MINERS
UTEP To Challenge #11/12 Penn State In First-Round Of NCAA Tournament




March 16, 2012

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THE OPENING ACT

UTEP To Challenge #11/12 Penn State In First-Round Of NCAA Tournament

Conference USA regular-season & tournament champion UTEP will continue its record-setting season against nationally-ranked Penn State (No. 11/12) in the first round of the NCAA Championships at 3:15 p.m. MT in Baton Rouge, La. Sunday. The Miners (29-3) received a No. 13 seed in the Kingston Region while the regular-season Big Ten champion Lady Lions (24-6) were tabbed with the fourth seed. The victor will advance to take on either host & fifth-seeded LSU (22-10) or 12th-seed San Diego State (25-6).

 

Chance To Shine On National TV Again

The contest against #11/12 Penn State marks the program-record-tying fifth time this year that UTEP will play in a nationally-televised tilt (ESPN2). The Miners are 4-0 in the situation this year and are 11-5 all time under Keitha Adams in that area.

 

Quick Rundown On #11/12 Penn State

No. 11/12 Penn State, which earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, has forged an overall mark of 24-6 on the year. Aiding that mark was four separate winning streaks of at least four games, including a season-best eight in a row down the stretch. Head coach Coquese Washington was tabbed as the league’s Coach of the Year with the Lady Lions rolling through the Big Ten at a 13-3 clip to claim its sixth regular-season title in program history. Four different plays contribute double figures in scoring, including All-Big Ten first-team honorees Maggie Lucas (19.1) and Alex Bentley (14.2). PSU is also an elite team from a stat point nationally. It checks in 10th nationally in scoring offense (75.5), 12th in three-point percentage (36.5), 14th at guarding treys (26.0), 16th in scoring margin (14.6), 24th in FG% defense (35.1) & 27th in overall FG% (43.4).

 

We Meet Again

UTEP & Penn State will be squaring off for the second time ever. PSU claimed the only meeting between the programs, 97-67, in a neutral-site match-up in Laromie, Wyo., on Nov. 19, 1983.

 

Slightly Different Histories At The Big Dance

UTEP is 1-1 all time in the NCAA Tournament, with its lone participation coming in 2008. Penn State  is 27-22 all time at the event, and will be making its second straight & 23rd overall appearance in the Big Dance. It is one of only 12 teams in the country to earn at least 23 bids.

 

We Are The Champions

UTEP won both the Conference USA regular-season & tournament title championships. The Miners were 15-1 in C-USA play, with the .938 winning percentage checking in as the third best in league history (UTEP, 16-0, 2007-08 & Houston, 16-0, 2010-11).

 

Taking On Power Conference Teams

UTEP is 8-56 all time against teams from power conferences (at the time of the meeting). The Miners’ last victory against a school in a power league was a 63-53 triumph against Nebraska on Dec. 20, 2008.

 

Neutral No More

The Miners did not have a neutral-site contest during the regular season but had three such tilts in winning the C-USA conference tournament. Overall UTEP is 18-11 when playing in a neutral-site game under head coach Keitha Adams.

 

Regular-Season UTEP Vs. Postseason UTEP

While it is a small sample size, it is interesting to take a look at the numbers for the Miners & foes from the regular season compared to the three C-USA Tournament contests.

 

2011-12 Regular Season (Average Stats 29 Games)

Team     Pts     FG%     3fg%     FT%     RB      TO     

UTEP     66.1     40.3       29.4       68.2      44.4     15.9

Opp.       52.1     33.2       23.7       69.3      35.2     17.5                                               

2012 C-USA Tourney (Average Stats 3 Games)

Team     Pts     FG%     3fg%     FT%     RB      TO     

UTEP     73.7     46.9       33.3       76.4      41.3     19.0

Opp.       64.3     34.6       25.4       65.8      30.0     9.7

TOURNAMENT TIME

How UTEP Got Here

The Miners defended their regular-season title with vigor and won three times in as many days at the Conference USA Championships to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.  UTEP opened up the event by matching its postseason record for scoring in a 92-79 triumph in the quarterfinals against Southern Miss (3/8/12) before besting UAB, 60-49, in the semifinals on March 9. The Miners then scored their first conference tournament title game win by toppling Tulane, 69-65, (3/9/12). UTEP is now 1-1 all time in league tourney title tilts, as it fell in the 2008 edition.

