UTEP Women's Basketball Notes / Game Nine / Prairie View A&M
Dec. 17, 2007
UTEP To Battle Prairie View A&MThe UTEP women's basketball team is back in action against 2007 NCAA Tournament participant Prairie View A&M at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday inside the Don Haskins Center. The Miners enter the tilt at 6-2 on the season, including a perfect 4-0 at home, while PVAMU carries a record of 3-6. Don't let that fool you, though, as five of the six losses for the Lady Panthers have come at the hands of BCS programs.
Miners Roll Past Savannah StateSpurred on by hot shooting and stifling defense, the UTEP women's basketball team rolled to a 75-58 win against Savannah State at the Don Haskins Center Sunday afternoon. Kasia Krezel, Natasha Lacy led the way offensively, with respective point totals of 15, 11 and 10. Lacy also dished out eight assists and had five steals to flirt with a triple-double. Claudia Porras and Timika Williams handled the rebounding with 10 boards apiece while Jareica Hughes fought through an illness to provide four points and five assists in 15 minutes of action.
Golden Age Of Miner BasketballBy virtue of the win against Savannah State on Sunday, the Miners are now 28-13 in their past 41 contests. That record is the best in school history over a 41-game span. In fact, UTEP has only had eight other stretches in the 34-year existence of the program during which it posted a winning record in that stretch. Additionally, the previous standard (25-13) for best record during a 41-contest period also came in the Keitha Adams era.
Bench Provides BoostOne of the key factors in UTEP's triumph against Savannah State on Sunday was the play of its reserves. The Miners received 32 points and 27 rebounds from its bench, with Brittnay Jones (10 points) and Claudia Porras (seven points, 10 boards) leading the way. It was a much-needed contribution from the Orange and Blue's reserves, as they had managed only 33 points and 27 boards the previous three games combined.
Miners Own The GlassThe Orange and Blue controlled the boards to the tune of 47-34, including a season-high 18 offensive boards in the win against Savannah State. Claudia Porras and Timika Williams handled the rebounding with 10 boards apiece.
Difference Between Winning And LosingWhile 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 6-0 on the year when winning the battle of the boards, and 0-2 when failing to do so. That trend proves to be true during the Keitha Adams era, as UTEP carries a record of 50-27 when out-rebounding its foes compared to 30-69 when failing to do so.
Home Sweet HomeThe game against Prairie View A&M wraps up a three-game home stand, and the Miners have been rolling at the Don. UTEP has won 16 of its past 17 games in El Paso. The lone setback in the stretch came at the hands of SMU on Feb. 24, 2007, a game in the Miners were without two of its starters. Success in the Sun City is nothing new for Keitha Adams, though, as UTEP has racked up 47 wins the past four years at the Don.
Good To Be Back In El PasoFrom the numbers don't lie department, consider the following. In three road games, UTEP has been whistled for 68 fouls compared to 43 for the opposition. The Miners have taken 38 free throws, while their opponents have earned 81 trips to the line. At home, the numbers are more in the Orange and Blue's favor, as the foul count stands at 73 on the opposition and 57 on UTEP while free throws are 83-54 for the Miners.
UTEP Still Welcomes DecemberAlthough UTEP fell at Kansas State on Dec. 1, the Miners are still very glad to be playing basketball games in the month of December. The reason? Under head-coach Keitha Adams, UTEP is 25-15 in the final month of the calendar year. That is by far the best record of any month for UTEP during the Adams era.
Milestone WatchThere are several exclusive clubs which current Miners are closing in on joining, or in some cases, moving to becoming the first player in the 34-year history of the program to achieve the feat.
1,000 Point ClubThere are only three players who have topped 1,000 career points at UTEP, but a two active Miners are working their way toward doing so. Seniors Izabela Piekarska and Kasia Krezel enter the tilt against Prairie View A&M with respective totals of 942 and 929. Those efforts rank seventh and ninth, respectively, in program history.
900+ Points, 500+ ReboundsOnly Be Stoney, Kiana Taylor and Chris Hall are members of this exclusive group. With one rebounds against Prairie View A&M on Sunday, Izabela Piekarska will be enshrined.
