Regular-season Conference USA champion UTEP (29-4) will square off with the Pac 12 automatic qualifier Oregon (23-10) in the quarterfinals of the WNIT at 7:05 p.m. tonight.
The victor will face either Western Kentucky or South Dakota in the semifinals on either March 30 or 31 at a site to be determined.
UTEP is making its second appearance in the WNIT in program history (3-0 2016, 5-1 2014, runner-up) and fourth overall foray into postseason basketball (NCAA second round, 2008 and first round, 2012.)
The Miners are 9-3 all time in postseason tournament action, including 8-1 in the WNIT. All nine WNIT games have been played in the Don Haskins Center, with the Miners drawing at least 4,500 fans in each tilt. The Miners are 19-0 on the year in El Paso, marking the longest home winning streak in school history (prior best 14 straight in ‘07-08). They boast a +14.2 scoring margin (75.6-61.5) in those games.
Oregon is 5-5 on the year on the road. It is the first road tilt in the WNIT in nine years for the Ducks.
While UTEP is 10-38 all time vs. teams from a power five conference (at point of the game), the Miners stand 7-4 in the situation since the 2012-13 season. This will second straight such match-up, with UTEP having downed TCU, 79-71, on March 24. For the third time this postseason and 16th overall in program history, both teams enter the game with 20+ wins.
The Miners are 11-5 all time in such tilts, including 7-3 in postseason play (2-0 this year).
UTEP was 16-2 in conference play to equal the school and league record for C-USA victories. This year’s team shares the honors with the 2008 Miners (16-0), Houston (16-0, 2011) and Western Kentucky (16-2, 2015). It marked the third regular-season championship in school history (2008, 2012 and 2016).
The Miners have received votes in the Associated Press top-25 poll for a school-record 14 straight weeks. UTEP picked up votes in the USA TODAY Sports women’s basketball coaches top-25 poll for six consecutive weeks, including being ranked #25 the week of March 1-6, before not receiving any votes on March 14.
This is the fourth 20+ win season in five years and sixth overall in program history (all under Keitha Adams). A win against the Ducks would allow the Miners to set the school single-season standard. The C-USA record for single-season victories is 30 (WKU, 30-5, ‘2014-15)
Tickets are $10 (general admission) and $4 (UTEP students), and went on sale 9 a.m. MT March 25 at the University Ticket Center. Fans may also visit TicketMaster.com or call (915) 747-5234 to purchase tickets.
Steve Kaplowitz and Traci Miller will have the call on 600 ESPN El Paso, KROD-AM Radio. There will be a live stream on UTEPAthletics (subscription based). Fans may also follow @UTEPWBB on Twitter.