.0 points per game, with Aisha Patrick (14.2), Genevia Carter (11.9) & Kayli Keough  (10.1) leading the way. The Knights rebound it well (+5.2) and they pound it down low. UCF had 510 free throw attempts, compared to 410 by the opposition.

 

Quick Rundown On Southern Miss

Southern Miss finished at 12-17 on the year, including 6-10 in league play, but those records don’t tell its story. The Eagles were 6-2 over their final eight games, including a stout 7-1 in the month of February. Jamierra Faulkner (16.7) & Tanecka Carey (15.2) pace an impressive offensive attack which accounts for 60.4 ppg on a solid 40.6 shooting percentage.

 

We Are The Champions

UTEP is the 2012 Conference USA regular-season champion, which was its second league title in the past five years. The Miners were 15-1 in C-USA play, with the .938 winning percentage checking in as the third best in league history.

 

TOURNAMENT TIME

The Overview On UTEP & Conference Tournaments

UTEP has compiled a 9-19 record in conference tournament play, including 5-6 since joining C-USA prior to the start of the 2005-06 campaign. The Miners were runners up at the event in 2008 while being knocked out in the semifinals following one victory in 1993, 1995 & 2004 when they were in the WAC.

 

Bye Bye Opening Round

For the fourth time of the Keitha Adams era, the Miners will receive a first-round bye. UTEP was the No. 1 seed in 2008 while holding down the No. 2 slot in 2009 & the  No. 4 seed in 2004 (WAC Tourney).

 

Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day

UTEP is 6-10 during the Keitha Adams era in conference tournament play, but it is 5-5 since the 2007 tourney. To appreciate the progress, consider that the Miners were 3-9 prior to her tenure in the situation. 

 

Talking Seeds And Tournament History Breakdown

For fans of detail, the ensuing chart is for you. A historical breakdown by seed for the 16 years of the

Conference USA tournament follows below.

 

Seed     OR        W%       QF        W%      SM       W%       CH       W%       OV          W%    LT       LTA

1           0-0        NA        14-2     87.5     7-7       50.0      4-3       57.1      25-12     67.6   2010   2010

2           0-0        NA        15-1     93.8     9-6       60.0      5-4       55.6      29-11     72.5   2011   2011

3           0-0        NA        12-5     70.6     6-6       50.0      4-2       66.7      22-13     62.9   2007   2009

4           0-0        NA        7-9       43.8     4-3       57.1      1-3       25.0      12-15     44.4   2005   2011

5           14-1     93.3      9-7       56.3     4-5       44.4      2-2       50.0      29-15     65.9   2009   2009

6           12-4     75.0      3-8       27.3     1-2       33.3      0-1       0.0         16-15     51.6   NA      2010

7           11-5     68.8      1-10     09.1     0-1       0.0         NA        NA         12-16     42.9   NA      NA   

8           7-9        43.8      2-5       28.6     1-1       50.0      0-1       0.0         10-16     38.5   NA      2000

9           9-7        56.3      0-8       0.0       NA       NA         NA        NA         9-15        37.5   NA      NA   

10        5-11     31.3      0-5       0.0       NA       NA         NA        NA         5-16        23.8   NA      NA   

11        4-12     25.0      1-3       25.0     0-1       0.0         NA        NA         5-16        23.8   NA      NA   

12        1-14     06.7      0-1       0.0       NA       NA         NA        NA         1-15        06.3   NA      NA  

 

Key:  OR= Opening Round; QF= Quarterfinals; SM= Semifinals; CH; Finals; OV= Overall Record;

LT; Last Title; LTA; Last  Title Appearance; W%= Winning Percentage

 

Good Fortune With An Even Year?

Six of the seven times the No. 1 seed has advanced to the C-USA title contest (4-3 record in games), it has come in an even year. The #1 seed earned runner-up accolades in 1996 & 2008 while winning it in 1998, 2004, 2006 & 2010. The only appearance in the finals in an odd year was in 1999.

 

Trying To Restoring The Reputation Of #1 Seed As A Title Contender

As the previous note details, #1 seeds have been at their best in even years. The overall reputation, though, of the top seed being a title contender could still be improved, something UTEP would certainly enjoy doing. #1 seeds advanced to the finals in three of the first four C-USA Championships (1-2 records in games) but they have managed just four appearances in the title tilt (3-1 in games) in the 12 years since. The last occasion was in 2010, when Tulane cut down the nets. 

 

If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

One area UTEP will simply try to continue a trend in is the success of #1 seeds in the quarterfinals. The top seed has won 10 straight such contests & are 14-2 overall in the situation in the tourney’s inception in 1996.

 

Memphis Sitting Pretty At No. 2

Host Memphis is the No. 2 seed in the event, and a potential foe for UTEP in the finals if both teams can navigate through a pair of tricky contests. Historically the #2 seed has the most title appearances (9; 5-4) & the top winning percentage (72.5; 29-11) but there has been some struggles of late in terms of vying for the crown. After a stretch of making the finals six of seven occasions (2-4 in games), the #2 seed has done so just twice in the past five years.

 

Another Carrot To Chase

UTEP has ample motivation for the league tournament, but the prospect of breaking the school & C-USA standards for wins in a single season certainly can’t hurt. If the Miners (26-3) can achieve the feat of three triumphs in as many days, they would surpass the 2007-08 squad (28-4). That team was the first of what is now C-USA squads to post 28 victories.

