MINERS
No. 23/25 UTEP Women's Basketball Notes / Game 32 / At No. 4 Stanford / NCAA Second Round

Natasha Lacy

Natasha Lacy

March 23, 2008

NCAA Tournament Central
Gametracker

UTEP To Take On Stanford In Second Round

The No. 23/25 UTEP women's basketball team will take on No. 4/4 Stanford in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at approximately 8:30 p.m. MST on Monday at Maples Pavilion. The game will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of the California/George Washington tilt, a 6 p.m. MST tilt. The Miners, the seventh seed in the region, advanced into the round of 32 with an 92-60 triumph against Western Kentucky while second-seeded Stanford did so courtesy of an 85-47 drubbing of 15th-seeded Cleveland State.

 

Tune In To ESPN2.. Or Listen Live On 92.3


 

 

The Miners' contest against Stanford will be carried live by ESPN2. Additionally, it will air locally in El Paso on 92.3 FM.

 

Sixth Time On National TV This Year

The contest against Stanford marks the program-record sixth time this year that UTEP will appear in a nationally-televised event. The Miners are 4-1 in that situation this year, including 2-1 on the Worldwide Leader.

 

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 punched its ticket to its initial NCAA tournament in program history.

 

First Postseason Tournament, Too

Not only is this 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 28-3 entering the 2008 Big Dance, will be playing their 32nd game of the season on Monday when they battle Stanford. UTEP. Prior to this season, UTEP had never played more than 30 tilts in a single campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

Scouting Stanford

Stanford, the champions of the Pacific 10, enter Monday's contest with a sparkling 31-3 record. The Cardinal, along with the Miners, are one of just eight programs in the nation with three or fewer losses this year. Stanford is absolutely sizzling, winners of 19 successive contests. Making that feat even more impressive is the fact that of those 19 straight wins, 17 have been of the double-digit variety. Included among that are 12 by 20 or more points.

 

First Meeting Between Programs

The contest between Stanford and UTEP marks the first meeting between the two programs. The Miners and the Cardinal did have a common opponent this season, though, as both squads defeated New Mexico.

 

Talk About A Contrast

The tilt against Stanford marks the second postseason tournament game (excluding conference tournaments) in the 34-year history of the program. Conversely, Stanford will be taking to the courts for the 68th time at the Big Dance.

 

More On Stanford's NCAA History

Stanford is 48-19 in NCAA tournament play and is marking its 21st consecutive appearance and 22nd overall. The Cardinal has won a pair of national titles (1990 & `92), appeared in six Final Fours, 11 Elite Eights and 14 Sweet 16s.

 

Cardinal Tough To Beat At Home

Stanford enters Monday's contest with a perfect 14-0 record at home. The Cardinal is 21-4 at Maples Pavilion in the NCAA Tournament and boast a 299-32 (.903) record at home during the Tara VanDerveer era.

 

Three-Headed Monster For Stanford

Stanford's Big Three (All American guard Candice Wiggins, center Jayne Appel and forward Kayla Pedersen) have accounted for  more than 62 percent of Stanford's scoring while contributing more than 52 percent of the boards. Wiggins lead the way at 19.1 ppg, while Appel (14.8) and Pedersen (12.6) are also in double figures.

 

Lots of League Honors For Both Squads

Stanford and UTEP both garnered plenty of accolades in their respective league's postseason honors. The Cardinal boast the Pac-10 Player of the Year (Candice Wiggins), Coach of the Year (Tara VanDerveer) and Freshman of the Year (Kayla Pedersen). The Miners, meanwhile, reeled in Conference USA Player of the Year (Jareica Hughes), Coach of the Year (Keitha Adams) and Newcomer of the Year (Natasha Lacy).

 

Yet Another School's Leading Scorer

Senior Candice Wiggins is the all-time leading scorer for Stanford. It marks the third straight game for UTEP that the Miners will have faced the program's career record holder for points. Western Kentucky's Crystal Kelly and SMU's Janielle Dodds are the others.

 

Piekarska Could Become That For UTEP

Izabela Piekarska enters the tilt against Stanford with 1,234 career points. That effort is 15 points shy of the program record of 1,249, which is held by Be Stoney.

 

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.

 

Not To Mention Hughes, Krezel

Three players in program history have shown enough all-around ability to compile more than 800 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.

 

UTEP Routs Western Kentucky, 92-60

After waiting 34 years to play a postseason tournament, the No. 23/25 UTEP women's basketball team certainly made the most of its first opportunity by throttling Western Kentucky, 92-60, in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday evening on the campus of Stanford University.