 

Going Dancing For A Second Time

UTEP will be making its second appearance in the NCAA Championships, The Miners earned an at-large bid and a No. 7 seed in the Big Dance during the 2007-08 season. UTEP blasted Western Kentucky, 92-60, in the first round on March 22, 2008, before bowing out to 1st/2nd-round host and eventual national champion Stanford, 88-54, on March, 24, 2008. No current Miners have played in the Big Dance.

 

UTEP In The Postseason

UTEP is 13-20 all time in postseason tournament play (including conference tournaments), but it is 10-11 in that area under Keitha Adams. (3-9 prior). The Miners are 1-1 in the NCAA Championships (2008) while they have never competed in the postseason WNIT.

 

Games Galore

The Miners will be playing school-record 33rd game of the season when they open up action in the Big Dance, eclipsing the sum (32) in 2007-08).

 

Icing On The Cake

Almost lost in the shuffle following UTEP’s C-USA Tournament clinching 69-65 triumph against Tulane (3/10/12) was the fact that the Miners broke a record which when it was set seemed to be safe for quite some time. UTEP is now 29-3 on the year which sets both the school (men’s & women) & C-USA standard for single-season triumphs. The prior league record was 28-4, held by both Houston (2003-04) & the Miners (2007-08) while the school record (men’s & women) was the 1966 NCAA Championship team.

 

AWARDS AVENUE

Brown’s Bevy Of Awards

Senior Gloria Brown repeated as the Conference USA Sixth Player of the Year while earning first-team all-league honors (2nd team in 2011) and a spot on the five-member all-defensive squad, but her latest accolade is perhaps the most special. She was named the C-USA Championship MVP after leading UTEP to the crown & automatic bid into the Big Dance. Brown averaged 15.3 points, nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 23.3 minutes in the three wins. She made 75.0 (15-of-20) percent of her shots from the floor and drilled 88.9% (16-of-18) at the free-throw line.

 

Pretty Exclusive Company For Brown

Gloria Brown pulled off the rare feat of being both a first-team All-Conference USA performer & all-defensive team accolades in the same season. She joins former all-time UTEP great Jareica Hughes as the lone individuals in program history to achieve the feat.

 

Multiple All-Conference Performers

For the first time since 2007-08 (Jareica Hughes, Natasha Lacy & Izabela Piekarska), UTEP placed multiple players on the All-Conference USA team (Gloria Brown, 1st & Kayla Thornton, 2nd). Additionally the Miners have now been represented on the all-conference squad for six straight years. 

 

Thornton Getting Notice Too

Sophomore Kayla Thornton was tabbed to the All-Conference USA second team after a stellar regular season. The El Paso native then averaged nine points & eight boards in 28.3 minutes in the three triumphs at the 2012 C-USA Championships to secure a spot on the all-tournament team.

 

Adams Wins Second C-USA Coach Of The Year Award

Head coach Keitha Adams was named the 2012 Conference USA Coach of the Year after leading UTEP to the regular-season championship, its second 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. She then backed that award up by making all the moves at the right time in guiding the Orange and Blue to their initial conference tournament championship. Adams also won the honor in 2007-08 after leading UTEP to its initial regular-season crown & into the second round of the NCAA tournament.

 

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 March 8. 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.

 

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 447-585, including the school (both men’s & women’s) & C-USA record of 29-3 this year. It has won three conference titles, including claiming both the C-USA regular season & tournament championship this season. The Miners’ first league title was in 2007-08 when they 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. 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 senior 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 184-146 in her 11th year at the school, including 29-3 this year. Overall Adams is 311-183 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 regular-season league titles (2007-08, 2011-12) & the program’s lone tournament crown (2012). Every player who has exhausted her eligibility at UTEP during her tenure has graduated.

