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Home | Tag Archives: miners (page 101)

Tag Archives: miners

Video+Story: Miners End Costa Rica Road Trip With Victory Over UBC 78-73

SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA – The UTEP men’s basketball team wrapped up a productive three-game stint in Costa Rica with a 78-73 triumph over the University of British Columbia on Friday morning.

The Miners had a big second quarter, outscoring UBC 16-4 to instate a 39-27 halftime lead.  They led by as many as 15 points (68-53) in the second half, shooting 47.6 percent (30-for-63) from the field on the day.  A 12-0 run to start the second period enabled the Miners to pull away from a 23-23 deadlock at the end of the first quarter.

UTEP played three games in San Jose, dropping a pair of tight decisions to another Canadian team, McGill University (56-54 and 86-82) on Wednesday and Thursday.  Earlier this month, McGill took SMU to overtime and beat Kent State, a 22-game winner and NCAA Tournament participant in 2016-17.

In the end the trip to Costa Rica wasn’t about wins and losses, it was about building team chemistry while affording coach Tim Floyd and his staff the opportunity to experiment with numerous lineup combinations.

“It’s about trying to get some of our younger guys minutes and putting them in situations that they haven’t been in,” Floyd said.  “There were times that we played three big guys, times that we played three point guards, times that we moved Isiah Osborne from small forward to the point, just because we know that throughout the course of the season we’re going to be in those situations.”

The statistics show that 12 of the 13 Miners who made the trip saw action over the last three days.  Freshman guard Evan Gilyard was with the team but didn’t play while nursing a shoulder injury.

Sophomore guard Isiah Osborne led the team in minutes (94, 31.3 avg.), while seven Miners were on the floor for 50 minutes or more.  Osborne and freshman guard Trey Wade paced the squad with 11.3 points per game, while sophomore center Kelvin Jones averaged 10.3 ppg, senior center Matt Willms 9.0 ppg, senior guard Omega Harris 8.3 ppg and junior forward Paul Thomas 8.3 ppg.

Osborne was the leading rebounder with 6.0 per game, while Wade posted a double-double against UBC with 16 points and 11 boards.

The trip wasn’t just about basketball.  The Miners toured San Jose, visited a local orphanage, sampled the local culture and food, and have more activities planned on Saturday before returning to El Paso on Sunday morning.

The team will take a break from mandatory activities until early October when practice officially resumes for the 2017-18 season.  UTEP already has a major head start on the upcoming campaign with three games and 16 practices under its belt.

“I thought it was a good week,” Floyd said.  “We know that we’ve got a lot of work to do in October, but every team does.  I like the fact that our guys were able to bond and get together.  We didn’t play Matt Willms any minutes.  We tried to play Kelvin Jones a lot of minutes. We didn’t play Paul Thomas and Omega Harris today because it wasn’t about any of those things, and it hasn’t been for the last three days.  This is going to be a good basketball team before the season is over, and I think this experience is really going to help us.”

Adios, Miners! UTEP Hoopsters Headed to Costa Rica Tuesday

The UTEP men’s basketball team will embark on its first foreign tour in 12 years on Tuesday.

The Miners will spend four full days in Costa Rica, where they will play three games versus Canadian teams while sampling the culture and landscape of the beautiful Central American country.

“Ideally what we’d like out of this trip is for everybody to get a lot of minutes,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “We’ve got three ballgames.  We’d like for our players to play in different situations, different roles.  We might have big lineups out there with big guards.  We might have three small guards out there at one time, and two bigs at one time.  We’re hoping for some kind of carryover from what we’ve worked on in practice.  We’d like to come out of this injury-free and we’d like to come out of it a more experienced team.”

The Miners will depart for Dallas on Tuesday morning, and arrive in San Jose at 6 p.m. local time.  They have games scheduled versus McGill University on Wednesday (7 p.m.) and Thursday (5 p.m.), and the University of British Columbia on Friday (11:30 a.m.).  The team will arrive in El Paso mid-afternoon on Sunday after enjoying an off-day Saturday.

The Miners’ visit will include a tour of San Jose on Wednesday, a visit to the Holy Spirit orphanage on Thursday, a walk across a crocodile bridge on Friday and a Zip Line experience on Saturday.