 

AWARDS AVENUE

Brown & Thornton Earn C-USA Honors

Senior Gloria Brown (first team) and sophomore Kayla Thornton (second team) were recognized as All-Conference USA performers. Brown, who was a second-team honoree in 2011, also landed on the five-member all-defensive squad. Brown joins former standout Jareica Hughes as the lone individuals in program history to secure both first team and all-defensive team accolades in the same season.

It is the first time since 2007-08 (Hughes, Natasha Lacy & Izabela Piekarska) that UTEP placed multiple players on the all-league team. Overall the Miners have now been represented on the all-conference squad for six straight years.

 

More On Brown

Gloria Brown rates among the league leaders for blocked shots (2.9-first), field-goal percentage (52.1-third), free-throw percentage (79.2- third), offensive rebounds per game (3.2-fourth), rebounding (8.8-fifth), defensive rebounds (5.6-seventh) & scoring (11.5-15th). She also led the Miners in double-doubles (10), free-throws made (80 and attempted 101. She has done all of this in 19.7 minutes per game off the pine while regularly facing double or even triples teams.

More On Thornton

Kayla Thornton has had a breakout sophomore season, and was a key player for the Miners’ drive to the 2012 C-USA regular-season crown. She has filled up the stat sheet and checks in among the league’s leaders on field-goal percentage (48.8-sixth), offensive rebounding (3.1-7th), free-throw percentage (74.0-eighth), rebounds per game (7.1-11th), defensive rebounds per game (4.0-12th) and scoring (9.8-23rd).She is second on the team for double-digit scoring games (12) and double-doubles (three), in addition to field-goal percentage (48.4), minutes per game (24.5) and steals (33). 

 

Adams Named C-USA Coach Of Year; Browns Repeats As Sixth Player Of Year

Head coach Keitha Adams has been named the 2012 Conference USA Coach of the Year, while senior forward Gloria Brown has repeated as the league’s Sixth Player of the Year it was revealed by the league office Monday. It marks the second time of Adams’ career that she has been so recognized (2007-08), and it was certainly well deserved after guiding the Miners to their second regular-season championship in the past five years.

 

Willingham Is Academic All-Conference

Sophomore guard Kelli Willingham was tabbed to the five-member 2012 Conference USA Women’s All-Academic Team, the league office announced Thursday afternoon. Willingham, who has a 3.83 cumulative GPA in kinesiology, is the first Miners since 2007-08 (Natasha Lacy) and second overall to earn placement on the prestigious squad.

 

GOING BACK IN TIME

UTEP Prevails At UAB, 47-45

Defense and rebounding powered UTEP to a 47-45 conquest of UAB in the 2011-12 regular-season finale for both squads at Bartow Arena on March 1. The game was tied at 28 with 15:35 to play before UTEP used a 13-2 surge to take a lead  it would never relinquish. The Blazers eventually whittled the advantage down to one (46-45) with 19 seconds left but a Gloria Brown free throw and steal from Jenzel Nash sealed UTEP’s single-season school-record-setting 11th road win (11-1).

 

Individuals Who Stood Out

Gloria Brown led all players with players with 14 points and nine rebounds, which helped the Miners out-rebound the Blazers, 47-42. Junior Kristine Vitola chipped in six points and eight boards while Jenzel Nash had six points and two steals, with the latter preventing a potential game-winning three pointer for the home side.

 

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 444-585, including 26-3 this year. It has won two league titles (2007-08 & 2011-12), both of which have come since joining Conference USA in time for the 2005-06 season. In 2007-08 the Miners (28-4, 16-0) became the first C-USA women’s team to go 16-0 in league play. Aiding that was a school & league-standard 23-game winning streak. UTEP earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, and advanced to the second round. This year’s team is ensured of making the program’s second postseason appearance. UTEP returned three starters (and eight letterwinners (four guards, four posts) overall from last year’s squad (16-14, 7-9 C-USA). Five newcomers, all guards (freshmen Syerra Davis, Jenzel Nash, Chrishauna Parker & Marissa Rodriguez 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 & two-time Conference USA Coach of the Year (2008 & 2012) Keitha Adams. She is 181-146 in her 11th year at the school, including 26-3 this year. Overall Adams is 308-183 in her 16th season as a collegiate head coach, (127-37 at Independence Community College), making her one of five active C-USA coaches with 300+ triumphs. All three 20-victory campaigns & four of the five seasons of at least 18 wins in program history have been during her tenure. Additionally, seven of the 10 campaigns all time at UTEP with 16+ wins are courtesy of Adams. She has led the Miners to a pair of league titles (2007-08, 2011-12). Every player who has exhausted her eligibility at UTEP during her tenure has graduated.

 

Talk About A 10-Year Stretch

Including the mark of 26-3 in 2011-12, the Miners are now 178-123 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

UTEP posted a school-record eight seasons with a winning mark through 15 games (prior standard four) & a program-best seven consecutive campaigns for the 20-contest juncture.  Additionally, the Miners were above .500 for the fifth time in the past six years through 10 tilts.

 

That’s A Lot Of Wins...

UTEP’s 26 wins places it tied for the eighth most in the country (through all games on Monday, Feb. 27). Additionally it ranks as the second-most triumphs in school history (28) while rating tied for 12th in C-USA annals. The league standard is also 28, which has been achieved twice. UTEP was the first team to do so (28-4, 2007-08).