 

Talk About A 10-Year Stretch

Including the mark of 29-3 in 2011-12, the Miners are now 181-123 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.

 

 Seven Points From Perfection

#1 Baylor (34-0) is the only undefeated team in the division I women’s basketball. In terms of total combined points lost by, UTEP (29-3) 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 (30-1), is in single digits in this area. Its lone setback on the season was by nine points.

 

One Of Top Statistical Teams In C-USA

The Miners are first (eight) or second (three) in 11 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 third nationally in guarding the three (23.9), fifth in field-goal percentage defense (33.3), eighth in blocked shots per game (6.0), ninth in rebound margin (+9.5), 18th in scoring margin (+14.0) & 22nd in scoring defense (53.2).

 

Talking 20-Win Seasons

There have been three teams in program history to reach the 20-win plateau, all of which have come in the past six seasons. The school standard (both men & women’s team) is the 29-3 record this year, followed by the 2007-08 squad (28-4). 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 record-setting team at 29-3. 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 compiled a mark of 9-1 on the year against teams with a winning percentage of at least 60 percent, including 5-0 vs. squads at better than 65%.

 

RPI Report

UTEP is No. 44 in the latest RPI report (March 12). Additionally, it is 7-1 on the year vs. top-100 RPI opponents.

 

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

Conference USA regular-season & tournament champion UTEP is a school (both men’s & women’s) & league-best record 29-3 on the year, with its three losses by a combined seven points. The Miners bolted out to a program-best 10-0, dropped the next two by a combined three points before peeling off 15 straight. UTEP fell by four points in its home finale. It is a perfect 4-0 since, including winning three times in as many times to secure the C-USA Tournament championship.

 

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

Connected on better than 42% in all three games at the C-USA Tournament, including a pair of better than 50% ... held below 33% in final two tilts of regular season ... didn’t crack 50 in those games but had a program single-game postseason-high-tying 92 points vs. Southern Miss (3/8/12) ... hit 76.4% (68-of-89) from the free-throw line at the league tournament ... was at 21-of-39 (53.8) prior two ... committed just 13 turnovers vs. Tulane (3/10/12) ... had 44 combined in two previous ... had two games with at least five triples at conference tourney (9 vs. USM, 3/8/12; 5 vs. Tulane, 3/10/12), matching effort of such contests over prior eight ... same story with assists (two with 17+), equaling efforts from prior nine ... 10+ offensive rebounds in eight straight & 28 times total.

 

Getting Defensive

Didn’t allow more than 65 points in regulation during the regular season but gave up 79 in win vs. Southern Miss in C-USA quarterfinals (3/8/12) .... limited a single-seaosn school-record 12 foes to  50 points or fewer to shatter prior standard (eight, 1976-77 & 1992-93) ... 30 of 32 opponents have shot worse than 40 percent ... 15 haven’t eclipsed 34% ... after forcing 19+ turnovers back-to-back games, opponents haven’t made more than 15 in the five ensuing contests ... blocked 6+ shots in 20 contests, including five games with nine ... after allowing USM to hit 10 treys, UTEP kept UAB (3/9/12) & Tulane (3/10/12) to combined 5-of-31 (.161).

               

Not Just Winning But Winning Big

The Miners have registered a school standard 21 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).

 

It’s Not Over Til Fat Lady Sings

UTEP is 8-1 on the year when trailing at the half. Additionally, the Miners have won six games this when they faced at least a nine-point deficit. Two of those came at the C-USA championships, with UTEP rallying from nine down vs. UAB (3/9/12) & a 12-point deficit against Tulane (3/10/12).

 

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 (26.6),  is above 25.0 mpg, but Kayla Thornton (24.8), Gloria Brown (20.0), Kim Smith (19.7),  & Kristine Vitola (19.1) all earn at least 19.0 mpg.

 

30-Minutes Not The Norm

Only 23 times this year has a Miner had 31 minutes or more of playing time, with & Kayla Thornton (nine) & Kelli Willingham (nine) accounting for 18 of them. Gloria Brown, Jenzel Nash, Kim Smith, Kristine Vitola & Erika Warren 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 23 of the 32 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 31 of the 32 games, with a double-digit edge 28 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 27 of 30 contests since. With a +9.5 margin, the Miners are all but assured of breaking the school standard (+7.0) which was set in 1992-93.