From a basketball standpoint, the Miners will take on a McGill University team out of Montreal that has already played four games versus Division I opponents this month.  The Redmen lost to Alabama (96-57), SMU (86-83 in overtime) and Towson (84-53) in Montreal and beat Kent State (85-79) on Monday afternoon in Costa Rica.

The starting lineup for the first game against McGill University, based on a fan vote, will feature three freshmen – forward Tirus Smith and guards Evan Gilyard and Trey Wade, who will joined by senior forward Jake Flaggert and senior center Matt Willms.

NCAA teams are permitted to take foreign tours once every four years.  The 2005-06 Miners went to Madrid and the Canary Islands and also played three games versus Telde, UD Vecindario and Gran Canaria.

First UTEP Football Scrimmage Features Balance on Both Sides of Ball

A day after the UTEP football team went full pads, the Miners played their first scrimmage on Sunday in which big plays were made on both sides of the ball.

Sophomore running back Kevin Dove opened the scrimmage with a 75-yard touchdown rush. Dove broke multiple tackles on his way to pay dirt to get the offense fired up. Twelve plays later senior signal caller Zack Greenlee found junior wide receiver Warren Redix for an 80-yard score.

But the UTEP defense, under second-year defensive coordinator Tom Mason, made adjustments and made plays of its own. Junior transfer defensive back Khalil Rashaad-Brown picked off a pass for the first forced turnover and junior corner Nik Needham also intercepted a pass in the red zone for the second forced turnover.

Clip courtesy UTEP Athletics

Back to the offensive side of the ball, UTEP’s new pass catchers made impacts as junior transfer wide receiver Alan Busey made a 33-yard grab from junior quarterback Ryan Metz and sophomore transfer tight end Josh Weeks tallied a pair of grabs for 29 yards, including a long of 25 yards from Metz.

UTEP’s other transfer tight end junior David Lucero tallied a seven-yard reception and junior transfer wide receiver Keynan Foster recorded a six-yard reception.

During the ‘gotta-have-it’ segment, where the offense takes the ball at midfield on a 4th-and-four scenario, Terry Juniel took a Metz pass to the end zone for a 50-yard score. The Miners didn’t convert the first fourth-down attempt.

The UTEP defense registered four sacks; one each by sophomore Denzel Chukwukelu, senior Alvin Jones, senior Lawrence Montegut and junior transfer Jamar Smith.

As far as leading tacklers, freshman Dedrick Simpson, senior Devin Cockrell and Jamar Smith each recorded a trio of stops.

Redix led the way with 88 yards on two receptions to lead the receivers, Dove led the running backs with 76 yards on five carries and Metz led the quarterbacks with 108 yards on 7-of-12 passing and an interception.

Greenlee threw for 86 yards on 2-of-3 passing and a score, and redshirt freshman Mark Torrez threw the other interception.

The Miners will continue with camp on Tuesday and will play the second and final scrimmage of camp on Sunday, Aug. 20 at approximately at 8:45 a.m. MT. The team will head back to the Sun City following the scrimmage

 

Story in Many Pics: Miner Basketball Orange & White Scrimmage

It was a chance for the 2017-18 UTEP Miners to stretch their legs, show their skills and have some fun with fans Saturday night at the Don Haskins Center.

The Miners put on a show for the UTEP faithful, running a scrimmage, a slam dunk contest and autograph session.  Our very own Andres Acosta was there, and while he didn’t show off his patented Windmill Dunk, he did take his gear and brings you his view of the fun in today’s Story in Many Pics.

UTEP Men’s Basketball Orange vs White Scrimmage, Don Haskins Center August 12, 2017

Ice Miners Open 2017-18 Season on the Road Against Texas A&M

The Miners Hockey Club has announced they will open the 2017-18 season on the road against Texas A&M on September 29, 2017 at the Spirit Ice Arena. This matchup kicks off conference play for the new season.

The Miners and Aggies opened up their season last year in College Station. The first game saw the two teams trade goals back and forth and ended up going into overtime. Neither team scored in OT, however the Miners were able to win the game 7-6 in a shootout.

