UTEP Women To Battle Longtime Rival SMU In First Game Of Basketball Doubleheader
Dec. 6, 2013
THE OPENING ACT
- Undefeated UTEP will battle former longtime league-rival and one-loss SMU in the first game of a doubleheader at the Don Haskins Center at 4:30 p.m. MST Saturday. The UTEP men will face Sacramento State at 7:05 p.m. MST Saturday.
- Fans who purchase a ticket for the men’s game will get in free to the women’s tilt.
- Audio & video of the game will be available through subscription-based Miner TV on UTEPAthletics.com.
- The Miners (7-0) have equaled their second-best start in school history. The 2011-12 team (finished 29-4) opened up at 10-0 while the 1996-97 squad (finished 13-12) rolled out of the gates at 7-0.
- UTEP is receiving votes in the both top-25 polls. It is received six points to tie for 33rd in the Associated Press & picked up three points to tie for 39th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches.
- UTEP is 58-14 since the start of the 2011-12 season, including 7-0 this year.
- One of 23 undefeated teams in Division I (through all games played on Dec. 4.
- Stand 54-25, including 1-0 this year, in the month of December under Keitha Adams.
INSIDE THE SERIES
- SMU leads the series, 26-11, including a 10-7 edge in games played in El Paso.
- UTEP claimed the initial meeting between the program’s during its first year of competition (1974-75 series).
- After a hiatus, the series resumed in 1996-97.
- The Miners & Mustangs played at least twice annually from 1996-97 through 2012-13 as league rivals in first the WAC & then C-USA.
- SMU proceeded to claim eight in a row and forge a mark of 18-4 through 2006-07.
- UTEP enjoyed its first series sweep in 2007-08 and did so again during the 2011-12 campaign.
- The Mustangs won both meetings last year, 82-73, in El Paso on Feb. 3 and 73-71 in Dallas on March 3.
- All seven wins have been by double figures, the longest such stretch in school history. The prior standard was six (2006-07 & 2011-12).
- Included in stretch were back-to-back wins by 45+ points for first time in school history.
- School-record 49-point differential vs. DI 1 foe in 92-43 win vs. Northern Arizona (11/22/13)
- Beat Kansas State by 45 points (84-39) on Nov. 16, its third-best margin of win vs. D1 opposition.
- Set school record for biggest halftime lead vs. D1 opponent against KSU (46-13).
- Also won four straight games (11/12/13 to 11/27/13) by 20+ points in the stretch for first time since ‘06-07 & third occasion in the program’s history.
- The +27.3 scoring margin is the second-highest in school history through seven games. The 1976-77. Only the 1976-77 Miners (+28.7) were better but they were aided by games against the likes of Ft. Bliss, Howard College, Sul Ross State, Odessa College & WNMU.
- Scored 70+ points in six of the seven games, including two in the 90’s & two in the 80’s.
- Better than 40% from floor in five games.
- Committed 15 or fewer turnovers five times.
- Kayla Thornton (16.6 ppg) is the lone player averaging double figures in scoring, but she is not the only threat by any means.
- Seven other Miners are contributed +6.0 ppg, including three at better than 8.0 ppg.
- Deep squad with 10 players earning at least 10 minutes per game & another at 8.9.
- Held six teams to 61 points or less, including three to less than 45, & hasn’t allowed 70+.
- NM State was closest (69 points) on Nov. 12.
- Aggies hit 41.0% from floor in the first game & 38.0% in the second tilt.
- No other opponent has topped 35 percent.
- Enjoyed school-record-tying stretch of three consecutive games (11/16/13 to 11/27/13) of holding opposition to fewer than 45 points.
- Forced 20+ turnovers in five straight games for the first time since the 1996-97 season (six).
- School standard is 10 (1983-84) while the 1987-88, 1989-90 & 1992-93 had seven straight.
- Out-rebounded foes in six of seven tilts.
RUNDOWN ON THE 2013-14 MINERS
- The Miners are in search of a third straight 20+ victory campaign, which would be a program first (22-10, ‘12-13 & 29-4, ‘11-12).
