There will be free admission for the UTEP women’s basketball team’s exhibition contest against St. Mary’s (Texas) at 7:05 p.m. MDT at the Don Haskins Center Friday. There will also be a postgame autograph session for the fans to connect with the Miners.
This is the ninth straight year that UTEP and the Rattlers will be locking up in the postseason. The well-coached and disciplined Division II foe was picked to finish fourth in the Southland Conference preseason poll. Last year St. Mary’s rolled to an 18-10 overall record, including 8-5 on the road.
UTEP returns one starter (2016 All C-USA first team honoree Jenzel Nash) and five letter winners (Najala Howell, Lulu McKinney, Nash, Tamara Seda and Sparkle Taylor) from last year’s team (29-5, 16-2 C-USA, advanced to WNIT quarterfinals). The Miners also have redshirt-freshman Jessica Barbosa back in the fold while eight newcomers (Axelle Bernard, Faith Cook, Jakeira Ford, Chanel Khammarath, Roeshonda Patterson, Zuzanna Puc, Rachel Tapps and Katarina Zec) round out the roster.
While there will be plenty of new faces on the court, UTEP continues to have incredible continuity on the coaching staff. Keitha Adams, the only three-time C-USA Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year in league history, embarks on her 16th season in the Sun City and 21st overall as a collegiate head coach. She will be joined by associate head coach Ewa Laskowska (16th year at UTEP), assistant coach Bill Damuth (seventh year at UTEP) and assistant coach and former Miner point guard Kelli Willingham Bagley (second year at UTEP).
Friday’s game is the only tune-up for the 2016-17 season for the Miners. UTEP will officially tip off its 43rd season as a program when it plays host to Northern Arizona at 7:05 p.m. MST Nov. 11. That game will be the first of three straight at home for the Miners, who will also face Texas Southern (2 p.m. MST, Nov. 13) and Western New Mexico (7:05 p.m., MST, Nov. 17).
Season tickets remain on sale and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-6150.