MINERS
UTEP Women's Basketball Notes / Game 31 / WKU / NCAA First Round

Izabela Piekarska

Izabela Piekarska

March 21, 2008

UTEP Miners prepare for Western Kentucky  

UTEP WBB At NCAA Tournament 

UTEP Miners Travel to California for NCAA Tournament  

NCAA Tournament Central
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UTEP Opens NCAA Tourney Against WKU

The No. 23/24 UTEP women's basketball team will take on Western Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday. It marks the first appearance in the Big Dance for the Miners, who are seeded seventh in region, while the 10th-seeded Lady Toppers are making their 16th showing.

 

Fifth Time On National TV This Year

The contest against WKU marks the program-record fifth time this year that UTEP will appear in a nationally-televised event. The Miners are 3-1 in that situation this year, including 2-0 on ESPN.

 

First Trip To The Big Dance

By virtue of earning the at-large bid to the 2008 NCAA tournament, the UTEP women's basketball team will be making its first appearance at the event in program history.

 

First Postseason Tournament, Too

Not only will this be UTEP's first time competing at the NCAA tournament, but it marks the initial appearance in a postseason tournament- other than a conference tournament- in school history. The Miners have never competed in the WNIT.

 

Uncharted Territory

The Miners, a program-best 27-3 entering the 2008 Big Dance, will be playing their 31st game of the season on Saturday when they battle Western Kentucky. UTEP. Prior to this season, UTEP had never played more than 30 tilts in a single campaign.

 

Scouting Western Kentucky

Western Kentucky, the champions of the Sun Belt Conference, enters the NCAA tournament at 26-7 and winners of seven straight and 20 of its last 22. The Lady Toppers are led by senior forward Crystal Kelly, who averages 22.7 points per game to rank sixth in the nation. She is also averaging 10.6 rebounds, eighth in the country, and tops the NCAA with a .649 field goal percentage. The 6-3 Kelly is one of four Lady Topper players with double figure scoring averages.

 

First Meeting Between Programs

The contest between Western Kentucky and UTEP marks the first meeting between the two programs. Additionally, there were no common opponents this year for UTEP or WKU.

 

Talk About A Contrast

UTEP's first-round opponent, Western Kentucky, will be making its 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. UTEP, conversely, has never even played in a postseason tournament, and prior to this year had never advanced beyond the semifinals in a league tournament.

 

Lacy's Been There, Though

When UTEP takes to the courts on Saturday in its tilt against Western Kentucky, the Miners will at least have one player who has ample Big Dance experience. Senior Natasha Lacy, a TCU transfer, competed in three NCAA tournaments during her time with the Horned Frogs. She registered 9.3 ppg, to go along with 5 rpg, 3 apg and 1.5 spg in those contests.

 

UTEP On Neutral Courts

UTEP is 3-1 on the year when playing on a neutral court (1-1 at the Kansas State tournament and 2-1 at the Conference USA tournament.) It should come as no surprise, though, as the Miners have fared well in the Keitha Adams era at neutral sites. They are 10-7 all time under Adams in the situation.

 

Hughes Enjoyed C-USA Tourney Stage

While Jareica Hughes will be making her first appearance at the NCAA tournament, if her performance at the Conference USA tournament is any indication, the sophomore should be just fine. Hughes average 24 points, to go along with 6.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 3.3 steals.

 

Others Did As Well

Izabela Piekarska and Natasha Lacy also turned in solid showings at the C-USA tournament. Piekarska and Lacy each averaged 16.3 points and 6.3 rebounds. Lacy chipped in 4.1 steals and 4 assists per game.

 

All-Tourney Honors For Hughes, Lacy

Jareica Hughes and Natasha Lacy each earned a spot on the Conference USA all-tournament team. It marked the first time in program history that UTEP had a player merit a spot on the all-league tournament squad.

 

C-USA Champion Miners

By virtue of the win at UCF on Feb. 24, No. 19/23 UTEP locked up the 2008 Conference USA regular-season championship. It marked the first conference title in the 34-year history of the program. Overall, it is just the second league crown by a women's team in UTEP history, as the 1984 volleyball team brought home the Oil Country Athletic Conference title.