- UTEP returned four starters and seven letterwinners. Sophomore Irene Gari, junior Chrishauna Parker and seniors Kayla Thornton & Kelli Willingham started last year while sophomore Cameasha Turner earned a letter. Redshirt-sophomore Jenzel Nash & redshirt senior Kristine Vitola are also back after missing last year due to torn ALCs.
- Seven newcomers are in the fold.
- UTEP will play host to the C-USA Championships (March 11-15, 2015) for the second time since joining the league.
GOING BACK IN TIME
- Kayla Thornton (20 points), Chrishauna Parker (career-high 19 points), Jenzel Nash (14 points) and Irene Gari (10 points) all reached double figures in scoring to help power UTEP to an 80-61 road conquest of I-10 rival New Mexico State on Dec. 3.
- Sixth sweep of series during Keitha Adams era.
- Miners led by four (39-35) at the break before finding another gear to leave NM State in dust.
- Forced 24 turnovers, including 17 in second half, while holding Aggies to 38% shooting.
- No such issues for UTEP, which had just 12 turnovers & nailed 42.6% of its shots.
- UTEP also hit its free throws (20-of-26) & won the battle of the boards (39-34).
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
- SMU is returned four starters & 11 letterwinners from a team that went 21-10 last year.
- Strong history with seven NCAA Tournament appearances & five WNIT.
- SMU is in its first year of competition in the American Athletic Conference.
- The Mustangs previously competed with UTEP in both the WAC & Conference USA.
- Off to an 8-1 start for the 2013-14 season.
- Won first seven games before falling to national powerhouse Tennessee, 87-47, at the Junkanoo Jam on Nov. 29.
- High-powered attack, producing 76.1 ppg.
- Keena Mays (18.2), Akil Simpson (13.3) & Destynee Hives-McCray (11.7) are all in double figures for scoring while two other players contribute better than 8.0 ppg.
- Unbeaten at home (5-0) & on the road (2-0).
- 3-0 in games decided by five points or less.
- 70+ points in seven of nine contests, including one in the 90’s & three in the 80’s.
- Founded in 1911 but first class held 1915.
- Endowment of more than $1 billion.
- Notable alumni include Laura Bush (former first lady), Kathy Bates (academy-award winning actress), James Cronin (Nobel Prize winner) & Robert Dennard (computer memory pioneer).
THE BASIC FACTS ON UTEP
- This is the 40th season of UTEP women’s hoops.
- Overall record of 476-596, including 7-0 in ‘13-14.
- UTEP has posted four 20+ win seasons in the past seven years.
- UTEP has won three conference titles, including claiming both the 2012 C-USA regular season & tournament championship.
- The Miners’ first league crown 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 has appeared in two NCAA Tournaments, forging a mark of 1-2 at the “Big Dance.” The Miners earned an at-large bid in 2008, advancing to the second round. UTEP secured the automatic bid last year but was derailed by national power Penn. State, 85-77.
- The school is in the midst of its centennial celebration, which will continue through ‘14-15.
- Notable alumni include former ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Sam Donaldson, well-respected NFL referee Ed Hochuli, former NASA astronaut Danny Olivas engineer & Dennis Poon, who designed Taipei 101 & some of the tallest buildings in the world.
THE ADAMS FILE
- UTEP is led by 13th-year head coach and the all-time win leader in program history, Keitha Adams, who is 213-158 in that time frame.
- Adams is 340-194 in her 18th year as a collegiate head coach, making her one of five active coaches in C-USA women’s basketball to have 300+ career victories.
- All four 20+ win seasons & five of the with 18+ wins at UTEP have been under Adams.
- She has produced seven straight & eight total seasons with 16+ wins.
- Feat achieved three times in 27 years prior.
- Both NCAA tournament bids & all three league championships at the school under Adams.
- 182-102, including 7-0 in ‘13-14, past 10 years.
- 115-156 was best record for 10-year stretch before her arrival.
- Earned votes in top-25 poll in three straight years & six times overall.
- Never achieved feat before Adams’ era.
- Nationally ranked for final six weeks of 07-08.
- 12 of 18 individual career record holders at UTEP played for Adams.