500+ Points, 200+ Assists and 100+ StealsFive players in program history have shown enough all-around ability to comprise this club. Senior Kasia Krezel (929 points, 185 assists and 128 steals) and incredibly only a sophomore, (Jareica Hughes) 451 points, 183 assists and 94 steals have their sights set on becoming the sixth and seventh members.
100+ Three-Pointers MadeBy virtue of her three triples against NMSU last week, 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 Terri Powell (109) and Krezel (102) rank second and third, respectively.
200+ Assists and 100+ Steals and 100+ Three-Pointers MadeNo one has ever done this in program history, but senior Kasia Krezel is only 15 assists shy of becoming the first to do so.
1000+ Points, 500+ Rebounds, 200+ Blocks + 100 AssistsNo player has ever achieved these gaudy all-around numbers, but that doesn't mean that it can't happen. Izabela Piekarska could be the first to do so later this year, as she enters the tilt vs. Prairie View A&M with 942 points, 499 rebounds, 194 blocks and 98 assists.
UTEP Doing Just FineAt 6-2 on the campaign, but there is no cause for concern. But if there are any worries about UTEP, keep in mind the following. The Miners' two losses have come by a combined 15 points. Moreover, both were at the hands of Big 12 powers (Nebraska and Kansas State) and were in hostile territory.
UTEP In The National RankingsAs of Dec. 17, here is where the Miners rank in some of the national categories. UTEP is 27th in blocked shots per game (5.0), 55th in field-goal percentage (43.4), 58th in steals per game (10.9), 53rd in assists per game (15.4), 60th in win/loss percentage (75.0), 82nd in scoring offense (69.4) and 92nd in assist-to-turnover ratio (+0.81)
Hughes The ScorerSophomore Jareica Hughes has continued to be a strong scorer this year, while still running the offense. One of those more notable is her scoring output, which stands at a team-leading 12.7 points per game. She has cracked double figures in five of the eight tilts and has done so in 27 times throughout her career.
Hughes The PasserJareica Hughes, who ranks 11th in the country at 6.8 assists per game as of Dec. 16, is rapidly approaching the 200-assist club. Only six players in the 34-year history of the program have achieved the feat, with Hughes knocking on the door only as a sophomore with 183 assists. Moreover, she has done so in just 34 games and has a good chance at being the fastest to reach 200 assists. Former Miner Shalana Taylor (2004-07) required 42 games to produce 200 assists.
Don't Forget LacyFellow point guard Natasha Lacy has also racked up the assists this year, ranking second on the squad with 34 helpers.
She Takes Care Of The Ball TooNot only is Jareica Hughes racking up the assists, evidenced by her C-USA leading and 10th-best effort in the nation at 6.8 apg, but she is doing so while limiting her giveaways. Hughes ranks 12th in the country in assist to turnover ratio as of Dec. 17, checking in at +2.71. In fact, she is one of only two players in Division I hoops (Illinois State's Kristi Cirone is the other) to rank among the top 12 in both assists and assists to turnover ratio. Not bad for a sophomore.
Hughes The DefenderJareica Hughes, a C-USA all-defensive team member as a freshman last year, is closing in on her 100th career steal. She has registered 94 steals (in only 36 games). Should she do so against Prairie View A&M, Hughes would equal the fastest player in program history to reach the 100-steal plateau. Former standout Holly Russ needed 36 games played to achieve the feat, with Martha Contreras checking in second at 39 contests. Overall, there are 13 players who have recorded more than 100 career steals, with Terri Pedregon holding the school record at 210.
Krezel Knows A Thing Or Two About That As WellKasia Krezel has certainly made her presence felt at the defensive end of the court since arriving in the Sun City. The senior has registered 128 career thefts, which ranks eighth all time in program history.
Don't Forget About LacyNatasha Lacy has actually been the most prolific defender for the Miners in terms of steals, as the senior has tallied a team-leading 23 steals. Additionally, she ranks 46th in the nation at 2.9 thefts per contest.
Williams A Beast On The BoardsTimika Williams has been a tremendous rebounder since arriving in the Sun City, and she is starting to compile some gaudy numbers. The sophomore has already pulled down 273 boards, and will crack the top-25 in program history by year's end. On the campaign, Williams leads UTEP with 8.0 rpg.