 

UTEP Grabs Half Of Major C-USA Awards

The No. 18 UTEP women's basketball team snared three of the six major Conference USA award this year. Sophomore Jareica Hughes was selected as the C-USA Player of the Year, Natasha Lacy snared the C-USA Newcomer of the Year and head coach Keitha Adams was tabbed the C-USA Coach of the Year. Hughes becomes the first Miner in program history to be so honored, and just the second sophomore in league history to bring home the award. Lacy is the second player in program annals to win the award-Hughes did so a year ago- while Adams is the second coach in school history to be recognized.

 

Wait, There's More

The No. 18 UTEP women's basketball team placed three players on the All Conference USA teams announced Tuesday by the league office, with Jareica Hughes grabbing first-team honors and Natasha Lacy and Izabela Piekarska snaring spots on the second team. Additionally, Lacy was tabbed to the five member all-defensive squad. It marks the first time in program history that the Miners have garnered three all-conference selections in the same season. UTEP merited a pair of all-league members during the 1992-93 and 1996-97 campaigns.

 

UTEP Completes C-USA Play Undefeated

By virtue of the win against Tulsa, the Miners became the fist team to go unbeaten in Conference USA action in the history of the league. UTEP compiled a record of 16-0, including an unprecedented 8-0 on the road.

 

Consecutive 20 Win Seasons

By virtue of trouncing Houston, 80-55, on Feb. 14, UTEP secured it second straight 20-win campaign. That figure stands at  27 heading into the NCAA tournament. Making the feat even more impressive is the fact that prior to last year, the program record for single-season victories was 18. That was achieved by the 1992-93 edition of the Miners. Moreover, the closest that mark came to being challenged before it was obliterated last year was a pair of 16-victory campaigns ( 96-97 and  03-04).

 

History For Home Games Too

UTEP knocked off Tulsa on March 1 to wrap up the initial unbeaten season at home in program history. The Miners finished 14-0 at the Don Haskins Center this year. The success at home should come as no surprise, though, with UTEP having claimed 25 of its past 26 contests at the Don.

 

Ranked In Both Polls

UTEP enters the NCAA tournament ranked among the top 25 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls. UTEP checks in at 22nd in the AP while placing 25th in the latter. The Miners, who were never ranked prior to this season, have appeared in at least one of the polls for a program-best six straight weeks.

 

Adams Achieves Milestone

With the win at UCF, head coach Keitha Adams became the second member  of the 100-career triumph club at UTEP. Sandra Rushing holds the school standard at 123, but she needed 11 years to do so. That figure stands at 104 heading into the NCAA Tournament.

 

 

 

 

Some Records Flying Under The Radar

When last  year's squad rolled to a 22-8 mark to set a school record for single-season wins, that number looked pretty safe for a while. Thanks to the amazing effort by the 2007-08 edition of the Miners, it has been broken. The Miners' victory total stands at 27 heading into the NCAA Tournament.

 

More Impressive If You Discount Non-DI Games

If you take away the pair of wins against non-division I schools by the 2006-07 squad, the accomplishments of this year's Miners are even more impressive.  Last season's team was 20-8 against D-I competition. Every game this campaign has been versus D-I squads, with UTEP posting a 27-3 mark.

 

More Record Talk

The loss to SMU in the Conference USA Championship game halted UTEP's 23-game winning streak. The effort, which more than doubled the previous school standard, also served as a league standard. Three squads in the history of the conference had previously rattled off 14 straight.

 

Putting That Feat Into Perspective

Prior to last year, the school record for single-season wins was 18 (which was achieved by the 1992-93 squad). Not only has this year's group already equaled the program record for overall triumphs, but it  rattled off 23 straight in the process. That effort alone surpassed the exploits of the 1992-93 team.

 

Just Getting Warmed Up

Not only was UTEP the first school to go undefeated in league play,  but it surpassed the previous win total for league games only in C-USA history. The prior standard was 14 triumphs.

 

Wait, There's More

The triumph against Tulsa on March 1 was obviously the 16th straight in league action. The league standard  for consecutive conference wins was at 13 entering the year.

 

UTEP Runs The Table On The Road

By defeating UCF on Feb. 24, UTEP became the first team in Conference USA history to go unbeaten on the road in league only games.

 

 

Unprecedented Success On the Road

UTEP finished the regular season at 10-2 on the road, to by far and way set the school standard for best road record. Additionally, the Miners are assured a winning mark in hostile territory for the initial time in program history.