- Coached 18 players who have gone on to play professionally. List includes ‘08 WNBA draft picks Izabela Piekarska & Natasha Lacy.
- Impacted the international game at the highest level, with Noni Wharemate representing New Zealand at ‘08 Olympic Games.
- Every player who has exhausted her eligibility at UTEP during her tenure has graduated.
CHECK THE STATS
- Hit at least one three pointer in 238 straight games. Last game without a trey was 12/30/05.
- Posted wire-to-wire wins in first four games & has enjoyed lead for 248:38 out of 280 total minutes played.
- 1-0 on year & 60-3 with +20 assists during the Keitha Adams era.
- 5-0 on season & 76-12 under Adams when opposition has more turnovers than field goals.
TAKING ON POWER CONFERENCE SCHOOLS
- UTEP has claimed four consecutive contests against teams from power conferences.
- It is 7-35 all time in the situation.
- The Miners are 1-0 in the situation this year (84-39 vs. Kansas State 11/16/13). They will also face Georgia Tech & Texas A&M this year.
- The Miners were 3-0 in the scenario last year.
- UTEP downed Pacific 12 members Arizona State (60-54, 11/18/12) & Arizona (64-53, 11/23/12) while also toppling Kansas State on the road (52-50, 12/16/12).
- Five of the seven triumphs have been during the Keitha Adams era. UTEP previously derailed Nebraska (Big 12, 63-53, 12/20/08).
- Prior to Adams’ tenure, UTEP had triumphs against Kansas State (Big 8, 67-61, 12/6/96) and Arizona (66-46, Pac 10, 11/20/80).
HOME SWEET HOME
- Home record of 137-54 in Keitha Adams era.
- 102-22 since 2006-07, including 6-0 this year.
- 66-34 was most wins over 8 years before Adams.
- 35-5 over past 40 home games.
- In search of 8th straight year of 12+ home wins.
- Four 10+ win seasons in 27 years before Adams.
- Only one of those teams (12-1, ‘88-89) hit mark.
- Have not lost back-to-back games in El Paso since falling by combined 4 points in final 2 home games of 2009-10.
- Have not dropped 2 league home tilts in span of 7 days since 2005-06, its first year as C-USA member.
ALL ABOUT THE FANS
- UTEP has paced C-USA in attendance & been among top 50 nationally in back-to-back years.
- All four non-conference home games of 3,000+ fans at school have been under Keitha Adams.
- 25 of the 31 home games in school history with 3,000+ fans occurred during Adams’ tenure.
- 23-8 all time in such contests, including 20-5 under Adams.
UTEP Home Games With 3,000+ Fans
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. 4,501 Southern Miss* W, 60-55 2/10/13
12. 4,167 Marshall* W, 64-58 2/9/12
13. 4,069 TCU* W, 79-76 2/22/01
14. 4,029 UCF* W, 67-38 1/29/12
15. 4,007 Tulsa* W, 50-35 1/31/13
16. 3,962 Rice* L, 59-62 2/28/13
17. 3,781 UAB* L, 57-61 1/20/13
18. 3,612 Tulane* W, 71-52 3/8/13
19. 3,497 Houston* W, 73-55 2/21/13
20. 3,726 Hawaii* L, 36-65 2/3/00
21. 3,646 Houston* W, 74-67 1/11/09
22. 3,497 Rice* W, 65-52 1/5/07
23. 3,450 UNM W, 64-62 12/20/10
24. 3,273 NM State L, 60-61 12/7/02
25. 3,215 Fresno St.* L, 62-78 2/14/02
26. 3,173 San Diego St.* W, 70-59 1/22/93
27. 3,107 Fresno State* W, 45-38 2/12/04
28. 3,104 Wyoming* L, 64-66 3/6/93
29. 3,102 SHSU W, 85-66 12/28/12
30. 3,091 New Mexico W, 60-45 12/20/12
31. 3,052 Memphis* W, 66-60 1/8/12
denotes Adams era
* denotes league contest
- UTEP rolled to a 80-61 win at NM State on Dec. 3, its first road contest of the 2013-14 season.