The following night, the Miners and Aggies were back at it. Again both teams didn’t have issues scoring early. However, the Aggies outscored the Miners to win 5-3.

Opening up the second half of the season, the Miners and Aggies faced off in El Paso. The first game once again saw the Miners come out strong. They took the first game 6-3. However, they couldn’t get the home sweep against the Aggies. The Aggies would win 2-1.

“We are starting our conference play against one of the strongest teams. It’s no secret A&M has had a strong club for several years. Although we have only played them a handful of times, the games are always exciting and something our team looks forward too.” commented Coach Herman.

Last season, the Miners finished 1st in the South Division and the Aggies were a close 2nd. During the TCHC tournament, the teams were in opposite brackets for a potential matchup for the championship. However, the Aggies were upset by UT in overtime the opening game.

The Miners went on to win the TCHC Championship by defeating the DBU Patriots by a score of 6-0.

Both teams will look to build on their success from last season as the TCHC enters it’s second year.

Author: UTEP Miner Hockey

With Final Game, Miner Softball Seniors Lift UTEP over Florida Atlantic 6-4

UTEP softball head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk took her Senior Day lineup card and worked some magic as UTEP (12-36, 6-18 Conference USA) spoiled Florida Atlantic’s (35-20, 15-9 C-USA) bid for the no. 3 spot in the C-USA Tournament.

The Miners used three runs in the third that started with a Taylor Grohmann single to defeat the Owls, 6-4, in their final contest of 2017 on Senior Day at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

“The season hasn’t gone the way we wanted, but [the Miners] came out and they fought,” Echo-Hawk said. “That’s how we’ve been all year, we just keep fighting. It may not be pretty, it may not go the way we wanted it to but the team never quit. They just kept battling – even yesterday they were scrappy. Today they committed to each other, said they were going to show up and play with everything they have. As a whole, our entire team played a great game. And everyone contributed.”

One the of magical moves was when Grohmann, a senior pitcher, was inserted as pinch hitter in the no. 2 spot for junior Courtney Clayton in the third inning. Grohmann’s first career at-bat produced a single on a 2-1 pitch to left with junior Kaitlin Ryder on and two outs.

“It was nice because [Grohmann’s] mom last night asked me if I can give her an at bat and I said ‘absolutely’, this day is about [the seniors] and that’s the most important thing,” Echo-Hawk said. “She got up there and singled. We worked on some things this past week and, man, when she hit it, it was so exciting. You couldn’t ask for a better moment.”

Continuing the third frame, sophomore Cortney Smith reached after being hit by a pitch to load bases for Kiki Pepi who connected on a two-run single to right that plated Ryder and Grohmann to give the Miners a 2-0 lead. Smith would eventually cross the dish in the frame on an error to put her squad up, 3-0.

Pepi then used her third RBI of the game to put the Miners up 4-1 on a single to right that scored Clayton. In the sixth, sophomore Brianna Red led off with a bunt single, senior Miranda Gutierrez and Ryder each drew walks that set up a Clayton sacrifice fly to center to plate Red. Pepi then gave the Orange and Blue a 6-1 lead another sac-fly to center that scored Gutierrez.

The Owls, however, would not go down easily as they scratched out three runs in the seventh with two outs, but senior hurler Kaitlin Fifield would not let her team come out on the losing end. Fifield earned her third save of the season after throwing 2.2 frames and it was only fitting that Delaney Rickey grounded out to the pitcher to end the Senior Day contest. Fifield ended her career with five saves to rank no. 2 on UTEP’s all-time list.

Grohmann (2-2), whose bat was lit, earned the win after throwing an inning and tallying a strikeout. Senior Erika Harrawood made the start, her staff-leading 17th of the season. Harrawood pitched 3.1 innings, striking out three and walking none.

“It feels great to see our senior pitchers end their careers the way they did,” Echo-Hawk said. “It was a perfect ending for Grohmann to get her last career strikeout. For them to come out and pitch some of their best innings was just a great thing. I think it just shows they have a lot of heart and play for the love of the game.”