 

To Truly Appreciate That, Consider

As of March 16, there were 91 teams in the country to have tallied 10 or fewer wins throughout the entire season. The Miners' win total breakdown is as follows: 14 at home, 10 on the road and three on a neutral court.

 

Quite A Turnaround From Last Year

While the 2006-07 squad experienced plenty of success, it did have its struggles in road games in league action. The Miners were 3-5 in C-USA road contests a year ago.

 

Doubled The Record In Fact..

Entering this season, the overall school standard for league victories was four. That was held by the 2003-04 squad (also coached 

by Keitha Adams).

 

Shattered Previous Effort For League Play

Thanks to the win against Tulsa, the Miners finished 16-0 in Conference USA action. To really appreciate that, consider that UTEP had never started better than 3-0 in league play.

 

Hard To Believe..

By defeating Tulsa, UTEP finished a perfect 16-0 in league play. To put that feat into perspective, consider that the Orange and Blue had never topped the 10 win barrier in conference games.

More Along Those Lines

By virtue of defeating Tulsa, UTEP concluded a perfect 16-0 in Conference USA play. That effort by far and away tops the previous standard of the 1997-98 Memphis squad which raced out to an 11-0 mark.

 

Off To Best Start Overall At UTEP

The 27-3 start is by far and away best record through 30 games. The previous standard was a record of 22-8, achieved by 2006-07 version of the Miners.

 

 

In Elite Company

As of March. 16, UTEP was one of just nine teams in the country to have two or fewer losses. To put the feat into perspective, consider that there are more than 335 teams competing at the D I level this year in women's basketball across the nation.

 

Miners Know How To Close Out Games

Part of UTEP's success this year in Conference USA  play was its ability to play to the final whistle. Consider that in the final five minutes of C-USA action this year, UTEP shot 57 percent from the floor-compared to a frigid figure of 24 by the opposition.  All five of UTEP's starters have connected on better than 60 percent in that situation from the floor.

 

Turning Up The D

UTEP has been clamping down defensively of late, as it has held 16 of its past 21 opponents below 40% shooting from the floor. On the year, the Miners have kept 19 opponents below 40%. It is no surprise that UTEP is 18-1 in those contests.

 

Been A Season-Long Trend

UTEP has been pretty impressive throughout the entire season defensively, holding the opposition to 37.5 percent from the floor. That figure would rank as the second best in program history if the campaign ended today.

 

More On That Defense

For the season, UTEP has limited the opposition to only 61.0 points per game. That figure would rank as the fifth-lowest average in program history. The Miners were especially impressive during league play, holding the opposition to only 58.6 ppg.

 

Pressure Defense Giving Opposition Fits

UTEP harassed Southern Miss into 23 turnovers, marking the 13th time this year they have forced the opposition into 20 or more giveaways. Overall, UTEP is 12-1 on the season when making its foe topple the 20-turnover barrier. On the season, the Miners have forced 585 giveaways, an average of 20 per contest.  Aiding that figure has been 321 steals. Those thefts rank tied as the third-highest  total program history.

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Turnover Tidbits Galore

UTEP has averaged 22 points per game off of turnovers, while allowing the opposition to only register 14 ppg from the Miners' giveaways. In fact, there have only been four contests on the season in which UTEP has failed to register more points off giveaways than its foe.

 

Hughes Sets Assists Record

Sophomore Jareica Hughes has dished out a program-best 161 assists this year. The effort topples the previous standard of 142, held by former Miner Shalana Taylor. Don't overlook Natasha Lacy, though, as the senior has also eclipsed Taylor, checking in with 148 dimes.

 

Lacy Does So With Steals

Natasha Lacy, a member of the Conference USA all-defensive team, is closing in on 100 steals for the year. She enters the NCAA tournament with a single-season school record 97 thefts. The effort eclipses the previous standard of 95, which was set by Terri Pedregon during the 1994-95 campaign.