- The only other non-conference road game will be at nationally-ranked Texas A&M (1/02/14).
- UTEP will spend the week leading up to Christmas in tropical San Juan, Puerto Rico, when it takes part in the Puerto Rico Classic. UTEP will face Georgia Tech (12/20, 3 p.m. MST) & Belmont (12/21, 12:30 p.m. MST).
- Overall road record of 54-90 under Keitha Adams.
- UTEP is 40-37 on the road since 2006-07, including the 1-0 mark this year.
- 17-7 over past 24 road contests.
- 25-57 was the best seven-year record before Adams.
- Two winning road seasons under Adams.
- Never happened in first 27 years of program.
- Twice finished at .500 during Adams’ tenure.
- Only occurred a pair of times before her.
Class of 2014 (Thornton, Vitola & Willingham)
- Aided UTEP to record of 73-28 since 2010.
- Program standard for most wins by a class over four years is 84 (Jareica Hughes & Timika Williams, 2006-10).
- Has led UTEP to back-to-back 20+ win seasons.
- Aiming for unprecedented third straight 20+ victory season at the school.
Kayla Thornton (Senior)
- Owns UTEP record for double-doubles (24).
- On track to break Kim Watts’ (1978-82) career rebounding mark (810). Timika Williams (2006-10) is second & Thornton is third at 745.
- Sixth all time on UTEP scoring list (1,132), starts (83) & field goals made (418).
- Seventh in field-goals attempted (962), steals (143) & free-throws made (239-8th)
- Back-to-back second-team All C-USA selection.
- 2012 C-USA All-Tournament Team.
Kristine Vitola (Senior)
- One of 19 Miners in program history with 100+ games played (104).
- Ranks fourth all time at UTEP for blocks (119).
- 500+ points (575) & 400+ boards (440).
Kelli Willingham (Senior)
- On current path to break career school record for games played (120, Timika Williams, 2006-10), games started (114, Jareica Hughes, 2006-10), minutes played (3,777, Hughes) & three pointers (208, Amy Billhymer, 1993-97).
- Willingham at 98 games played, 93 starts (4th).
- Logged 2994 career minutes (6th).
- Drilled 166 threes (3rd) & attempted 460 (3rd).
- Registered 314 assists (4th).
- Ana Valtierra (2002-07) holds third at 324).
- 3rd Miner with 700+ points & 300+ assists (300). Jareica Hughes (2006-10) & Valtierra (2002-07) also achieved the feat.
CLIFFSNOTES ON 2013-14 CAMPAIGN
at UTEP 73, Texas State 60
- Kayla Thornton (17 points, 10 rebounds), Cameasha Turner (career-high 13 points) and Jenzel Nash (10 points) all reached double figures in scoring, and UTEP moved to 6-0 on the year after a 73-60 conquest of visiting Texas State at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 30.
- The Miners led 41-23 at the break.
- The advantage swelled to as many as 22 (54-32, 11:58 to play) before the Bobcats tried to put together a rally. The visitors battled back but could never get closer than 12 the rest of the way out during the foul-plagued contest.
- There were 56 combined infractions in the game (30 on UTEP, 26 on Texas State), with the Miners knocking down 21-of-32 free throws and TSU finishing at 14-of-30 from the charity stripe.
- UTEP connected on 40.3 percent (25-of-62) from the floor, with that figure aided by 42 points in the paint.
- UTEP won the rebounding battle, 44-40, aided by 12 from Chrishauna Parker & 10 from Thornton.
at UTEP 63, Northern Colorado 40
- Fueled by a huge second half (42-16), UTEP dispatched upset-minded Northern Colorado, 63-40, at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 27.
- The Bears led by three (24-21) at the break.
- UTEP hit 46.6 percent (27-of-58) of its shots.
- Thornton made six steals.
- UNC shots 27.5 (14-of-51) percent & committed 30 turnovers that led to 36 UTEP points.