 

Controlling The Paint

UTEP is generating 31.0 points per game in the paint, which has been helped with 21 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 three teams (at Southern Miss, 38, 1/26/12) Tulane, 30, 3/10/12 &Northern Colorado (30, 12/13/11) & topping 29. 

 

FRONT COURT VETS TRENDING

What Can Brown Do For You

Gloria Brown averaged 15.3 points while making 75% (15-of-20) from the floor while claiming C-USA Championship MVP honors ... held to 33.3% (4-of-12) from floor at UAB (3/1/12) ... back-to-back games with double figures in boards and team-best 15 such contests ... has drilled 20-of-22 free throws in past four games ... was 9-of-15 skid prior five ...  2+ offensive boards 1st 18 games of year & 26 times overall ... multiple blocked shots in 24 contests, with three or more 19 times & at least five on four occasions … registered 52 steals to pace UTEP ... reached double figures in scoring team-high 19 time ... compiled squad-best 11 nine double-doubles.

 

Kayla’s Corner

Sophomore Kayla Thornton earned C-USA all-tournament honors by averaging 9.0 points & 8.0 rebounds at the event ... had missed the first game of her career at UAB (3/1/12) due to an illness ... nailed 4-of-8 treys at the tourney, including 3-of-6 vs. Tulane (3/10/12) ... was 4-of-13 during the regular season in that area ... 2+ offensive boards 24 times total ... started year 1-of-6 on triples but 7-of-12 ... second on team double figure scoring games (15) & double-doubles (4) ... 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 42.5, scoring average gone from 4.7 to 5.9 & rebounding average moved from 3.3 to 5.5 ... 3-of-14 from floor with 8 total points final two games of regular season but had 17 points while making 40 percent (6-of-15) at C-USA tourney ... started season 2-of-23 on treys, enjoyed 2-of-4 stretch but is 1-9 since ...  has 23 rebounds past four games (5.8 rpg) to nearly match sum (24) prior seven ... 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 (3/1/12) but was reserve in each of league tourney tilts ... registered multiple blocked shots 17 times on year.

 

Anete’s Area

Junior Anete Steinberga has been used as both reserve (15) and starter (17) this year ... tallied five total points on 2-of-5 shooting in final two games of C-USA tournament ... averaged 8.0 points on 44.9% shooting (31-of-69) prior nine ...

had 5+ rebounds just twice in first 17 games ... done so nine times since, including her lone double-double of year (10 pts, 10 rb) at Houston (2/19/12) ...  started last 13 contests.

 

BACK COURT VETS TRENDING

Willingham’s Will To Succeed

Kelli Willingham averaged 11 points while making 45.5% (10-of-22) at C-USA tournament ... had 11 points total on 4-of-19 shooting prior four games ... after 0-of-5 skid on triples, has hit 5-of-13 in past four ... made two or fewer turnovers 23 times ...  nine assists total at league tournament ... had five in prior three ... missed both free throw attempts in final minute against Tulane (3/10/12) ... was at 9-of-10 in first two tourney tilts, including 7-of-8 late to help close out UAB (3/9/12) ... grabbed seven boards against Blazers in regular-season finale (3/1/12) ... had 7 total in league tournament ... started 30 straight & 31 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 +1.9 ratio (91-49) ... 33 rebounds past 15 contests, surpassing sum (20) to start season ... after stretch of making 7-of-11 three-point attempts midway through league play, has gone 0-9 in past seven tilts ... drilled 8-of-10 free throws at conference tournament ... was at 55.8% (19-of-34) during regular season ... started 14 straight and 30 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) ... 7-of-21 for 19 points in 11 games since ... 9-of-19 in four games when making 2+ three pointers ... 6-of-29 when failing to do so ... 2-of-5 at free throw line to start season but is 6-of-8 since.