 

Team Record Watch

It has certainly been an exciting year for the Miners, and as result, UTEP has set or is closing in on breaking some school standards

 

Wins: 27, School Record                   Previous record: 22 (2006-07)

FGM: 809, third                                     School record: 846 (1980-81)

FG%: 43.5, second                               School record: 45.0 (1980-81)

FG Defense: 37.5, second                                 School record: 36.5 (2005-06)

3P: 173, School Record                     Previous record: 170 (2001-02)

3PA: 524, third                                     School record: 556 (2001-02)

3P%: 33.0, fifth                                      School record: 37.7 (1987-88)

3P Defense: 29.2, fourth                    School record: 23.5 (1987-88)

FT%: 68.2, tied eighth                          School record: 74.6 (2002-03)

Assists: 494, second                         School record: 510 (2006-07)

TO Forced: 585, fifth                           School record: 673 (1989-90)

Blocks: 153, third                                School record: 171 (1981-82)

Steals: 321, third                                 School record: 510 (2006-07)

Total Points- 2,140 School Record Previous record: 2,063 (2006-07)

Scoring Offense: 71.3, second        Previous record: 71.5 (1980-81)

Scoring Defense: 61.0, fifth              School record: 57.2 (1992-93)

 

Individual Record Watch

In this entertaining season, UTEP has plenty of individuals whose campaign-long efforts will go down in program history.

 

Field-Goal Percentage                                                      

Timika Williams, 53.7, fourth            School record: 58.2, Kevia Ford (1994-95)

Three-Point Percentage                                                  

Izabela Piekarska, 39.0, seventh     School record: 47.1, Ana Valtierra (2006-07)

Free-Throw Percentage                                                  

Izabela Piekarska, 81.8, sixth           School record: 86.4, Kasia Krezel (2005-06)

Assists                                 

Jareica Hughes, 161, record            School record: Previous standard was 142 by Shalana Taylor in 2004-05 season.

Natasha Lacy, 148, second                                                        

Steals                   

Natasha Lacy, 97, second                 School record: Previous standard  was 95, Terri Pedregon (1994-95)

Jareica Hughes, 84, second

Blocks  

Izabela Piekarska, 72, third               School record: 117, Kim Watts (1981-82)

Hughes Joins 700-Point Club; Cracks Top 20 All Time At UTEP

Thanks to a 21-point performance against SMU on Feb. 28, Jareica Hughes became the 20th member of the 700-point club. She is rapidly approaching 800-career points, and will be the 15th member of the club when she does so. The sophomore's total stands at 787 heading into the NCAA tournament.

 

Williams Enters 400 Rebound Club

Only a sophomore, Timika Williams became just the 17th member of the 400-rebound club at UTEP after registering six boards in the win against Rice.

 

Just Joined 500 Point Club

Timika Williams scored 11 points in the win against UCF, becoming the 34th member of the 500-point club at UTEP. Her career total stands at 542 going into the NCAA tournament

 

That Makes Her The 17th To Do So When Combined

By virtue of already being a member of the 500-point club and the 400-rebound club, Timika Williams is now one of 17 individuals in school history to have achieved the feat. 

 

Williams Living On The O-Glass

Sophomore forward Timika Williams, who leads the Miners with 6.9 rebounds per game, has been especially impressive on offensive rebounding. Plenty of Williams' boards on the season (85 of 207) have been of the offensive variety.

 

Others Doing So Too

Timika Williams is not the only player to experience success in the offensive rebounding department. Entering the NCAA tournament, Izabela Piekarska has 61, while Natasha Lacy has 51. Claudia Porras has registered 36, while Tasha Marisett checks in with 35.

 

Hughes And Lacy Lead The Steals Charge

Jareica Hughes and Natasha Lacy have been leading the charge in the steals department throughout the year . The duo has accounted for 181 of the 321 thefts on the campaign.

 

First-Half Success In League Play Finally

UTEP raced out to a 20-point lead at the half in the win against Tulsa.  Making that feat even more impressive is the fact the Miners had entered the contest with a +3.1 edge on average on the opening period in league games. That figure concluded at +4.2 (519-452 during the 16 C-USA tilts).

 

Must Be Some Great Speeches At Halftime

Who knows what Keitha Adams said at halftime during Conference USA play has, but whatever it was, the seventh-year head coach should stick to it as the Orange and Blue enter the NCAA tournament. The Miners held a +9.3 (618-469) scoring margin in the second stanza of league games this year-compared to a +4.2 (519-452) edge on average in the opening period. The opposition shot a frigid 33 percent after the break in league games. UTEP has had no such problems, though, nailing 45 percent of its chances.

 

Williams Hit Everything In C-USA Play

Timika Williams was certainly locked in during C-USA play. The sophomore drained 56% of her chances.