- UTEP out-scored UNC in points in the paint (42-16) & on fast-break tries (15-2) to more than compensate for losing the rebounding battle 46-31.
at UTEP 92, Northern Arizona 43
- UTEP jumped out to a 25-point (45-20) halftime lead and didn’t let up on the way to recording its largest margin of victory (49) ever against a Division 1 team in a 92-43 thrashing of Northern Arizona at home on Nov. 26.
- UTEP harassed the Lumberjacks into making 29 turnovers while also holding them to 32.0 percent shooting from the floor. The 29 giveaways led to 31 points for the Orange and Blue.
- UTEP registered 20 assists & hit 50% from field.
- Transfer Anete Kirsteine came off the bench to tally a career high 15 points- all on triples- to lead a quartet of Miners in double figures for scoring.
- Overall 11 different players scored in the game, showing off the Orange and Blue’s depth in the process.
- UTEP drained the seventh-most three pointers (11) in a contest in program annals.
at UTEP 84, Kansas State 39 (11/16/13)
- UTEP forced 34 turnovers and held Big 12 member Kansas State to 26.3 percent shooting from the floor in a 84-39 shellacking at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 16.
- The 45-point differential is the second-biggest margin of victory against a Division 1 opponent in school history, which was aided by the program’s biggest halftime lead (46-13) vs. a D1 foe.
- Five different Miners reached double figures in scoring, with senior Kayla Thornton leading the way with her school-record 23rd career double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds). The prior standard was 22, held by Amy Pack (1999-01).
- Sophomores Irene Gari and Cameasha Turner and senior Kristine Vitola each buoyed Thornton with 12 points while junior Stacie Telles added 10 points. Redshirt-freshman Jenzel Nash pitched in eight off the bench while senior Kelli Willingham and freshman Sparkle Taylor netted five a piece.
- UTEP drilled 35-of-47 from the free-throw line and also won the rebounding battle, 54-43.
- It is the third most free throws made & ties as the fourth-highest for free throw attempts.
- Thornton was named the C-USA player of the week as result of efforts vs. Kansas State & NM State.
- But the day belonged to the defense, with UTEP forcing 34 turnovers. That ties as the sixth-highest sum by an opponent in school history.
- The Orange and Blue finished with 20 steals, equaling their eighth-highest single-game sum.
- Sophomore Chrishauna Parker, who posted a game-high 12 boards, recorded the sixth-best sum (seven) by a Miner in school history.
at UTEP 94, NM State 69 (11/16/13)
- Four different Miners reached double figures in scoring to help UTEP pound NM State, 94-69, in the first round of the “Battle of I-10” this year at the Haskins Center on Nov. 12
- UTEP led wire-to-wire.
- It was the Miners’ 2nd-biggest margin of victory in the series against the Aggies.
- UTEP equaled fifth-highest second-half scoring sum in program history by pouring in 55.
- Kayla Thornton led the way with a double-double (22 points, 12 rebounds).
- UTEP hit 55.0% (33-of-60), aided by going 20-of-29 (69.0%) in the second half.
at UTEP 75, UTPB 58 (11/8/13)
- Chrishauna Parker registered a double-double (12 points and 12 rebounds) and UTEP’s bench provided 49 points to lift it past UTPB.
- Junior-college transfer and El Paso native Stacie Telles matched Parker with 12 points, including nine on triples.
- The Miners led the Falcons picked second in the Heartland Conference, 43-23, at the half.
- Eleven different Miners scored in the game. Senior Kayla Thornton had nine points & nine rebounds & freshman Sparkle Taylor pitched in eight off the bench, aided by six makes on 12 tries at the charity stripe.
- Senior Kristine Vitola chipped in six points and grabbed seven boards in an efficient 18 minutes of action in her return to the court after missing most of last year with a torn ACL. Sophomore Jenzel Nash, who redshirted last year as well due to a torn ACL, pitched in four points and four boards while battling foul trouble.
at UTEP 81, St. Mary’s (TX) 51 (11/2/13)- EXH
- Kayla Thornton poured in 22 points to lead a quartet of Miners in double figures, and UTEP throttled St. Mary’s, 81-51, in the exhibition game.
- The Miners led 40-17 at half & were up by 30+ points for the final 13 minutes of the contest.
The Last Meeting
March 3, 2013