 

Seven Points From Perfection

#1 Baylor (30-0) is the only undefeated team in the division I women’s basketball. In terms of total combined points lost by, UTEP (26-3) is the next closest thing to Baylor for being perfect.  The Miners have dropped their three games by a combined seven points. Only #8 Delaware (27-1), is in single digits in this area. Its lone setback on the season was by nine points.

 

Miners Will Play Postseason Basketball In 2012

The Miners will be taking aim at winning three games in three days to punch an automatic ticket to the NCAA Tournament. If that does not come to fruition, and UTEP is overlooked by the selection committee, it is ensured of going to the WNIT. It will be UTEP’s second appearance all time in a postseason tournament (excluding league tourneys) in program history. The Miners earned an at-large bid to the Big Dance in 2008 and advanced to the second round.

 

One Of Top Statistical Teams In C-USA

The Miners are first (eight) or second (two) in 10 of the major team statistical categories amongst Conference USA squads.

 

Stats Don’t Lie; UTEP Elite Defensively Nationally Too

Defense has been the calling card for success for the Orange and Blue in 2011-12. UTEP is fourth nationally in guarding the three (23.9), fifth in field-goal percentage defense (33.2) & blocked shots per game (6.1), 11th in rebound margin (+9.3) & scoring defense (52.2) & 17th in scoring margin (14.5).

 

Talking 20-Win Seasons

This year’s Miners (26-3) is the third team in program history to reach the 20-win plateau, all of which have come in the past six seasons. The school standard is 28-4 (2007-06), followed by this year’s team. The 2006-07 edition (22-8) was the first to do so, breaking a school standard (18-10, that had stood since 1992-93.

 

Putting The Success In Perspective

For the fourth time in the past six seasons, the Miners have posted at least 18 wins. Three of the campaigns featured 20+ wins, including this year’s  team at 26-3. Prior to Keitha Adams’ tenure, the Miners only had one season with more than 16 victories (18-10, 1992-93). 

 

Been Some High-Quality Wins

UTEP is 9-1 on the year, which was aided by a mark of 4-1 in non-conference play, against teams with a winning percentage of at least 55%, with a scoring margin of +15.7 in those contests. The lone loss was at Arizona State (12/28/11) by two points.

 

RPI Report

UTEP is No. 54 in the latest RPI report (March 4). Additionally, it is 4-1 on the year vs. top-100 RPI opponents. The Miners have wins against Idaho State (71), Memphis (72), (away/home) against Tulane (81) and a loss at Arizona State (54).UTEP also derailed UAB (103).

 

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.

 

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 2011-12 Year-In-Review

UTEP bolted out to a program-best 10-0, dropped the next two games by a combined three points, before peeling off 15 straight. Overall the 2012 C-USA champion Miners are 26-3, including 15-1 in league play. Their three losses have been by a combined seven points.

 

Looking Back At 2010-11

UTEP overcame the loss of four key players to injuries at various points in the year & 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.

 

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.

 

TRENDING WITH THE TEAM

Getting Offensive

Held below 38% shooting in three of past four  ... better then 43% in four of five before skid ... held to less than 50 points in back-to-back games ... 64+ in 14 of prior 15 ... is at 62.4% (53-of-85) from free-throw line past four games ... nailed 75% (78-of-104) in six tilts before skid ... 13-of-57 on treys (22.8%) past four games ... hit 47.1% (16-of-34) prior two ... 10+ offensive rebounds in five straight & 25 times total ... after consecutive contests with 20+ turnovers, has 15 or fewer in seven of 11 since.

 

Getting Defensive

UTEP hasn’t allowed more than 65 points in regulation ... single-season school-record 11 opponents have been held to 50 or fewer, breaking former standard (eight, 1976-77 & 1992-93) ... 27 of 29 opponents have shot worse than 40 percent ... 14 haven’t eclipsed 34% ... foes with 15 & 11 turnovers in past two games ...  had forced 19+ in prior two ... blocked 6+ shots in 18 contests, including five games with nine ...  kept foes to a pair of three pointers or less 11 times, including six since during C-USA play.

               

Not Just Winning But Winning Big

The Miners have registered a school standard 19 double-digit wins, besting the prior mark (18,  2007-08). A program-best 10 of those triumphs have been by at least 20 points.

 

Even In Defeat, UTEP Is Competitive

Dating to the start of last season 15 of the 17 setbacks have been by single digits. The Miners were saddled with a single-season school record 12 such defeats in 2010-11 while the trio of losses this year have been by a combined seven points (1, 2, 4).

 

Playing Time A Plenty

UTEP has 11 players earning double figures in minutes played (min. appearance in 75% of games played), which rates amongst the nation’s leaders. Only Kelli Willingham (26.1),  is above 25.0 mpg, but Kayla Thornton (24.5), Kim Smith (19.8), Gloria Brown (19.7)  & Kristine Vitola (19.1) all earn at least 19.0 mpg.

 

30-Minutes Not The Norm

Only 18 times this year has a Miner had 30 minutes or more of playing time, with & Kayla Thornton (seven) & Kelli Willingham (seven) accounting for 13 of them. Gloria Brown, Jenzel Nash, Kim Smith & Kristine Vitola all did so once.