 

It's Been A Season-Long Trend For `Mik'

Timika Williams was a great shooter throughout the regular season, connecting on 54.7 percent of her shots (111-of-203) to by far and away pace UTEP. Moreover, that effort led Conference USA.

 

Hughes Doing So Too On Triples

Jareica Hughes, who struggled in non-conference play at just 23 percent from three-point land, found her touch in league action from beyond the arc. The sophomore drained 38 percent of her triples, connecting on 23-of-60. 

 

That Just Isn't Fair

Opponents have enough problems stopping 6-5 center Izabela Piekarska when she is going to work on the block. But it just isn't fair to UTEP's foes when the senior shows off a shooting touch that plenty of two guards would love to possess. Entering the NCAA tournament,  Piekarska has connected on a team-leading and fifth in C-USA 39.0 percent from beyond the arc. Moreover, she ranks tied for third all time at UTEP with 81 triples.

 

Get That Weak Stuff Out Of Here

UTEP has done a great job of defending the paint this year, as the Miners have blocked 151 shots. At the other end of the court, the opposition has managed to block only 55 shots. Leading the block party has been Izabela Piekarska, who has swatted a team-high 71 shots. The imposing 6-5 center has paced Conference USA the past two years in rejections and ranks second in program history with 248 blocks.

 

UTEP Was At New Level In League Play

UTEP elevated its game during C-USA action. The Miners averaged 72 points per game, compared to 69 ppg in non-conference play. Defensively, UTEP limited opponents to 58 ppg, quite an improvement from the 62 ppg during non-league play. UTEP shot 44 percent from the floor (42 percent in non-conference action) while it limited the opposition to 36 percent (opposed to 39 percent in 11 non-conference contests).

 

UTEP Has Two Active 1,000-Point Scorers

After a 10-year drought, seniors Izabela Piekarska and Kasia Krezel became the fourth and fifth members of the 1,000-point club at UTEP this year. Piekarska has racked up 1,227 career points while Krezel checks in at 1,153.

 

Gaudy Career Numbers For Piekarska

By joining the 1,000 point club after the win at Rice, Izabela Piekarska is now the only player in program history to have compiled more than 1,000 points, 500 boards, 200 blocked shots and 100 assists.

 

 

 

In Fact, History Could Be Made

Izabela Piekarska enters the NCAA tournament with 1,227 career points. That effort is just 22 points shy of tying Be Stoney for the program's record for career points.

 

Not To Mention Hughes, Krezel

Seven players in program history have shown enough all-around ability to compile more than 500 points, 200 assists and 100 steals, and two of them are current Miners Kasia Krezel and (1,153 points, 228 assists and 157 steals)  Jareica Hughes (787 points, 298 assists and 162 steals) have both joined the club this year.

 

Hughes Reaches 200 Career Assists

With a pair of helpers in the Miners' win against UAB, sophomore point guard Jareica Hughes became the seventh player to record 200 or more assists in school history. Moreover, she needed only 42 games to do so, making her the fastest to reach 200 assists in the 34-year history of the program.

 

Just Two Helpers Shy Of 300 Now

Jareica Hughes enters the NCAA tournament with 298 career assists, making her just two helpers short of becoming the third player in program annals with at least 300 assists.

 

On Record-Setting Pace

For her career, Hughes has averaged 5.3 assists per game. That figure ranks as the highest career average in school history.

 

Balanced Scoring Attack

Part of UTEP's success this year can be attributed to its balanced offensive attack. Entering the NCAA Tournament,  the Miners boast four players in double figures when it comes to scoring.  Sophomore Jareica Hughes leads the way at 14.7, with Natasha Lacy second at 13.0 ppg. Izabela Piekarska is third at 12.3 ppg while Kasia Krezel (10.8) rounds out the Miners in double figures. Additionally, sophomore forward Timika Williams is just shy of 10.0 ppg after elevating her average to 8.9 ppg.

 

It's Been A While

You have to go back to the 1996-97 campaign to find the last time the Miners had four players average double digits in scoring for a season. In fact, it has only happened on three occasions in the 34-year history of the program.

 

Trend Was True In C-USA Play Too

The balanced scoring attack continued to prove true in Conference USA play. Jareica Hughes (13.9), Izabela Piekarska (12.3),  Natasha Lacy (13.3) and Kasia Krezel (11.8) each finished league play in double figures. Moreover, Timika Williams was just shy at 8.9 ppg.