Back to the offense, the Miners registered seven big hits on the day, led by Pepi’s 3-for-3 outing. She also finished with four RBI to rank no. 7 with 103-career RBI on the program’s all-time list. Pepi, who was stuck at 99 RBI for the past few weeks, finally broke into the 100-RBI club; the seventh Miner to accomplish the feat. She also finished as the team leader in 2017 with 36 RBI.

“[Kiki] had a great weekend,” Echo-Hawk said. “We worked a little bit on scoring runners this week in practice and changing our mentality. She executed that plan and looked for the pitches we asked her to. To end her career on a RBI was pretty awesome.”

Clayton recorded her seventh double of the season in the fifth, while it was her 38th-career double to rank tied no. 4 with Stacie Townsend. Clayton will enter her senior campaign with 180 hits (ranked fifth) and 101 runs (ranked sixth). Clayton’s .349-career batting average is ranked fourth.

Ryder didn’t have a hit on the day, but did draw a pair of walks and scored run. She hit .455 this weekend and will enter her senior season ranked sixth with a .329-career average. Taylor Sargent finished her junior season with a career highs in RBI (19) and batting (.326), while leading the squad with three triples, also a career best. Sargent will enter her senior year with 650 putouts, ranking fifth on the school’s all-time list.

Smith singled and finished as the team leader in batting with a .364 average. Sophomore Lindsey Sokoloski only struck out once in 136 at bats as one of the national leaders in toughest to strikeout in 2017. She finished her second season with a .316 average. Sokoloski hit .625 (5-8) against FAU to lead the team.

“It’s always nice to know your team is going to play for these seniors to make sure they go out on a good note. It’s also good for our team for next year to end on a positive note,” Echo-Hawk said. “They showed what they’re capable of and moving into next year, we can ride that a bit.”

Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics
Photo courtesy UTEP Athletics

Miners’ Bats Come Alive, Fight in Both Contests

The UTEP softball team recorded 23 total hits as senior Miranda Gutierrez connected on her first career hit in game one on her way to three total hits, and Lindsey Sokoloski and Kaitlin Ryder each collected five hits on the day.

Cortney Smith added four hits in the two-game set, homering in game two, while Courtney Clayton and Ryder connected on back-to-back home runs in the second contest. But Florida Atlantic took both games, 7-4 and 11-8, on Saturday night at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

The Owls (35-19, 15-8 Conference USA) pounded out 27 hits on Saturday and is vying for one of the top spots in the C-USA Tournament later this week. The Miners (11-36, 5-18 C-USA) had been struggling offensively the last few weeks but finally produced some runs on an Owls’ pitching staff that had a 1.94 ERA entering the weekend.

The Senior Day contest is Sunday with a 1 p.m. start. Seniors Kaitlin Fifield, Taylor Grohmann, Gutierrez, Erika Harrawood and Kiki Pepi will be honored following the game. The five fathers of each senior will toss out the first pitch prior to the contest.

UTEP 4, FAU 7

With the Miners down 5-0, they got within a run with a four-run third inning. Gutierrez led the third frame off with her first career hit, an infield single. Ryder followed with a single to left and Clayton reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Smith came up with a single to center that plated Gutierrez and Ryder to make the score 5-2. Pepi then reached on an error on a sacrifice bunt attempt, while being thrown out at second on a run down. But Clayton and Smith crossed the dish during the chaos to make the score 5-4.

But in the top fourth, Florida Atlantic star shortstop Emily Lochten hit a solo shot, her 18th long ball, over center and Tatum Buckley registered a RBI to pull away from UTEP.

Starting pitchers Erika Harrawood (3-13) and Amanda Wilson (15-9) then kept goose eggs on the scoreboard the rest of the way. Harrawood threw a complete game and struck out four batters on 162 pitches.

UTEP would get more base runners on which included another Gutierrez hit in the sixth, while also drawing a walk in the fourth. But the Miners couldn’t sustain more offense to punch the runners across home plate.

Gutierrez finished 2-for-2 with a run, while Smith went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Sokoloski went 2-for-3.

UTEP 8, FAU 11

The Owls struck first with two runs in the top first led by a Buckley RBI, and a stolen base each from Lochten and Madisyn Palmer.