 

The Bench Bunch

The Miners’ back-ups are accounting for 34.9 points per game, which has been aided by 30+ points in 20 of the 29 contests. UTEP has nine 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 28 of the 29 games, with a double-digit edge 25 times. Furthermore, the Miners’ reserves have either out-scored the opponent’s starters (10) or matched them (three) 13 times.

 

Ready To Rebound

UTEP was out-rebounded in the first two games but has won the battle of the boards in 24 of 27 contests since. With a +9.3 margin, the Miners are on track to break the school standard (+7.0) which was set in 1992-93.

 

Controlling The Paint

UTEP is generating 31.4 points per game in the paint, which has been helped with 19 games of 28+ points. The Miners have eclipsed 40 points down low on six occasions. The opposition has managed just 20.2 ppg in the paint, with only two teams (Northern Colorado (30, 12/13/11) & at Southern Miss (38, 1/26/12) topping 29. 

 

FRONT COURT VETS TRENDING

What Can Brown Do For You

Gloria Brown held to 33.3% (4-of-12) from floor at UAB (3/1/12) ... 42-of-79 (52.7) prior 11 ... averaging 9.4 rebounds past 10 games, which was aided by  the second-most (19) in school history at USM (1/26/12) ... made 4-of-5 free throws at UAB to break out of 9-of-15 skid prior five ... 2+ offensive boards 1st 18 games of year & 24 times overall ... multiple blocked shots in 21 contests, with three or more 17 times & at least five on four occasions … registered 46 steals to pace UTEP ... reached double figures in scoring team-high 17 times, including eight occasions in league play ... compiled squad-10 nine double-doubles.

 

Kayla’s Corner

Sophomore Kayla Thornton missed first game of her career at UAB (3/1/12) with an illness ... 10.7 ppg on 52.1% shooting (25-48) past six games, to go along with 9.0 rpg ... has 7+ boards in each of games, which is longest streak of career ... had 23 total points & shot 30.0% (8-of-24) prior three ...2+ offensive boards 22 times total ...  started year 1-of-6 on treys but is 3-of-6 since … second on team double figure scoring games (12) & double-doubles (3) ... was only player on team to start every game on year before missing contest at UAB.

 

Vitola’s Venue

Junior Kristine Vitola has made big strides from her first two seasons with UTEP ... shooting percentage up from 36.8 to 42.8, scoring average gone from 4.7 to 5.9 & rebounding average moved from 3.3 to 5.6 ... is 3-of-14 from the floor with 8 total points past two games ... averaged 8 points while nailing 14-of-26 in four games prior ...  started season 2-of-23 on treys, enjoyed 2-of-4 stretch but is 0-5 past three tilts ...  eight rebounds at UAB (3/1/12). nearly matching sum (9), from prior three ... started 15 of first 17 games she played in before coming off bench in 10 straight ... started in place of the ill Kayla Thornton at UAB.

 

Anete’s Area

Junior Anete Steinberga, a two-year starter, has been used as both reserve (15) and starter (14) this year ... 7.8 ppg on 43.5% shooting (27-of-62) past nine games ... had four points total (all FT) while going 0-of-8 from floor two games prior to stretch ... had 5+ rebounds just twice in first 17 games ... done so seven times since, including her lone double-double of year (10 pts, 10 rb) at Houston (2/19/12) ...  started last 11 contests.

 

BACK COURT VETS TRENDING

Willingham’s Will To Succeed

Kelli Willingham was a 2011 All C-USA Freshman honoree ... 11 points on 4-of-19 shooting past four games ... had 9+ points in prior three ... 1-of-2 on treys at UAB (3/1/12) to snap out 0-of-5 skid ... made two or fewer turnovers 21 times ... five assists combined past three tilts ... had season-best stretch of 4+ in prior three ... missed two free throws (4-of-6) at SMU (1/5/12), but has only misfired on a pair (14-of-16) since ... started 27 straight & 28 total overall.

 

No Ordinary Smith

Senior Kim Smith has been a quality on-ball defender while getting involved in the offense ... has only three games with more turnovers than assists on year ... overall at +1.8 ratio (83-45) ... 28 rebounds past 12 contests, surpassing sum (20) to start season ... has just three total, though, in past three ... after stretch of making 7-of-11 three-point attempts midway through league play, has gone 0-6 in past four tilts ... started 11 straight and 27 times overall.

 

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 ... season-high 13 points while making 4-of-5 vs. UCF (1/29/12) ... 5-of-17 for 15 points in eight games since ... 9-of-19 in four games when making 2+ three pointers ... 6-of-28 when failing to do so ... 2-of-5 at free throw line to start season but is 6-of-8 since ... six rebounds past four contests, to surpass sum (four) from prior six.

 

Warren’s Way

Second-year Miner & senior Erika Warren has been both reserve (17) & starter (nine) this year ... pitching in 8.5 ppg on 55.9% shooting (19-of-34) while grabbing 20 rebounds (3.3 rpg) past six games ... had 40 total points by making 34.1% (15-of-44) to go along 24 boards (2.2 rpg) previous 13 ... started year 4-of-16 on treys but is 6-of-12 since ... has started seven straight games and nine of past 11 ...

 

Eglite’s Extent

Senior Baiba Eglite is healthy & has appeared in 22 games as a senior ... had nine points, all on triples (3-of-5), vs. Houston (1/22/12) ...  has gone 1-of-6 from floor for three points in  31 minutes combined over the nine contests since ... 11 of 14 FGM have been of three-point variety ... season-high 11 points, including nine on triples, vs. Texas State (12/31/11). 

