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Tamara Seda | Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics /Michael P. Reese

H-P Sports In Depth: Miners Continue Homestand vs Rice Saturday

UTEP (6-19 3-10 C-USA) will play the second of the scheduled four-game homestand -its longest in 11 years– when Rice visits the Don Haskins Center for a 2 p.m. match-up Saturday.

After playing four straight road games, UTEP is in the midst of four in-a-row at home. The ‘05-06 season-their first in Conference USA- was the last time the Miners did that. Rice has won three straight and four of the past five games, including a 66-61 victory at UTSA (2/16).

The Miners have lost a season-high five straight games, including a 76-69 setback vs. North Texas (2/16). UTEP is 5-7 at home (2-4 C-USA). Rice is 8-4 on the road (3-4 C-USA).  The Miners have a +2.3 scoring margin (70.4-68.2) and a +6.0 rebounding margin (44.1-38.1) in their 12 home games (5-7) this year.

This is the only scheduled meeting on the year between the Miners and Owls.

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for kids, but all military members will get $2 tickets as part of the “Hoops and Troops” promotion.

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 Owls (@RiceWBasketball) on Twitter.

 INSIDE THE SERIES

–  Rice leads series, 26-16, but that margin is only 9-7 when playing in El Paso.

–  The Miners are 13-7 against Rice since the start of the 2006-07 season, aided by a 60-54 road win last year to start Conference USA play and ring in 2016.

–  UTEP is 15-16 against the Owls under head coach Keitha Adams; it was 1-10 vs. Rice prior to her tenure.

GETTING TO KNOW RICE Overall: 15-9     Home: 8-4   Road: 7-5    Neutral: 0-0 | C-USA: 6-7  Home: 3-4   Road: 3-3

–  Rice returned four starters and eight letter winners from last year’s team (9-22, 7-11 C-USA).

–  After a 2-2 start to the season, Rice reeled off seven straight wins to cap non-league play at 9-2.

–  The Owls dropped four straight to start league play and six of the first eight. They have recovered to go 4-1 since that point, including winning three consecutive victories.

–  Rice is first in C-USA in scoring defense (58.8), second in scoring margin (+7.8), field-goal percentage defense (37.9) and assists/game (15.9), third in 3-point field-goal defense (29.6), fourth in 3-point field-goal percentage (34.6), sixth in rebound margin (+2.1), turnovers forced/game (16.7) and seventh in field-goal percentage (43.5) and turnovers/game (17.1).

–  Rice has top-100 NCAA rankings for assists/game (44th), field-goal percentage (53rd), scoring defense (58th), scoring margin (82nd), 3-point field-goal defense (88th) and field-goal percentage defense (89th).

–  Among C-USA players Shani Rainey is fourth in field-goal percentage (54.4) and 21st in scoring (11.9),

–  Jasmine Goodwine ranks 22nd in scoring (11.8).

–  Maya Hawkins is third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0), fifth in assists/game (5.1) and 14th in 3-point field goals/game (1.7).

–  Notable Rice alumni are Lance Berkman (former MLB All-Star), Thomas Cruikshank (former chairman & CEO of Haliburton), Howard Hughes (once richest man in the world) & Peggy Whitson (U.S. Astronaut).

LAST MEETING WITH RICE: UTEP 60, at Rice 54 (1/1/16)

–  Starr Breedlove (15 points), Jenzel Nash (12 points) and Sparkle Taylor (10 points) all reached double figures in scoring, and UTEP defended with a vigor in dispatching Rice, 60-54, on the road in the Conference USA opener for both squads on Jan. 1.

–  For just the second time this year, UTEP trailed (37-36) entering the fourth quarter. It stormed back down the stretch to pick up the win. The Miners opened up the final quarter on a 13-7 run on the way to outscoring the home side, 24-17, over the final 10 minutes.

– It was a defensive-minded contest, with both the Miners (21-60, 35.0%, 17 turnovers) and Owls (17-52, 32.7%, 17 turnovers) making offensive execution difficult with their pressure.

–  But UTEP found some separation through its effort on the glass (44-35), in addition to holding a 16-6 advantage in points off turnovers and an 18-9 cushion for second-chance points.

–  Agata Dobrowolska paced the squad with seven rebounds. She was particularly effective on the offensive end with four, including three in the final 2:07 of the game that led to five second-chance points.

–  Breedlove also got after it on defense with a career-high tying five steals.

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