 

More Along Those Lines

Each starter has led the team in scoring at least three times, and all five of them have turned in a game in which they scored at least 20 points.

 

Five-Headed Scoring Monster

Going into the NCAA Tournament, the Miners' top five scorers (Hughes, Lacy, Krezel, Piekarska and Williams) have accounted for 1,775 of the 2,140 points scored on the year by UTEP. That is a mind-boggling 83 percent of the points on the campaign.

 

Even More So In League Play

That five-star attack was even more prevalent in Conference USA action too, where the starters contributed 963 of the 1155 points scored by UTEP. That worked out to 83 percent. 

 

Lacy Shows Off All-Around Game

Senior transfer Natasha Lacy was nothing shy of brilliant in C-USA play. Lacy, who prides herself on an all-around game, did just that. She averaged 13.3 points per game, to go along with a team-high 6.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.

 

Hughes Did Also

Jareica Hughes was also balanced in league play, accounting for a team-high 13.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 5.4 apg.

Hughes Second-Fastest To 100-Career Steals

Jareica Hughes, who by the end of her career will be the member of plenty of exclusive clubs at UTEP, joined the 100+ career steals group after registering a pair of thefts against New Mexico on Dec. 30 Hughes, who needed 39 games to do so, became the second-fastest player in program history to reach the 100-steal plateau. Overall, there are 14 players who have recorded more than 100 career steals, with Terri Pedregon holding the school record at 210.

 

On Record-Setting Pace Too

Not only is Jareica Hughes racking up the steals, but she is doing so at a record-setting pace. The sophomore career average stands at 2.9 spg, which is tops in school history.

 

100+ Three-Pointers Made

By virtue of her three triples against NMSU earlier this year, senior Kasia Krezel became just the third player in program history to make more than 100 career three pointers. Amy Billhymer holds the school standard with 208 triples, while Krezel (136) and Terri Powell (109) rank second and third, respectively.

 

200+ Assists and 100+ Steals and 100+ Three-Pointers Made

Kasia Krezel recently became the first member of this club, as her career numbers now stand at  286 assists, 157 steals and 137 triples.

 

Golden Age Of Miner Basketball

A program that has historically struggled, UTEP has come a long way in the past year-and-a half. The Orange and Blue are 49-11 since the start of the 2006-07 season. It is by far the best 60 game stretch in school history.

 

 

 

UTEP Program Has Come A Long Way

The UTEP women's basketball program has made plenty of strides since in the 2001-02 season, Keitha Adams' first year as head coach. Consider the following:

 

* The Miners have won 49 games the past year and a half. They were victorious only 29 times over three seasons from 2001-04.

 

* UTEP has been ranked as high as a program and Conference USA  best 15th in the RPI report. It had an average final RPI rating of 201 from 2001-06.

 

* UTEP has become competitive with talent-laden teams while learning to dominate weaker competition. The Miners are 10-7 against top-100 RPI squads and 19-4 versus teams 100-199 since the start of the 2006-07 season. UTEP has gone 17-0 against teams in the 200-299 range in that time frame too. From the 2001-02 campaign until the 2005-06 season, the Miners were 10-32 versus top-100 squads, 20-38 against 100-199 and 20-18 when facing teams 200-299.

 

Difference Between Winning And Losing

While it is not the only factor, one area to look to determine the outcome of the game for UTEP this year is rebounding. The Miners are 13-0 on the year when winning the battle of the boards, 12-3 when failing to do so and 2-0 when rebounds are equal. That trend proves to be true during the Keitha Adams era, as UTEP carries a record of 53-27 when out-rebounding its foes compared to 34-69 when failing to do so. 

 

Hughes The Scorer

Sophomore Jareica Hughes has continued to be a strong scorer this year, while still running the offense. She has averaged a team-high 14.7 points per game. She has cracked double figures in 21 of her 29 games played and has done so in 40 times throughout her career.

 

Lacy Loves To Share

Senior guard Natasha Lacy has done a tremendous job in many facets of the game this year. She has racked up 148 assists while committing only 102 giveaways. Lacy has also managed to do plenty of scoring as well, evidenced by her 13.0 ppg to rank second on the squad.

 

Hughes Actually Leader By Average

Jareica Hughes, who has missed one game this year due to injury, leads the Miners with 5.6 assists per game. Moreover, she paces the squad in assist to turnover ratio, doing so with a +1.8.