 

Warren’s Way

Second-year Miner & senior Erika Warren has been both reserve (17) & starter (14) this year ...  accounting for 9.2 ppg on 54.5% shooting (30-of-55) past nine contests ... had 40 total points and made just 34.1% (15-of-44) on prior 13 games ... was 4-of-16 on treys to start the season but is 10-of-20 since ... seven assists at C-USA tourney, matching effort from prior six ... after a 10 contest stretch of 5-of-11 at free-throw line, has drilled six straight and 13-of-14 ... started 10 straight & 12 of past 14.

 

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 2-of-7 from floor for five points in  36 minutes combined over the 12 contests since ... she did, though, make her only shot of game against Tulane in C-USA final (3/10/12 ) ... 11 of 15 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.

 

NEWBIES TRENDING

Mendes Means Business

Senior Melisa Mendes was an all-conference performer at NW Florida State College ... scoreless while missing all three shots against Tulane (3/10/12) ... had tallied 5+ points in prior three games, the best stretch of her career ... after making six straight free throws in middle of league play, has dipped to 4-of-10 since ... overall better than 40% from floor in three of past seven contests ... did so twice in prior 17 ... 10-of-20 from three when making multiple triples in a quartet of games ... 10-of-65 in other tilts ...  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 12 points while nailing 8-of-9 free throws in the C-USA semis & finals combined ... had nine total points and was at 2-of-5 from the charity stripe previous four ... overall is 42-of-62 at the line, with more than half of makes (27) & attempts (33) coming in combined four contests (Memphis, 1/8/12, at Tulane, 1/15/12, at Houston, 2/19/12 & vs. UAB, 3/9/12) ... combined 3-of-4 on treys against UCF (1/29/12)  & at UAB (3/1/12) ... 2-of-21 in other 28 contests.

 

Parker Power

Freshman Chrishauna Parker was top-50 guard nationally out of Atascocita HS ... played in past 10 games after missing prior four ... garnered 20+ minutes of action four of past five .... did so seven times total first 22 tilts ... overall at 53.2% (41-of-77) from free-throw line, but has gone 9-of-12 in past four contests ... 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) ... last saw action against SMU (2/23/12).

 

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 have achieved the feat once in 2011-12.

 

199 Straight Games With A Triple

UTEP has made least one three-point shot in a program-record 199 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 29 times and the Mr. Hyde unit appearing on three occasions.

 

In 29 Wins (Average Stats)

Team     Pts     FG%     3fg%     FT%     RB      TO     

UTEP     69.3     41.5       30.3       70.6      44.6     16.3

Opp.       53.6     33.0       23.8       69.4      34.4     17.0                                               

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 111-12 during the Keitha Adams era, including 12-0 this year, in games which they eclipsed 70 points.

Seems Logical

UTEP holds a record of 97-15 in the past 112 contests in which it has hit on at least 40.5 percent from the field. The Miners are 19-0 in the situation this year.

 

It’s All About The Triple

UTEP sports a mark of 51-9 in its past 60 games when making 40 percent or better from three-point range (min. 5 3PM), including 5-0 this year.

 

Better Get Ready To Rebound

UTEP has a record of 115-42 under Keitha Adams, including 49-11 in the past 60 games, when out-rebounding the opposition. It is 25-2 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 losses.

 

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 53-10 over the past 63 contests when knocking down better than 70 percent at the free-throw line (minimum 10 FTM), including 13-0 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 34-9 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 (29-3), it is only natural that there a lot of school standards that were almost set, broken or could be even be shattered.

 

Category                      Current Record 2011-12

Overall Wins               28 (07-08)                   29

Home Wins                  16 (06-07)                   15

Road Wins                   10 (07-08)                   11

Blocked Shots           171 (81-82)              192

FG% Defense             36.5 (05-06)            33.3

3PT% Defense           23.5 (87-88)            24.5

Rebound Margin        +7.0 (92-93)            +9.5

Rebound Average      44.5 (96-97)            44.2

Scoring Defense       57.2 (93-92)            53.2

Scoring Margin          +9.6 (07-08)          +14.0

 

bold denotes would break record if season ended today.

