UTEP women’s basketball carries a six-game winning streak in the head-to-head series into a rivalry meeting with NM State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Don Haskins Center.
The Miners (5-1) will be taking on a new-look squad for the Aggies (2-3) led by first-year head coach Jody Adams. Each game last season went the way of the Miners, with UTEP coming out on top 76-61 in El Paso and holding on for an 82-78 victory in an overtime thriller in Las Cruces.
The game on Wednesday will be broadcast on ESPN+. Mando Medina and KVIA sports reporter Rachel Phillips will have the call courtside in the Don Haskins Center. Live stats will be available on the UTEP SIDEARM Stats Portal.
SCOUTING NM STATE
The Aggies have played three straight contests decided by 10 points or less, including an impressive 73-64 overtime win at home against New Mexico on Nov. 15. Taylor Donaldson is the leading scorer for the team with 10.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game but did not play in either game last week. Six players average over 7.5 points per game for NM State, including Fama Thiam with 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest and Soufia Inoussa with 9.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Thiam, Inoussa, Molly Kaiser and Ashlee Strawbridge have started all five games to this point. NM State is 90th in the nation, forcing 19.2 turnovers per game.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. NM STATE
UTEP has played NM State more than any other school in program history, with the Aggies holding a 50-43 edge in the all-time series. As of late, the Miners have dominated head-to-head, besting NM State in six consecutive contests dating back to a 69-65 win for the Aggies on Nov. 17, 2018 in El Paso.
BAKER WINS 200TH GAME
Kevin Baker won the 200th game of his collegiate career between his time at UT Tyler, Angelo State and UTEP last Friday against San Jose State. With the Miners, Baker has compiled 78 wins over the course of his first six seasons on the sideline. Including his time coaching high school basketball, Baker has 422 overall wins as a head coach.
N’YAH MAKING NAME FOR HERSELF
Oklahoma State transfer guard N’Yah Boyd has been a huge addition to the backcourt after missing the first game of the season, averaging 14.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest. She leads the team in points scored and is second in rebounds. Boyd has accumulated four straight performances of double-digit scoring outputs and has grabbed seven or more rebounds three times already from her point guard spot.
FINAL HOME GAME FOR A MONTH
From Nov. 20-Dec. 28, a stretch of 38 days, UTEP will play just one home game in the Don Haskins Center. That lone game will be the date on Wednesday with NM State. The Dec. 29 conference meeting with UAB is the solo home game for the Miners in the month of December.
DIALING UP DEFENSE
UTEP has held all six opponents this season to fewer than 70 points. Three of those foes have been limited to less than 60 points.
The Miners split a pair of games last week in California at the Holiday Beach Classic, topping San Jose State 67-54 on Friday and dropping a 63-50 contest to Sacramento State on Saturday. UTEP scored the final 16 points of the game on the way to knocking off the Spartans. After trailing 52-46 early in the fourth quarter, the Miners put down the clamps on San Jose State, capping the contest on a 21-2 run and keeping the Spartans off the board for the final 7:03 of game action. San Jose State missed its final 12 shots of the game. Facing off with a talented Sacramento State team on Saturday, the Miners hung tough throughout before the Hornets pulled away late, outscoring UTEP 20-12 in the fourth quarter. N’Yah Boyd had a team-high 18 points in the loss.
SABINE STEPS UP
Guard Sabine Lipe had one of her better efforts of the season in the loss last Saturday against Sacramento State, playing 26 minutes and contributing nine points with a rebound, an assist and a steal.
WHEN SCORING 70
UTEP is 50-6 when scoring 70 or more points with Kevin Baker as the head coach. This season, UTEP is 3-0 in such games.
MINERS IN THE DON
UTEP has recorded three consecutive winning seasons at home, including a 10-4 mark last season. Including this season, the Miners are 35-12 inside the Don Haskins Center since the beginning of the 2019-20 campaign.
NON-CONFERENCE AT HOME
In addition to the overall success, the Miners have won 10 consecutive non-conference home games in the Don Haskins Center dating back to a 58-51 loss to Tulsa on Dec. 29, 2019.
REFLECTING ON 5-0 START
The 5-0 beginning to the season marked the seventh time in program history that the UTEP women’s basketball team had accomplished the feat.
HOT START DESPITE INJURIES
Over the course of the 5-1 start to the season, UTEP has had only six players play in all six games. The Miners are inching closer to full strength as the weeks go on, adding Elina Arike back to the fold last weekend and welcoming Adela Valkova to the floor for the first time in her Miner career as well on Friday.
UTEP is 10th in the country with 18.3 made free throws per game entering Monday. The Miners have attempted 25.3 per game, ranking 13th in that category. N’Yah Boyd has earned the most opportunities at the charity stripe, getting to the line 28 times.
FUTURE CONFERENCE FOES
NM State and UTEP will both be members of C-USA for the 2023-24 season, as the Aggies are one of four new members joining ahead of the upcoming campaign. Also entering the league will be Liberty, Sam Houston and Jacksonville State.
The month of November has been kind to the UTEP women’s basketball program since Kevin Baker took over prior to the 2017-18 campaign. Since then, the Miners are 24-8 overall, including an 18-3 mark over the past four seasons. This season, UTEP is 5-1 with just one game remaining in the month.
TAC IN TOP-10
Forward Adhel Tac is eighth in C-USA, averaging 6.5 rebounds per game. She has started each of the last five contests and is also averaging 6.2 points per game.
JACKSON LEADS C-USA IN STEALS
Guard Jazion Jackson leads C-USA with 18 steals on the season and is also atop the league leaderboard averaging 3.0 per contest.
UTEP has rolled out the starting lineup of Jazion Jackson, N’Yah Boyd, Soleil Montrose, Avery Crouse and Adhel Tac in four straight games.
MINERS IN NON-CONFERENCE PLAY
UTEP has been tough to beat in non-conference action over the last three-plus seasons, posting a 23-9 mark dating back to the start of the 2019-20 campaign, with above .500 marks in each of those seasons in out of league play.
UTEP starts a three-game road trip by traveling to Air Force on Sunday for a 1 p.m. tip. In a double-overtime game last season, the Miners knocked off the Falcons by a 93-85 tally.
UTEP women’s basketball will have multiple promotions for home games this season, including Miner Kids Club Day (Jan. 7), Military Appreciation Day (Jan. 14), TWC Night (Jan. 16), 915 Day (Jan. 28), National Girls and Women in Sports Day (Feb. 2), Noche Latina (Feb. 4), Pink Game (Feb. 11), Black History Month (Feb. 23) and Senior Day/Fan Appreciation Day (Feb. 25). Full information along with opponents and game times is available on UTEPMiners.com.
HOME TICKET INFO
Tickets start at $8 for regular season games while groups of 10 can purchase tickets for $5 a piece. Fans can buy single-game tickets and season tickets (starting as low as $65) for the new campaign at the Eisenberg Family Ticket Office by calling (915) 747-UTEP, visiting UTEPMiners.com/tickets, by emailing [email protected], or by stopping by in person at 500 W. University Ave., 79968 (Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).