 

Krezel Shows Off Quick Hands

Kasia Krezel has certainly made her presence felt at the defensive end of the court since arriving in the Sun City. The senior has registered 157 career thefts, which ranks fourth all time in program history.

 

Go Figure

UTEP is 8-1 on the campaign when committing more turnovers than its opponent and 17-2 on the season when registering fewer giveaways than its foes. The Miners are 1-0 in contests when turnovers are equal.

 

They're Called Free Throws For A Reason

While UTEP has done plenty of things well this year, one area it has struggled with is its free-throw shooting. That figure took a bit hit by going just two-of-14 in the win against Tulane on Jan. 26. UTEP enters the NCAA Tournament having connected on 68.2 percent of its chances at the charity stripe. The Miners have knocked down 349-of-512 shots at the FT line this year.

 

Good Showing Against Rice

The Miners did look good in that area against Rice in the C-USA quarterfinals, going 16-of-20. Of course it helped that Jareica Hughes was 11-of-11 in the win.

 

Offense Clicking On All Cylinders

UTEP's offensive output this year has been quite impressive despite its challenges at the charity stripe. The Miners are shooting a sparkling 43.5 percent from the floor, which has helped them register 71.3 points per game.

 

What It All Means

The points per game average of 71.3 would rank as the second-highest figure in program history. In fact, the 1980-81 squad is the only one in school annals to have poured in more than 70 ppg. It didn't hurt that Be Stoney, the all-time leading scorer at UTEP, was a member of that team.

 

Krezel Stepping Up

Kasia Krezel has done a solid job this year, as the senior is averaging 10.8 points per game and 3.3 rebounds per contest. The effort on the boards is especially impressive, considering Krezel's career average entering the year was just 2.4 rpg.

 

Double Your Pleasure

Thanks to Izabela Piekarska's double-double against SMU in the C-USA championship game, the Miners have now registered 14 double-doubles on the season. Piekarska has achieved the feat a team-leading six  times. Timika Williams has done so three times,  Jareica Hughes has accomplished it  twice while Tasha Marisett  and Natasha Lacy have registered one double-double a piece.

 

Recycled Notes

Miners Move To Cusp Of NCAA Tourney

UTEP raced out to an early 8-2 lead and never looked back on the way to waxing Southern Miss, 86-69, in the Conference USA semifinals, securing the program's initial berth in a conference championship game as result.

 

Lacy Leads Way

Natasha Lacy keyed the attack in the Miners' triumph against Southern Miss. She poured in 25 points, to go along with eight boards and eight steals.

 

Performance Unlike Any Other

With the 25-point, eight board, eight steal night, Natasha Lacy becomes the first player in the school history to have at least 25-8-8 (of that combination) in a single game in the 34-year history of UTEP women's basketball.

 

Looked Like An All League `D' Team Player

Natasha Lacy was a thorn in the side of Southern Miss, registering eight steals- which equals the second-highest single-game total in program history- against USM. 

 

More On Lacy

The 25-point performance by Lacy is a season high for the senior, and ranks as the third-highest single-game total in UTEP postseason history. The effort only trails Jareica Hughes' 33 points- which came against Rice- and a 28-point effort by Holly Russ in 1992 against Utah.

 

Offense Clicking..

The Miners rolled to a season-high 86 points in the triumph against Southern Miss. The point total also sets a program postseason standard, eclipsing an 84-point showing in a win against Memphis during last season's C-USA tourney.

 

More Along Those Lines

UTEP drained 55 percent of its chances in the win against Southern Miss, marking the highest percentage in a postseason game in program history. The previous standard was 51.9- way back in 1998.

 

No. 18 UTEP Storms Into Semifinals

The No. 18/24 UTEP women's basketball team used a 30-10 run in the second half on the way to knocking off Rice, 80-71, in Conference USA quarterfinal action Friday evening.

 

Redemption Is In UTEP's Possession

The triumph against Rice provided a bit of revenge for UTEP, as the Owls ended the Miners season last year in the quarterfinals of the league tournament.

 

Does So On Strength Of Prolific Attack

The Miners rolled to 80 points, the second-highest total in a postseason game in program history, in the win against Rice. Additionally, the figure of 50.8 from the floor checks in as the second-highest percentage in the same situation for the Orange and Blue.