 

Brown Boarding & Blocking Way Into Books

Senior Gloria Brown has pulled down a single-season school record 282 rebounds (prior standard, Tonie Greene, 264, 1983-84) while blocking the second-most shots (94) in program annals. The record is 117 held by Kim Watts (1981-82).

 

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 184-146 in her time in the Sun City. She has led her charges to a record of 181-121 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 third for individual wins (79) & 11th for assists (206). She is one of 22 Miners with at least 80+ steals (80) one of 27 with 600+ points (650). She has logged 2,178 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  (54.3) while placing second in FT percentage (80.3). Brown has piled up 743 points to become the fourth Miner to have at least 600 after transferring in as a junior & 24th overall. Along those same lines, she is the fourth to do so with 400+ boards (499). Additionally she is third for total blocks (159) & double-doubles (19), & tied for third in rebounds per game (8.0) while compiling 85 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 (510). Additionally, she has 397 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 is first all time for career FT percentage, is seventh for three pointers made (90) & ninth for assists (213). She is on track to be a 1,000-point scorer by career’s end, currently standing at 521. She has started 57 of 62 games played.

 

Vitola’s Steadily Compiling Numbers

Junior Kristine Vitola  has swatted 95 shots in her career, which ranks fifth all time at the school. She has also tallied 475 career points while grabbing 376 boards in 93 games played, 39 of which have been starts.

 

Looking Back On 10-0 Start

UTEP opened up at 10-0 (now 29-3) 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 (143) in that timeframe, trailing only Tulane (146).

 

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.

 

THIS IS UTEP WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

·         At 29-3 this year the Miners have set both the school (men’s or women) & C-USA single-season record for triumphs

·         UTEP has won three conference titles (two regular season & one tournament) in the past six years

·         UTEP has received votes in the coaches’ top-25 poll for eight 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

·         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 (since broken by this year’s team).

·         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

UTEP Wins C-USA Championship Over Tulane

Gloria Brown scored 18 of her game-high 20 points in the second half as regular-season champion UTEP rallied past No. 3 seed Tulane, 69-65, in the 2012 Conference USA Championship title game at the FedExForum in Memphis March 10. UTEP trailed by as many as 12 points with 15:13 to play, but used a 17-4 run over the next 7:27 to go ahead 51-50. Tulane scored the next seven points to go back on top 58-51 with 5:47 to go, but the Miners outscored the Green Wave 18-7 the rest of the way to come away with the win.

 

Miners Punch Ticket To Title Game By Besting UAB

Sophomore Kelli Willingham tallied 15 points and senior Gloria Brown pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds as regular-season champion and top-seeded UTEP derailed fourth-seed UAB, 60-49, in the 2012 Conference USA Women’s Basketball Championship semifinals at the FedExForum March 9. UTEP trailed the 32-31 with 14:03 to play before going on a 15-7 run to rip control of the contest. Freshman Jenzel Nash came off the bench to spark the surge, tallying all eight of her points in the game during the sequence. The Blazers (19-11) would get no closer than five from that point on, with UTEP knocking down all eight free throw attempts in the final two minutes to put the game on ice. Willingham did most of that work, sinking six of them.

 

UTEP Stops Southern Miss, 92-79

Five different Miners posted double-figure scoring totals as top-seeded UTEP toppled Southern Miss, 92-79, in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Conference USA Championships March 8. UTEP was clicking on all cylinders offensively, with its 92 points equaling the school’s single-game postseason high. The Miners also did so vs. Western Kentucky in the 92-60 NCAA Tournament first-round triumph on March 22, 2008. The Orange and Blue drilled 52.8 percent of their shots (28-of-53), which checks in as the second-highest readout in postseason play at the school. The Miners were locked in from distance, nailing 9-of-20 (.450) from beyond-the-arc, which matches the most makes from distance in their postseason game. Gloria Brown came off the bench to tally 19 points while also pulling down six rebounds and blocking three shots. Senior Erika Warren erupted for 17 points- her second-highest output on the year- followed by Kelli Willingham with 13, Kayla Thornton with 11 and Anete Steinberga with 10.

 

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.

 

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.