UTEP women’s basketball starts a two-game road swing at FIU on Thursday at 5 p.m. MT/7 p.m. ET.
Via UTEP Athletics
The Miners (12-4, 5-2 C-USA) are currently tied with WKU for second in the conference standings, while the Panthers (8-8, 3-4 C-USA) are in a logjam of five teams tied for fifth.
The trip to Florida this week marks the final two road games of the month for UTEP, which is home for three straight games starting on Jan. 28 vs. North Texas.
Picked 10th in the C-USA Preseason Coaches’ Poll, FIU looked primed to exceed expectations this season after a 3-1 start to league action that featured wins over North Texas, Charlotte and UAB. The Panthers have dropped their last three contests though, including a 71-45 blowout defeat at the hands of North Texas on Monday. Despite coming off the bench in 11 of 16 games that she has played in this year, Kaliah Henderson leads the way with 13.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Henderson has started in each of the last two league affairs, dropping 24 points and nine rebounds on WKU and 10 points and eight rebounds on North Texas. Sifa Joyeuse also averages double figures with 12.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Tanajah Hayes is a talented guard who contributes 8.3 points, 3.6 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2.6 steals on average. Statistically, FIU is one of the better rebounding teams in the nation, grabbing 16.9 offensive boards per game to rank eighth and 42.3 total which is 29th. Each total leads C-USA. The team is also opportunistic, forcing 20.6 turnovers and 11.1 steals per game.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. FIU
The head-to-head series has been dominated by the Miners, who had taken seven straight prior to a loss last season in Miami. Overall, UTEP leads 11-3 all-time against the Panthers. The Miners have won four of the last five meetings in the Ocean Bank Convocation Center.
TAC COMING OFF CAREER GAME
Forward Adhel Tac tied for the team lead with a career-high 17 points on an 8-of-15 day from the floor against Charlotte. Tac also had six rebounds, a career-high three steals and a block. Tac is averaging 7.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game this season.
HANGING THEIR HATS ON THE OFFENSIVE BOARDS
For the second straight game, the Miners posted an impressive effort on the offensive glass on Monday in the win over Charlotte. Against the 49ers, the UTEP brought down a season-high 22 offensive rebounds, led by the seven of Elina Arike. Prior to the Charlotte game, UTEP grabbed 21 offensive rebounds against Rice last Saturday. Entering the last two games, UTEP had only hauled down 21 or more offensive rebounds one other time in the last three seasons, bringing down 23 on Dec. 30, 2021 at home against UAB. On average this season, UTEP averages 13.7 offensive rebounds per game, ranking 56th nationally and second in C-USA.
WINNING ON THE ROAD
With a 4-2 mark in true road games this season, UTEP is one of four teams in C-USA with winning records away from home, joining Middle Tennessee (6-1), LA Tech (3-2) and Rice (5-2).
Guard N’Yah Boyd has accumulated seven games in a row with double-digit scoring outputs, including tying for a team high with 17 points on Monday vs. Charlotte. For the season, Boyd has eclipsed 10 or more points 12 times.
SPEAKING OF BOYD
One area that has helped N’Yah Boyd to lead the Miners with 12.7 points per game this season is her knack for getting to the free throw line. Boyd leads UTEP with 80 free throws attempted. In the win over Charlotte, she set career highs with nine makes and 15 attempts.
NINE REBOUNDS FOUR TIMES
Jazion Jackson has equaled her career high with nine boards four separate times already this season after grabbing nine once again in the MLK Day win over Charlotte. Over the last eight games, Jackson has had five or more rebounds each time as she continues to increase her average, which now stands at 5.9 per game, ranking second on the team and 10th in C-USA from her guard position.
ONE OF THE STEALS LEADERS
Jazion Jackson is tied for third in C-USA this season with 34 steals, averaging 2.1 per game. She is part of a UTEP backcourt that has regularly created difficulties for opposing guards this season.
KNOW THE NAME
Adhel Tac has had her best college season to date this year, posting five double-figure scoring games, three contests with 10 or more rebounds and two double-doubles. Tac has taken full advantage of her opportunities, increasing her averages from 1.4 points and 1.3 rebounds in seven minutes per game last season to 7.9 points and 6.4 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game this time around. Tac was a three-star prospect coming out of high school where she originally went to TCU.
TAC FIFTH IN CONFERENCE
The 6.4 rebounds per game for Adhel Tac ranks fifth in C-USA.
SABINE SHOOTING IT
Sabine Lipe has made at least one triple in five of the last six games off the bench.
WHEN PLAYING AT THE FLORIDA SCHOOLS
UTEP is 8-5 overall in games played at FIU and Florida Atlantic. The Miners are 5-2 at FIU and 3-3 at Florida Atlantic.
NO REBOUNDS FOR YOU
UTEP has allowed opponents to only grab 29.6 rebounds per game since the beginning of C-USA play, the lowest mark in the conference over that stretch by 4.0 per game. UTSA is second at 33.6 per game.
ARIKE APPROACHING MILESTONES
In her third season in El Paso, Elina Arike has scored 455 points and grabbed 289 rebounds in 63 games with 59 starts.
CROUSE CAREER NUMBERS
Four-year starter Avery Crouse has scored 803 points with 364 rebounds, 173 assists and 102 steals in 98 games with 97 starts as a Miner.
NOTHING NEW WITH THE STARTERS
The starting lineup of N’Yah Boyd, Jazion Jackson, Avery Crouse, Adhel Tac and Elina Arike has taken the floor to begin nine straight games.
STAPLES OF CONSISTENCY
Jazion Jackson and Avery Crouse are the lone two Miners who have started all 16 games this season. N’Yah Boyd and Adhel Tac have each started 15.
STILL LIMITING TURNOVERS
With just 13.9 turnovers per game this season, the Miners are keeping possession of the basketball at one of the best clips in program history. The only UTEP team to average less turnovers per contest was the 2008-09 team at an average of 13.0 per game.
FREE THROW UPDATE
UTEP averages 15.9 free throws made per game, ranking 19th nationally and third in C-USA. The Miners are averaging 22.8 attempts per game, ranking 14th nationally and second in the conference.
CROUSE NEARING 100 GAMES STARTED
Avery Crouse has started 97 games in her career as a Miner, ranking in a tie for eighth in program history. Kelli Willingham has the all-time record with 117 starts from 2010-14. Only seven players have started over 100 games during their time with UTEP women’s basketball.
AVERY WITH RANGE
In her collegiate career, Avery Crouse has made 82 triples, ranking her 15th in UTEP program history. This season, she has connected on 21 from downtown as she looks to eclipse her season best of 23 set in 2019-20 and 2021-22.
UTEP remains in Florida for a game on Saturday at noon MT/2 p.m. ET at Florida Atlantic.
FLO HYMAN AWARD NOMINATIONS
Do you know a female student who goes above and beyond on and off the field of play? Nominate them today for the Flo Hyman Award to be recognized as part of the National Girls & Women in Sports Day celebration on Feb. 4 as the Miners host WKU. Nominations are open until Jan. 19.
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