 

Gotta Love The Number 32

UTEP moved into the round of 32 courtesy of the 32-point drubbing of Western Kentucky. And it was freshman Joanna Zalesiak, who wears No. 32, that provided the final points of the ball game for the Miners to give them the 32-point triumph.

 

Ties School Record- Men Or Women- For Single Season Wins

By virtue of the triumph against WKU, UTEP picked up its 28 victory this year. That effort ties the school standard- for either men's or women's basketball- for the most wins at the institution. The 1966 national championship team, which went 28-1 en route to its historic crown, is the only other squad in UTEP history to have claimed at least 28 games in a single season.

 

Program Postseason Record For Points

UTEP's 92 points against Western Kentucky marked the highest point total in school history in postseason play, surpassing the previous standard of 86 during the Miners' triumph against Southern Miss in the Conference USA semifinals. Making the feat even more impressive is the fact that it came in the UTEP's initial appearance in a true postseason tournament. Prior to this year, the Miners' lone experiences in postseason play had been limited to conference tournaments.

 

Plenty of Points, Period

The season-high 92 points-including 54 after the break- marks the highest total against a division I opponent since a 96-point effort against UAPB last year and the third-best effort in the past 17 campaigns.

 

Team Records Falling Left And Right

UTEP broke the single-season school record for assists in the triumph against Western Kentucky, marking the fifth program single-campaign mark that has been toppled during the 2007-08 tilt. For a look at the records, please see pages 5-6 of the notes package.

 

Hughes, Lacy and Krezel Lead The Way

Natasha Lacy (19 points, seven steals and six assists) Jareica Hughes (17 points and eight helpers) and Kasia Krezel (15 points and five boards) led the way in the triumph against WKU.

 

 

Bench Provides Boost

Freshman Brittnay Jones keyed a tremendous effort by the Orange and Blue's bench, pouring in nine points to go along with two boards. Claudia Porras (eight points, five boards and three blocks) and Tasha Marisett (six points and five caroms) also stepped up. Overall, UTEP's bench accounted for 27 points and 21 boards.

 

Don't Forget The D By Iza and `Mik

Not to be overlooked is the defensive performance of Timika Williams and Izabela Piekarska, who held WKU's Crystal Kelly to five points below her average (17 points). The duo made the All-American work for everything she got, visibly frustrating her with the smothering defense.

UTEP Controls All Aspect of Contest

UTEP dominated in all facets of the contest. The Miners shot 50 percent from the floor, compared to 39 percent by WKU, including the sixth-best effort from three-point land in school history at 56.3 percent. The Orange and Blue out-rebound the Lady Toppers-who entered the contest as the No. 10 rebounding team in the country- enjoying an 42-35 edge on the glass to remain undefeated on the season when winning the battle of the boards.

 

Turnovers Factor In

UTEP forced WKU into 22 giveaways, which were converted into 30 points. At the other end of the court, the Miners had no such problems with 21 helpers and only 12 turnovers.

 

Wouldn't Have Guessed It

Anyone tuning into the WKU/UTEP contest wouldn't have known that the Miners were making their first appearance in the NCAA tournament. UTEP, which prior to this year had never even advanced beyond the conference semifinals, looked like a veteran squad in posting the 32-point triumph.

 

Been A While Since That Big Of Win

The 32-point throttling of Western Kentucky  marks the largest margin of victory against a Division I opponent since a 83-41 (42-point triumph) versus Montana State on Dec. 22, 2003. Before that, you have to go all the way back to a 79-42 victory against Prairie View A&M on March 1, 1996

 

Lacy's Experience Shows

Senior Natasha Lacy, a TCU transfer who went dancing a trio of times with the Frogs, looked like a player comfortable in the spotlight with her 19 point, seven-steal and five rebound effort in the triumph against Western Kentucky.

Hughes Shining In Postseason Play

Jareica Hughes has been on top of her game in UTEP's four postseason contests this year (three at the Conference USA tournament and one in the NCAA tournament), averaging 23 points, seven assists five rebounds and two and a half steals.

 

Others Doing So Too

There have been other Miners who have performed admirably in UTEP's four postseason tilts this year. Natasha Lacy has contributed 17 ppg, 6.0 rpb, 5.0 spg and 4.0 apg while Izabela Piekarska has poured in 14 ppg and 6.0 rpg.

