File: UTEP’s #12 Sparkle Taylor
UTEP (4-10, 1-1 C-USA) will take aim at its second win in three days when it plays host to Southern Miss (9-5, 1-1) at 2 p.m. MST Saturday.
The Miners won for the second time in three games by knocking off LA Tech, 69-62, on Jan. 5. The Lady Eagles are also coming off a victory, having knocked off UTSA, 69-68, on the road on Jan. 5. The contest will conclude the Miners’ first three-game homestand to start league play since 2009.
Saturday’s match-up features the only two head coaches in C-USA to have at least 400 collegiate wins; UTEP’s Keitha Adams is 407-233 (280-196 at UTEP) while USM’s Joye-Lee McNelis stands 430-345 (201-188 at USM).
Adams and the Miners are taking aim at a start of at least 2-1 in league play for the seventh straight year and 11th total in the 16th year of Adam’s tenure at UTEP.
Tim Hagerty (play-by-play) and Traci Miller (color commentary) will have the call on 600 ESPN El Paso, KROD-AM Radio. There will be a live stream on UTEPAthletics (subscription based). Fans can also stay up-to-date by following the Miners (@UTEPWBB) or Lady Eagles (@SouthernMissWBB) on Twitter.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids but as part of “Superhero Saturday” first responders, medical professionals, law enforcement get $2 admission (with ID).
INSIDE THE SERIES
– UTEP leads the series 11-5, including a 6-2 advantage when playing in El Paso.
– Last year the Miners swept the series (W, 72-64, 1/28/16-home; W, 57-54, 2/18/16-road).
– USM had won its prior to visits to the Sun City before UTEP restored order last season.
LAST MEETING WITH LA Tech (UTEP 57, at Southern Miss 54, 2/18/16)
– Cameasha Turner poured in 20 points and Starr Breedlove added 12 points to go along with five steals to help the UTEP women’s basketball team emerge with a 57-54 victory at Southern Miss on Feb. 18.
– It was the first home setback of the season (11-1) for the Lady Eagles with the Miners improving to 7-2 on the road, including 6-1 in league action
– The Miners bolted out to 18-7 lead after the first quarter. The margin was 10 (29-19) at halftime and swelled to as many as 18 (41-23) with3:33 to play in the third quarter. It remained double digits (53-43) with 3:32 to play in the game before a 9-0 run by the Lady Eagles.
– UTEP halted the run with free throws by Breedlove and Turner (split pair) before electing to foul USM to prevent a potential three pointer. USM hit both free throws to get within one and fouled Lulu McKinney with four seconds. The sophomore calmly sunk each and Breedlove sealed the win with a steal.
– Both the Miners (21-59, 35.6 percent and 21 turnovers) and Lady Eagles (18-50, 36.0 percent and 25 turnovers) ran into issues offensively. Rebounding (43-37) went in favor of UTEP, which helped it survive an off shooting night (10-22, 45.5 percent) at the charity stripe.
GETTING TO KNOW THE 2016-17 MINERS
– Eight of the 12 active student-athletes on the Miners’ roster are in their first year of playing games at the division I level. There are six true freshmen (Faith Cook, Jakeira Ford, Roeshonda Patterson, Zuzanna Puc, Rachel Tapps and Katarina Zec), one redshirt-freshman (Jessica Barbosa- practiced with team last year) and one junior-college transfer (Axelle Bernard).
– There are four active returnees (senior Sparkle Taylor, juniors Lulu McKinney and Tamara Seda and sophomore Najala Howell). SeniorJenzel Nash, the lone returning starter from last year’s team, hasn’t played. She is currently suspended indefinitely due to a violation of team rules.
– UTEP has more newcomers (seven) than returnees (five) on the roster for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign when it also had that ratio. That year was also the last time UTEP seven freshmen.
– The Miners lost nine letter winners, including four starters from last year’s team (29-5, 16-2 C-USA regular-season champion, advanced to quarterfinals of the WNIT).
– UTEP has a veteran coaching staff that has great chemistry from working together at the school; it is in form of head coach Keitha Adams(16th year), associate head coach Ewa Laskowska (16th year) and assistant coaches Bill Damuth (seventh year) and Kelli Willingham Bagley (second year).