 

Whitney Worth The Wait

Senior Whitney Houston transferred to UTEP from Colorado prior to the start of the 2010-11 season ... missed all of last year and first 11 contests of this year before playing two minutes in Miner debut at Arizona State (12/28/11) ... scored five points in three separate tilts ... 1-5 from three over first six appearances but has hit on 2-of-4 since ... after three consecutive scoreless contests, has tallied five points combined past two tilts.

 

NEWBIES TRENDING

Mendes Means Business

Senior Melisa Mendes was an all-conference performer at NW Florida State College ... scored five points while making 2-of-5 shots at UAB (3/1/12) ... had tallied nine points on 4-of-14 from floor in prior four ... two steals in three of past four tilts ... did so four times total in first 23 contests ... hit 1-of-2 three-point attempts at UAB ... was in 5-of-27 skid spanning 12 games ...  overall better than 40% from floor in two of past four contests ... did so twice in prior 17 ... 10-of-20 from three when making multiple triples in a quartet of games ... 9-of-59 in other tilts ... 5-of-11 from free-throw line to start the year but 6-of-7 since ... eight boards past three games to surpass sum (six) prior seven) ... started first nine games of year but has come off bench since.

 

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 ... scored 96 of her 139 points, grabbed 40 of 51 boards & registered 18 of her 24 assists in league action … overall is contributed 6.0 ppg in C-USA action, which placed her second among UTEP guards & fifth overall on the team in that period ... started year 5-of-10 from FT line but is 29-of-43 since ... combined 3-of-4 on treys against UCF (1/29/12) ... 2-of-19 in other 25 contests.

 

Parker Power

Freshman Chrishauna Parker was top-50 guard nationally out of Atascocita HS ... played in past seven games after missing prior four ... had two points (both free throws) while going 0-of-4 from floor at UAB (3/1/12) ... tallied 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting prior three ... 13 boards past two games to nearly match sum (14) prior seven appearances ... 2-of-3 on free throws at UAB to bounce back from 2-of-5 in that area vs. Rice (2/26/12) ... came off bench her first 10 appearances before starting seven in a row ... has been used as reserve since returning to action.

 

Davis Does It

Syerra Davis was a top-50 guard who won three straight state titles with Tolleson HS ... 0-6 first five games as a Miner but 6-of-15 since ... almost half (8-of-18) of her rebounds are of the offensive variety... career-high seven points & seven boards in 13 minutes of action in the win vs. Houston (1/22/11).

 

Welcome Home, Marissa

Freshman Marissa Rodriguez grew up in El Paso before starring at San Antonio Reagan High School after her family moved ... has appeared in five games ... secured eight minutes and a rebound in that timeframe.

 

THREE-POINT LAND

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, but only one of those have come in 2011-12.

 

196 Straight Games With A Triple

UTEP has made least one three-point shot in a program-record 196 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 26 times and the Mr. Hyde unit appearing on three occasions.

 

In 26 Wins (Average Stats)

Team     Pts     FG%     3fg%     FT%     RB      TO     

UTEP     68.8     40.9       30.0       69.6      45.0     16.0

Opp.       52.4     32.8       23.6       69.9      35.0     17.9                                               

In 3 Losses (Average Stats)

Team     Pts     FG%     3fg%     FT%     RB      TO     

UTEP     47.0     33.3       23.3       54.0      40.0     15.0

Opp.       49.3     36.5       25.0       60.0      37.0     15.0

The Magical 70-Point Barrier

The Miners are 110-12 during the Keitha Adams era, including 11-0 this year, in games which they eclipsed 70 points.

 

Seems Logical

UTEP holds a record of 94-15 in the past 109 contests in which it has hit on at least 40.5 percent from the field. The Miners are 16-0 in the situation this year.

 

It’s All About The Triple

UTEP sports a mark of 50-9 in its past 59 games when making 40 percent or better from three-point range (min. 5 3PM), including 4-0 this year.

 

Better Get Ready To Rebound

UTEP has a record of 112-42 under Keitha Adams, including 46-11 in the past 57 games, when out-rebounding the opposition. It is 20-2 in the situation this year, with setbacks to UCSB (12/21/11) & Rice (2/26/12). The Miners made just 33.7% (35-of-104) from the floor & 55.6% (20-of-36) at the free-throw line in those setbacks.

 

Helping Hand Leads To Triumphs

UTEP is a robust 56-2 under Keitha Adams, including 7-0 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 65-15 over their past 80 games that they’ve forced the opposition into committing at least 20 turnovers. UTEP is 9-0 in the situation this year. Fifteen foes have committed 18 or more.

 

Turning Up The Pressure

UTEP is 66-12 during the Keitha Adams era, including 48-3 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 12-0 in the situation this year.

 

Making Free Throws Can Help

UTEP is 50-10 over the past 60 contests when knocking down better than 70 percent at the free-throw line (minimum 10 FTM), including 10-0 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 25-12 in games in which they were below 61-percent from the free-throw line (minimum 10 attempts. UTEP is 5-3 in that situation this year.

 

Go Figure

The Miners are 18-8 in their past 26 regular-season contests, including 3-0 this year, in which they have made more three pointers than free throws.