Williams Living On The O-GlassSophomore forward Timika Williams, who leads the Miners with 8.0 rebounds per game, has been especially impressive on offensive rebounding. Plenty of Williams' boards on the season (26 of 64) have been of the offensive variety.
Others Doing So TooTimika Williams is not the only player to experience success in the offensive rebounding department. Entering the tilt versus Prairie View A&M, Izabela Piekarska has 16, while Natasha Lacy has 12 and Kasia Krezel has 11.
Pressure Defense Pays OffUTEP has displayed a high-pressure defense this year, and the results have been encouraging. The Miners have forced 160 turnovers in just eight games. Aiding that figure has been 87 steals.
Lacy And Hughes Steal The ShowLeading the charge defensively, especially in the steals department, have been Jareica Hughes and Natasha Lacy. The duo has accounted for 39 of the 87 thefts on the campaign.
Hard To FathomGiven the amount of talent the Miners are blessed with this year, it is hard to figure out how they have committed 152 turnovers of their own.
Making Some ProgressImprovement has been seen in the turnover department, however, the past three games. UTEP has averaged 15.7 turnovers per contest in that stretch.
Go FigureUTEP is 4-0 on the campaign when committing more turnovers than its opponent and 1-2 on the season when registering fewer giveaways than its foes. The Miners are 1-0 in contests when turnovers are equal.
Balanced Scoring AttackEntering the tilt against Prairie View A&M, UTEP has been successful thanks to a balanced scoring attack. The Miners have a quartet of players who are averaging double-digit scoring. Leading the way is sophomore point guard Jareica Hughes, who checks in at 12.7 points per game. Senior guard Natasha Lacy is not far behind at 12.6 ppg, while fellow classmates Kasia Krezel (12.4 ppg) and Izabela Piekarska (10.6) rank third and fourth, respectively, on the squad.
It's Been A WhileYou 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.
Five-Headed Scoring MonsterGoing into the Prairie View A&M game, the Miners' top five scorers (Hughes, Lacy, Krezel, Piekarska and Williams) have accounted for 444 of the 561 points scored on the year by UTEP. That is a mind-boggling 79 percent of the points on the campaign.
Different Star Each NightTo further illustrate UTEP's balanced attack on the year, consider that the Miners have had five different players lead the team in scoring through their eight games on the season.
Get That Weak Stuff Out Of HereUTEP has done a great job of defending the paint thus far, as the Miners have blocked 40 shots. At the other end of the court, the opposition has managed to block only 10 shots. Leading the block party has been Izabela Piekarska, who has swatted a team-high 17 shots. The imposing 6-5 center has paced Conference USA the past two years in rejections and ranks second in program history with 194 blocks.
Get That Weak Stuff Out Of Here Part 2UTEP's effort on blocked shots has allowed the Miners to rank 27th in the country with 5.0 blocks per contest.
They're Called Free Throws For A ReasonWhile UTEP has done plenty of things well this year, one area it has struggled with early on is its free-throw shooting. UTEP enters the game versus Prairie View A&M having connected on just 68.3 percent of its chances at the charity stripe. The Miners have knocked down 95-of-139 shots at the FT line this year.
Moving In The Right DirectionThe Miners have improved at the charity stripe the past three games, evidenced by draining 56-of-75 chances for a respectable percentage of 74.7
Stepping Up When It MattersWhile as a whole the Miners have struggled at the charity stripe, they did elevate their level down the stretch to ice the games against Cal State Fullerton and New Mexico State. In the final minute of those contests, UTEP has gone 7-of-9 in the pressure situation.
Offense Clicking On All CylindersUTEP's offensive output this year has been quite impressive. The Miners are shooting a sparkling 43.6 percent from the floor, which has helped them average 70.1 points per game.
Krezel Stepping UpKasia Krezel has done a solid job this year, as the senior is averaging 12.5 points per game and 4.1 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 PleasureJareica Hughes scored 14 points and dished out a career-high-tying 10 assists in the home win against NMSU. Izabela Piekarska also did so, marking the fourth and fifth double-doubles on the campaign by the Miners. Piekarska leads the way with a pair, while Hughes, Tasha Marisett and Timika Williams have each achieved the feat once.