 

UTEP On Neutral Courts

Thanks to the win against WKU, UTEP improved to  4-1 on the year when playing on a neutral court (1-1 at the Kansas State tournament, 2-1 at the Conference USA tournament and 1-0 at the NCAA tournament) It should come as no surprise, though, as the Miners have fared well in the Keitha Adams era at neutral sites. They are 11-7 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  28 heading into the second round of 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 entered the NCAA tournament ranked among the top 25 in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls. UTEP checks in at 23rd 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 105 heading into the second round of 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 28 heading into the second round of 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 28-3 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.

 

In Elite Company

As of March. 23, UTEP was one of just eight 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 17 of its past 22 opponents below 40% shooting from the floor. On the year, the Miners have kept 20 opponents below 40%. It is no surprise that UTEP is 19-1 in those contests.

 

Been A Season-Long Trend

UTEP has been pretty impressive throughout the entire season defensively, holding the opposition to 37.6 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 Western Kentucky into 22 turnovers, marking the 14th time this year they have forced the opposition into 20 or more giveaways. Overall, UTEP is 13-1 on the season when making its foe topple the 20-turnover barrier. On the season, the Miners have forced 607 giveaways, an average of 20 per contest.  Aiding that figure has been 334 steals. Those thefts rank tied as the third-highest  total program history.

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Turnover Tidbits Galore

UTEP has averaged 23 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 169 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 154 dimes.

 

Lacy Does So With Steals

Natasha Lacy, a member of the Conference USA all-defensive team, just became the first player in program history to topple the 100-steal barrier in a single-season program history.  She enters the second round of the NCAA tournament with 104 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: 28, School Record                   Previous record: 22 (2006-07)

FGM: 843, second                               School record: 846 (1980-81)

FG%: 43.8, second                               School record: 45.0 (1980-81)

FG Defense: 37.6, second                                 School record: 36.5 (2005-06)

3P: 182, School Record                     Previous record: 170 (2001-02)

3PA: 540, second                                                School record: 556 (2001-02)

3P%: 33.7, fifth                                      School record: 37.7 (1987-88)

3P Defense: 29.0, fourth                    School record: 23.5 (1987-88)

FT%: 68.6, seventh                              School record: 74.6 (2002-03)

Assists: 515, School Record            Previous record: 510 (2006-07)

TO Forced: 607, fourth                       School record: 673 (1989-90)

Blocks: 162, second                          School record: 171 (1981-82)

Steals: 331, third                                 School record: 343 (2006-07)

Total Points- 2,232 School Record Previous record: 2,063 (2006-07)

Scoring Offense: 72.0, first               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 800-Point Club; Cracks Top 20 All Time At UTEP

Thanks to the 17-point performance against SMU on Feb. 28, Jareica Hughes became the 14th member of the 800-point club. The sophomore's total stands at 804 heading into the second round 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 549 going into the second round of 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 6.8 rebounds per game, has been especially impressive on offensive rebounding. Plenty of Williams' boards on the season (86 of 211) 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 second round of the NCAA tournament, Izabela Piekarska has 63, while Natasha Lacy has 53. Claudia Porras has registered 38, while Tasha Marisett checks in with 36.

 

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 189 of the 334 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 on March 1.  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 Was 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 Did 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 second round of the NCAA tournament,  Piekarska has connected on a team-leading and fifth in C-USA 39.8 percent from beyond the arc. Moreover, she ranks tied for third all time at UTEP with 82 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 162 shots. At the other end of the court, the opposition has managed to block only 58 shots. Leading the block party has been Izabela Piekarska, who has swatted a team-high 75 shots. The imposing 6-5 center has paced Conference USA the past two years in rejections and ranks second in program history with 252 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 1,234 career points while Krezel checks in at 1,168.

 

Hughes Reaches 300 Career Assists

Thanks to eight helpers in the triumph against Western Kentucky, Jareica Hughes became just the third member of the 300-assist club at UTEP in program history.

 

Sets Her Sight On The Program Reord

Jareica Hughes enters the seond round of the NCAA tournament with 306 career assists, which is only 20 points shy of tying the program's all-time record.

 

On Record-Setting Pace

For her career, Hughes has averaged 5.4 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 second round of 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 13.2 ppg. Izabela Piekarska is third at 12.3 ppg while Kasia Krezel (10.9) rounds out the Miners in double figures. Additionally, sophomore forward Timika Williams is just shy of 10.0 ppg after elevating her average to 8.8 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 second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Miners' top five scorers (Hughes, Lacy, Krezel, Piekarska and Williams) have accounted for 1,840 of the 2,232 points scored on the year by UTEP. That is a mind-boggling 82 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 (138) 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  230 assists, 158 steals and 138 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 50-11 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 50 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 11-7 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 14-0 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

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