 

Start Them Up

The Miners are 30-9 when Kristine Vitola has started in her career. UTEP is 32-9 with Kayla Thornton earning a starting nod since arriving on campus.

 

MILESTONE MOMENTS

Records Are Made To Be Broken

With the type of season UTEP is enjoying (26-3), it is only natural that there a lot of school standards that were almost set, broken or could be even be shattered.

 

Category                      Record             2011-12

Overall Wins                28 (07-08)                   26

Home Wins                  16 (06-07)                   15

Road Wins                   10 (07-08)                   11

Blocked Shots           171 (81-82)              175

FG% Defense             36.5 (05-06)            33.4

3PT% Defense           23.5 (87-88)            23.7

Rebound Margin        +7.0 (92-93)            +9.3

Rebound Average      44.5 (96-97)            44.4

Scoring Defense       57.2 (93-92)            52.1

Scoring Margin          +9.6 (07-08)          +15.5

 

bold denotes would break record if season ended today.

 

That Was Quite A Streak

UTEP peeled off 15 wins in a row (final non-conference game & first 14 C-USA contests). The surge ranked as the second longest in program history & third best in C-USA annals.

The league & school standard was set by the 2007-08 Miners, at 23 in a row. 

 

Going Streaking The Big Hit In 2011-12

The Miners enjoyed two separate win streaks of at least 10 games this year (10, 15), becoming the first team in program history to do so. Previously, the standard was separate five-contest surges, which was achieved by the 1992-93 squad (five & seven).

 

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 181-146 in her time in the Sun City. She has led her charges to a record of 178-121 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 tied for fourth for individual wins (76) & 10th for assists (205). She is one of 22 Miners with at least 80+ steals (80) one of 27 with 600+ points (646). She has logged 2,170 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 blocked shots per game (2.6), field-goal percentage  (53.5) & FT percentage (79.6). Brown has piled up 697 points to become the 10th Miner to have at least 600 after transferring in as a junior & 28th overall. Along those same lines, she is the fourth to do so with 400+ boards (472). Additionally she is third for total blocks (150), tied for third in rebounds per game (8.0) & in double-doubles (18) while compiling 79 steals.

 

Thornton Putting Up Some Big Numbers

Though her sophomore season isn’t yet in the books, Kayla Thornton is well on her way to being one of the better players in program history. She is on track to crack 1,000-career points by the time she graduates. Additionally, she has 363 total rebounds, which has her on pace to finish around 800. The school standard is 810.

 

Willingham Already In The Books

Sophomore Kelli Willingham is already starting to make a name for herself in the UTEP career record books. She rates eighth all time for career three-pointers made (86) & is one of 11 Miners with at least 200 assists (202). She is on track to be a 1,000-point scorer by career’s end, currently standing at 488. She has started 54 of 59 games played.

 

Vitola’s Steadily Compiling Numbers

Junior Kristine Vitola  has swatted 93 shots in her career, which ranks fifth all time at the school. She has also tallied 458 career points while grabbing 361 boards in 90 games played, 39 of which have been starts.

 

Looking Back On 10-0 Start

UTEP opened up at 10-0 (now 26-3) 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).

 

Good Teams Find A Way To Win

UTEP tallied 45 points and shot 27.0 percent from the floor, but still won at Rice (2/5/12) due to its defense & rebounding. The field-goal percentage is the second lowest in a win in school history, while the 45 points scored equal the second fewest in a triumph.

 

Best Two-Game League Defense... Ever

UTEP has yielded 79 points combined to UCF (1/29/12) & at Rice (2/15/12), which was the fewest in consecutive league games in program history. The prior standard was 81 (2003-04).

 

Hard To Believe

The 79 points allowed in consecutive contests isn’t even the fewest for a two-game stretch this season. It is actually 76 (49 vs. Denver, 11/26/11 & 27 vs. NM State). The lowest combined points for two tilts is 69, which was achieved twice in the initial season of the program (1974-75), thanks to a pair of games where the Miners limited Beaumont to 20 points.

 

Lockdown D Vs. UCF

UCF (1/29/12) managed just 38 points, which tied as the second-fewest points permitted by the Miners in a league game in program history.  It was just one off of tying the school standard, which was set in a 52-37 Miners’ triumph at New Mexico (3/1/95).

 

Brown Delivers The Goods At USM

Gloria Brown poured in a career high 27 points, aided by making a school-record 17 free throws, while grabbing the second-most rebounds (19) in program history in a dominant display at Southern Miss (1/26/12). She also equaled the school standard for free-throws attempted (19).

 

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.

 

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 30 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).

 

HOME SWEET HOME

Home Wins A Plenty In 2011-12

UTEP compiled a mark of 15-2 in El Paso this year, which ranks as the second-most home  triumphs in program history. The 2006-07 squad holds the standard for most triumphs (16-2). The only undefeated home mark in program history was in the 2007-08 campaign (14-0).

 

Loving Life In El Paso

The Miners are 82-18 in El Paso since the start of the 2006-07 season, aided by the 15-2 mark this season. Keitha Adams’ have now  strung together a school-record five 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 coming in 1988-89.

 

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 117-51 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.

 

Best Fan Support In C-USA

The Miners were heads & shoulders above the rest of the Conference USA for average attendance in 2011-12. They had an overall average of 2,639, with ECU (1,528) more than 1,100 back. In terms of league only, UTEP had 4,243 on average. Memphis (1,774) was nearly 2,500 in back of that figure.