Miners Taking Control Of I-10 SeriesBy virtue of knocking off NMSU at home, UTEP has now emerged victorious in eight of its past nine match-ups against its I-10 rivals. Moreover, they have swept the season series for three straight years.
UTEP Falls Just Short At Kansas StateThe UTEP women's basketball team suffered a hard-fought 66-58 loss at Kansas State in the championship game of the Commerce Bank Classic on Dec. 1. The Miners used an incredible 16-0 run over the first 8:56 of the second period to overcome an 11-point halftime deficit, but the Wildcats clawed back to pull out the win.
Miners Turn Up Heat Against UAPBJareica Hughes, Timika Williams and Izabela Piekarska each scored 13 points, and the Miners forced a season-high 30 turnovers as the UTEP women's basketball team steamed past Arkansas Pine Bluff, 73-56, in the opening round of the 13th-annual Commerce Bank Classic on Nov. 30. UTEP was dominant at both ends of the court, connecting on 47.4 percent of their chances while limiting UAPB to 39.3. The Miners converted the aforementioned 30 turnovers into 31 points and had an edge of 17-6 in second-chance opportunities.
UTEP Notches Dramatic OT Win At NMSUJareica Hughes drilled a three-pointer with one second left in regulation to force overtime, and the UTEP women's basketball team rolled in the extra period en route to a 72-66 win at New Mexico State on Nov. 30 . The Miners trailed 63-60 after Monique Bribiescas sunk a free three with 10 seconds remaining, but Hughes would not let the Orange and Blue lose. After UTEP inbounded the ball, Natasha Lacy raced up the court and found Hughes in the corner for the most important of her game-high nine assists. Kasia Krezel essentially put the game away, knocking down a long triple to afford UTEP a 70-64 advantage with 2:06 left in overtime.
UTEP Left In The DarkA power outage in El Paso on Nov. 24 wiped out the championship game at the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic. UTEP and Nevada were ready to tangle, but it was not to be.
UTEP Knocks Off Cal State FullertonFour Miners turned in double-digit scoring efforts to lead the UTEP women's basketball team to a 78-71 triumph against an upstart Cal State Fullerton squad on the opening day of the Thanksgiving Classic at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 23. UTEP went on a 25-7 during a seven-minute span late in the first half to turn a six-point deficit into a lead they would never relinquish.
Taking Care Of Business At HomeThe win against Cal State Fullerton marked the 14th triumph in the past 15 home games for UTEP. Success at home is nothing new for the Miners, though, as they have racked up 44 wins the past four years, making the Don Haskins Center one of the toughest places to play not only in C-USA but the nation as well.
Miners Cruise Past Islanders, 67-52Led by Timika Williams' 22-point, 12-rebound effort, the UTEP women's basketball team rolled to a convincing 67-52 triumph against a pesky Texas A&M-Corpus Christi squad at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 15. The Miners used a 14-0 run halfway through the second-half to break open the contest. Joining Williams in double figures were Kasia Krezel (13 points, seven boards) and Claudia Porras (11 points, two caroms), while Natasha Lacy effectively ran the point with a game-high five assists. The Miners, who were without the services of sensational sophomore Jareica Hughes, were effective offensively, connecting on 49.1 percent of their chances.
UTEP Passes TestWhile UTEP would certainly like to have Jareica Hughes on the court this year, it was a good sign to see the Miners win without her. UTEP, which was 0-2 last year in games when Hughes did not play in, held off a feisty Texas A&M-Corpus Christi team by playing team basketball and turning up the intensity defensively.
UTEP's History In Home OpenersBy virtue of the Miners' triumph against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, they have now won five straight home openers. UTEP is 5-2 under head coach Keitha Adams and 22-12 all time when doing so.
Miners Push Team China To The LimitThe UTEP women's basketball team gave the 10th-rated team in the world quite a scare, with the Chinese Olympic team squeaking out 77-75 win at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 9. UTEP had a shot to win it, but Natasha Lacy's desperation three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
Battling For BoardsThe Miners did a much better job against the Chinese Olympic team on the boards than they did at Nebraska on Nov. 9. UTEP pulled down 19 rebounds on the offensive end alone, which turned into 22 second-chance points.
Miners Fall In Hard-Fought Game At Nebraska, 81-74Jareica Hughes led all players with 27 points, nine assists and four steals, but it wasn't enough as the UTEP women's basketball team fell at Nebraska, 81-74, in the season opener for both teams on Nov. 9. The Miners overcame a 14-point deficit late in the first-half to take a 41-38 at the break, only to have the Huskers rally for the victory.
No Quit In This GroupUTEP showed plenty of heart in the setback at Nebraska, as it rallied from a 14-point deficit in the first half thanks to a 9-0 spurt and an 8-0 run to take a three-point lead into the break. Additionally, the Miners turned a five-point deficit early in the second half into a seven-point edge, before the Huskers rallied for the triumph.
Offense Does Its JobUTEP's offense looked to be in fine form in the campaign lidlifter at Nebraska. The Miners shared the ball effectively, evidenced by 15 assists, and connected on 47.1 percent of their chances from the floor. They did have some issues with turnovers (16), but the Huskers only scored 14 points off those giveaways.
Rebounding The Difference In The GameWhile UTEP did plenty of things well at Nebraska, one area they came up short in was rebounding. The Huskers out-rebounded the Miners 45-29, which included 16 caroms at the offensive end. The effort allowed Nebraska to out-pace by seven in second-chance points, which was the differential in the final score (81-74).
Hughes Puts Her Name In The Record BooksJareica Hughes' 27-point, nine-assist effort at Nebraska marked just the second time in program history that a player registered at least 25 points and nine assists in the same game. Sharon Jackson is the only other individual to achieve the feat, doing so on Dec. 21, 1983, against Wayland Baptist.
Scores Career High As WellThe 27-point outburst in the season opener at Nebraska established a career high for Jareica Hughes, topping her previous standard of 24 points against Houston on Jan. 7, 2007. It was the 23rd double-figure scoring game of her career.
Lacy Solid In DebutSenior guard Natasha Lacy turned in a fine showing in her debut with the Miners. The transfer from TCU scored 18 points to go along with four rebounds and one steal in 24 minutes of action. She connected on 8-of-14 from the floor, including 1-of-3 from three-point land.
Three Miners Debut OverallIn addition to Natasha Lacy, Sviatlana Trukshanina and Brittnay Jones also made their debut with UTEP at Nebraska on Nov.9. Trukshanina chipped in three points and a steal in 22 minutes of reserve action while Jones played three first-half minutes.
Krezel Does A Little Bit Of EverythingSenior guard Kasia Krezel filled up the stat sheet in plenty of categories in the setback at Nebraska on Nov. 9. Krezel scored 12 points (on 5-of-10 shooting), in addition to six rebounds, three assists and three steals in 32 minutes played.
Porras Provides Instant EnergySenior forward Claudia Porras came off the bench at Nebraska to provide quite a spark for the Orange and Blue, especially in the rebounding department. The native of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, racked up four rebounds, two blocks and two points in only 16 minutes of action.
Williams Does TooSophomore forward Timika Williams also played well at Nebraska. She registered a team-best four offensive rebounds (six overall boards), while scoring five points and blocking a pair of shots.
UTEP Knocks Off Houston Jaguars In Exhibition ContestNatasha Lacy drained two free throws with 1.1 seconds left to lift the UTEP women's basketball team to a 72-70 victory against the Houston Jaguars in an exhibition contest on Nov. 3 at the Don Haskins Center. Lacy had gotten to the line after slicing through traffic and drawing the foul as the clock wound down. After Lacy calmly converted the free throws, Kasia Krezel blocked a desperation three-pointer by the Jaguars' Brandi Jones to preserve the victory for UTEP.
Can We Have An Encore?The 2006-07 women's basketball season was incredibly special for UTEP. The Miners established school records for wins (22), fewest losses (8) and single-game attendance on the way to taking a large step into turning the program into both a conference and regional power. This year's edition of the Orange and Blue has loftier goals, most notably playing into the postseason for the first time in program history.