 

 

Piling Up The Fans

UTEP drew better than 2,000 fans in nine of the final 10 contests of the year, and a single-season 11 contests overall. The prior standard was six (2007-08).

 

Big Crowds All The Rage In Adams Era

Ten of the 13 games in program history (excluding double headers) with at least 4,000 fans  in attendance have come during the Keitha Adams era. The Miners 9-1 in those tilts during her era. The complete list is below, with bold denoting the Adams era.

 

No.  Crowd  Foe                 Score               Date

1.     7,255     SMU               W, 76-63         2/28/08

2.     7,212     Memphis      W, 80-58         2/10/07

3.     7,103     BYU                L, 57-61      2/22/93

4.     7,003     ECU               W, 81-53     2/10/08

5.     6,532     SMU               W, 68-50          2/23/12

6.     6,421     Rice               L, 48-52      2/26/12

7.     5,513     Houston        W, 80-55          2/14/08

8.     5,093     Tulsa             W, 65-50       3/1/08

9.     4,682     UNLV             W, 73-58     2/10/98

10.  4,536     Tulane           W, 80-65     2/12/12

11.  4,167     Marshall       W, 64-58       2/9/12

12.  4,069     TCU               W, 79-76     2/22/01

13.  4,029     UCF               W, 67-38     1/29/12

 

Another Note Of That Nature

The Miners finished out the season with five straight games of at least 4,000 fans to shatter the prior consecutive standard (two, 2007-08).

 

TRAVEL TIME

Road Victories Galore

UTEP has rolled to a mark of 11-1 on the road, which rates as the most in a single season in program history. The prior standard was held by the 2007-08 squad (10-3).

 

Making Progress On The Road Overall

UTEP is 49-84 on the road under Keitha Adams, but they have made strides over the past six seasons. UTEP is 37-33 away from home dating to the 2006-07 season, including the 11-1 record this year.

 

Appreciating The Efforts Under Adams

UTEP is 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 21 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 4-1 on the year (wins at New Mexico, Tulane, Rice & at UAB, 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

Ample Success In C-USA For The Miners

UTEP has been among the best teams in C-USA since joining the league in 2005-06, when it was realigned. The Miners have the second-most overall wins (140) in that timeframe, trailing only Tulane (144).

 

Preseason Poll; In Review

Preseason polls always make for good discussion, but that is about all they are good for. UTEP, picked fourth in the 2011-12 C-USA edition, emerged as the regular-season champions. The complete version of prediction & actual outcome is pasted below.

 

School                  Predicted                    Actual

UTEP                    tied fourth                   1st

Memphis              1st                                 2nd

Tulane                  tied fourth                    3rd

UAB                       6th                                4th

Rice                       2nd                               5th

Tulsa                     11th                              6th

Marshall               12th                              7th

UCF                       3rd                                8th

Southern Miss     9th                                9th

SMU                      8th                                10th

East Carolina      10th                              11th

Houston                7th                                12th  

 

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 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 such contests.

 

THIS IS UTEP WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

UTEP is the 2012 C-USA regular-season champion, and is assured of making its second postseason appearance this season.

UTEP has received votes in the coaches’ top-25 poll for seven straight weeks

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

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

The Miners have won two C-USA titles in the past five years (2007-08  & 2011-12).

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. That was the first postseason tournament in program history.

Nationally ranked in polls final six weeks of ‘07-08

One of 8 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

Rice Sneaks Past UTEP To Spoil Senior Day

Gloria Brown (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Kayla Thornton (11 points, 10 boards) each posted double-doubles but visiting Rice spoiled “Senior Day” with a 52-48 victory on Feb. 26. The Miners led by six at the break before the Owls rallied behind the play of Jessica Kuster, who finished with a game-high 22 points. She had 18 over the final 20 minutes

 

C-USA Champs! Miners Down SMU, 68-50

UTEP bolted out to an early double-figure lead and never looked back in a wire-to-wire and 2012 Conference USA championship clinching 68-50 victory against SMU in front of the fifth-biggest crowd in program history (6,532) on Feb. 23. UTEP led the Mustangs by double figures for the final 32 minutes of the game, with the school-record fourth straight crowd of 4,000-plus feet coming to its feet to salute the home side during the last 60 seconds.

 

 

Stars Of The Game

Anete Steinberga recorded double figures (12 points) for the third straight contest and fourth time in the past five, while also grabbing five rebounds. Senior Erika Warren continued her strong play of late with a game-high 13 points while Melisa Mendes, Chrishauna Parker and Kayla Thornton all finished with seven points.

 

UTEP Claims Share Of C-USA Crown

Four different Miners reached double figures in scoring to help UTEP down Houston, 71-51, and secure at least a share of the 2012 Conference USA crown in the process in front of a very partisan Miner crowd at Hofheinz Pavilion on Feb. 19.  UTEP led 20-19 with 7:46 to play in the first half before outscoring the Cougars  51-32 the rest of the way to extend their winning streak to 14. Included in that was a dominant 40-16 surge spanning roughly 15 minutes to effectively put the game out of reach.

 

Post Power

All four Miners’ post players reached double figures in scoring at Houston (2/19/12). Anete Steinberga recorded her first double-double of the year (10 points, 10 boards), with Gloria Brown (14 points, six boards), Kayla Thornton (10 points, nine rebounds) and Kristine Vitola (10 points, four boards) also getting involved.

 

Brown Secures C-USA Honor

After helping UTEP lock up a share of the 2012 Conference USA crown, senior forward Gloria Brown was named the C-USA player of the week on Feb. 20. She averaged 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals and three blocks in guiding the Miners to a pair of road wins by a combined 30 points. 

 

Lucky 13! UTEP Topples Tulsa, 64-54

Gloria Brown registered her ninth double-double of the season (14 points, 12 rebounds) to lead a trio of players in double figures, and UTEP executed on both ends down the stretch in an eventual 64-54 win at Tulsa on Feb. 16. The Miners, who led wire-to-wire, closed the contest on a 9-2 run to stay perfect in Conference USA play while sealing their 13th consecutive victory overall.

 

Brown Not Lone Standouts In The Contest

Kelli Willingham tallied 12 points, all on first-half treys, while Anete Steinberga added 10. Sophomore Kayla Thornton tallied nine points, with five of them during the 9-2 close to the contest. Thornton also buoyed Brown in the rebounding department with 11 boards, helping the Miners control the glass to the tune of 41-34.

 

UTEP Steamrolls Tulane, 80-65

Senior Erika Warren poured in a career-high 20 points to help UTEP drill Tulane, 80-65, in front of a campaign-best 4,536 fans at home on Feb. 12.

 

Offense & Rebounding A New Combination

Defense and rebounding has been the mantra for the Miners this year, but they were also clicking on offense against Tulane (2/12/12). UTEP hit  a season-high 55.8 percent from the floor and held a commanding 45-28 advantage in rebounding.

 

Runs ‘R Us

The Miners, who never trailed in a contest, against Tulane (2/12/12) used a breathtaking 18-4 surge spanning five minutes and 40 seconds to break the game wide open at 62-43 with 12:04 remaining in regulation. The Green Wave could get no closer than nine from that point.

 

UTEP Thunders Past Marshall, 64-56

Sophomore Kayla Thornton posted her second double-double of the season (19 points, 10 rebounds) to help UTEP topple a feisty Marshall squad, 64-56, in front of a then season-best 4,167 fans on Feb. 9.

 

Second-Half Surge

The Miners rode a 27-12 run midway through the second stanza to rip control of the contest. The Thundering Herd, who had managed a 40-35 advantage with 14:49 to play prior to the run, never recovered.

 

Offense Comes Alive

UTEP drilled 45.8 percent (22-of-48), its second-best effort since the onset of league play, which was aided by making 13-of-25 (52.0 percent) over the final 20 minutes in the win vs. Marshall (2/9/12).

 

Brown & Defense Fuel 45-41 Win At Rice

Tenacious defense and a big second half from senior Gloria Brown proved to be the right combination to keep UTEP undefeated in Conference USA play following a hard-fought 45-41 victory at Rice (2/5/12). Brown scored 14 of her game-high 16 points in the second stanza, including six straight to break a 37-37 tie with 4:49 to play. The Owls, who managed just two field goals in the final five minutes, never got closer than four after  the 6-0 surge. UTEP held Rice to just 25.9 percent from the floor, and won the battle of the boards, 46-41. Aiding that was a 25-15 rebounding advantage over the final 20 minutes, during which UTEP out-scored Rice, 25-20.

 

Have Enjoyed National Spotlight

The Miners are 9-5 in national TV games during the Keitha Adams era, including 2-0 this year  (66-60 win vs. Memphis & at Rice, 45-40).

 

UTEP Overwhelms UCF, 67-38

Senior Briana Green scored a season-high 13 points, and UTEP defended with vigor in a 67-38 rout of UCF in front of a then campaign-best 4,029 fans at home on Jan. 29. The Miners led by double figures for the final 30 minutes of the contest, including being up by 20+ over the last 14 minutes. Freshman Jenzel Nash came off the pine to join Green in double figures (12).

 

Draining It From Distance

UTEP nailed 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from three-point range, its second-best readout on the season vs. UCF (1/29/12). Jenzel Nash, who was 2-of-15 from distance entering the tilt, was 2-of-3 while Briana Green sank all three tries.

 

Brown Powers UTEP To 70-63 Win At Southern Miss

Gloria Brown posted a monstrous double-double and head coach Keitha Adams secured her 300th collegiate win after UTEP downed Southern Miss, 70-63, on the road on Jan. 26. UTEP started the second half on a 12-2 run, which not only erased a 30-28 halftime deficit but also propelled it into the lead for good.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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 then 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 averaged 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 road win 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. 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.

 

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, at home 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 left but held ASU scoreless from that point to give themselves a chance.

 

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. UTEP led 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 vs. Northern Colorado (12/13/11). Gloria Brown led with 16 while Anete Steinberga had then season-high 11 points .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 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 & fourth all time (4-20).

 

Miners Crush Lamar, 81-52

UTEP played its most complete game of the year to remain undefeated with a resounding 81-52 victory against Lamar on Dec. 1. Eight different players scored at least seven points for the Miners. UTEP bolted out to a 39-21 halftime lead & extended it to as many as 36 (79-43).

 

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 had a then 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 then 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.

 

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 then career-high 18 points to propel UTEP past Houston Baptist, 82-53, at home on Nov. 19. The Huskies led 2-0 but the Miners used an 11-0 run to stake an advantage they would never relinquish. It was up, 43-17, at the break.

 

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.