Don't Expect This Group To RattleThe 2007-08 edition of the UTEP women's basketball team is not one that will fold under pressure, as the Miners return four starters from last's squad in addition to a two seniors and a sophomore who will look to do work off the bench. Additionally, the Miners' recruiting class consisted of players who were winners at the high school level, junior college level and NCAA.
Much More ExperiencedThe Miners' starting lineup in its first game of the year against Nebraska certainly had a lot more experience than it did last year. Of the five players who started last year, three were making their first appearances at the Division I level. This year's initial opening five of Jareica Hughes, Kasia Krezel, Natasha Lacy, Tasha Marisett and Izabela Piekarska combined for 322 games played, including 218 starts heading into the game at Nebraska.
Challenging 2007-08 Slate On Tap For UTEPThe game at Nebraska marked the first of 12 games against teams which competed in some form of postseason play during the 2006-07 campaign.
National Spotlight Awaits The MinersA demanding schedule is not the only thing that awaits the Miners in 2007-08, as they will make a pair of pair of appearances in nationally-televised games. UTEP will battle East Carolina on a Feb. 10 ESPN match-up at 12 p.m. and will challenge SMU on a Feb. 28 CSTV tilt at 6 p.m. Both contests will be held in the venerable Don Haskins Center.
Welcome Home, NatashaEl Paso native Natasha Lacy, who sat out last year after transferring from TCU, is eligible this year and is expected to make a big impact. The senior left TCU as one of the more decorated players in school history. She ranked among school leaders in scoring (11th, 945), rebounding (sixth, 579), assists (first, 456) and steals (second, 223). Moreover, she was the lone player in program history with more than 700 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists.
Hughes Tabbed First Team All-C-USA2006-07 Conference USA freshman and newcomer of the year Jareica Hughes was selected to the All C-USA preseason team media day on Oct. 11. Hughes is coming off a fantastic freshman campaign for UTEP, in which she led the Orange and Blue in assists, free throws made and attempted, points and steals en route to being Moreover, Hughes was selected to the all-conference rookie and defensive squads, to go along with third-team honoree status.
More On The Sensational SophomoreJareica Hughes averaged 4.9 assists a year ago, which ranks as the second-best mark in program history. She also registered 2.8 thefts per game to check in sixth all time in program history. She scored finished with 78 steals, the most by a freshman in program annals, while racking up 137 assists and pouring in 362 points to check in second among freshmen in school history.
Don't Forget TimikaTimika Williams, who won a state championship in high school with Jareica Hughes, also had a fantastic first year in the Sun City. She paced the Miners in rebounds with 209, which is the second-highest total by a freshman and the 10th-best sum overall in program history. Williams also had 276 points (9.2 ppg) to rank fourth all time among freshmen.
Marisett's Motor Is Always RunningThe most colorful player on the team this year is Tasha Marisett, whose high-energy output transfers to plenty of success on the court. The transfer from Panola Junior College had a solid campaign in her first year with the Miners, averaging 8.8 ppg to go along with 5.3 rebounds. She also had a team-high five double-doubles.
Plenty Of New Faces Too6-2 post and junior college transfer Ilda Chambe, 5-6 guard Alyssa Faubion, 5-9 combo guard Brittnay Jones, 6-2 post Stephanie Rosado, 5-11 guard Sviatlana Trukshanina and 5-9 guard Joanna Zalesiak join Natasha Lacy to afford head coach Keitha Adams plenty of newcomers who bring lots to the table. Chambe registered 14 double-doubles while competing at Seward Community College, in addition to 28 double-digit scoring efforts. Faubion had a prolific prep career, scoring more than 1,000 points and notching three all-conference accolades. Jones averaged 20 points, four rebounds and four assists per game and was a two-time all-state honoree while Rosado is a no-nonsense player capable of a double-double at any point. Trukshanina is a pure shooter who can connect from anywhere on the court while Zalesiak is an all-around threat and a strong defender.
Miners Picked Second In Preseason PollThe UTEP women's basketball team has been predicted to finish in second place in Conference USA in the upcoming 2007-08 season according to a vote by the league's 12 head coaches, it was announced on Oct. 10 afternoon by the conference office. It marks the highest placement in a preseason poll for the Miners in program history.