The fighting Miners, after an intense talk from head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk in the middle first, would take a 3-2 lead in the home half as Ryder led off with a single to left. Clayton sacrificed Ryder over that setup Smith’s eighth home run of the season and first since April 1. Smith launched a two-run shot over left on the first pitch to tie the contest. Pepi followed with a single to right and would advance on a Taylor Sargent groundout. Sokoloski used her first double of the contest to drive home Pepi to take the 3-2 advantage.

The Miners would strike again in the fifth with the score 9-3. Ryder led the bottom half off with her fifth home run and Clayton smacked her fourth dinger of the season as both were towering shots over left field to make the score 9-5. After a pair of outs and a Sargent single through the right side, Sokoloski connected on her second double that scored Sargent to bring the Miners within three runs.

But the two squad would trade runs the next two frames. Smith registered her third RBI to tie her career high in the sixth and Sokoloski crossed the dish on an error on a Gutierrez at bat in the seventh. UTEP had runners at the corners, but again, couldn’t get that key hit to bring more runners home.

Sokoloski (3-for-3) tied her career high in hits and is hitting .321 on the season. The sophomore has only struck out once in 134 at bats to rank in the top three in the nation in toughest to strikeout. Smith went 2-for-4 and is currently leading the team with a .362 average. Ryder (3-for-5) also tied her career high in knocks and scored a pair of runs. Pepi finished 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Clayton registered a hit along with a RBI and run scored. Clayton now has 179-career hits, needing nine to pass no. 4-ranked Amber Bennett on the program’s all-time list. Clayton’s two runs on the day gives her 100 to rank sixth on the all-time list, needing eight to surpass Ashley Ellis. Clayton is the sixth Miner to join the 100-run club.

Fifield tossed a complete game, striking out three and only walking one on 141 pitches.

Tables Being Sold for 43rd “Dinner With the Miners”

Tables are now on sale for the 43rd edition of “Dinner With the Miners,” the annual awards banquet for UTEP Athletics. This year’s event, sponsored by the El Paso Downtown Lions Club, will be held on Thursday, April 27 at the Wyndham El Paso Airport.

Coaches and student-athletes will be in attendance for each of UTEP’s 16 Division I sports, with Most Valuable Athlete awards being presented.

UTEP’s Male and Female Athlete of the Year will also be announced as well as the recipient of the Golden Miner Award, presented to UTEP’s top all-around student-athlete based on athletics, academics and community service.

The social hour begins at 5 p.m., with dinner and the program to follow at 6:15 p.m.

Prices are $275 for three seats at a shared table with two student-athletes/coaches, and $500 for six seats at a shared table with four student-athletes/coaches. Funds raised are allocated to the UTEP student-athlete scholarship fund.

For more information or to purchase tickets, please call Jim Peak at (915) 581-0490.

H-P Sports In Depth: Miners Close Out Regular Season at Charlotte

UTEP (8-21, 5-12 C-USA) will close out the regular season at Charlotte (19-9, 11-6 C-USA) at 5 p.m. MST Saturday.

Regardless of the outcome the Miners will be seeded 11th at the 2017 C-USA Championships presented by MetroPCS (March 8-11), but they’d love to generate some momentum for the league’s pinnacle event.

UTEP’s two-game winning streak was halted with a 87-68 setback at Old Dominion Thursday (3/2) The 49ers enter the match-up as winners of two straight, including a 78-67 conquest of UTSA Thursday (3/2).

This is the lone scheduled meeting on the year between the programs, but it’s possible that they could square off in the C-USA Championships presented by MetroPCS (March 8-11). Charlotte is 9-4 at home (4-4 C-USA). UTEP is 1-8 on the road (1-7 C-USA).

Fans can listen live to Brandon Cohn’s call on 600 ESPN El Paso while also watching online at ESPN3 (subscription required). Updates may also be found by following the Miners (@UTEPWBB) or 49ers (@CharlotteWBB) on Twitter.

THIS AND THAT ON CONFERENCE USA

–  Teams play all 13 members at least once and face five teams in home-and-home for 18-game C-USA slate.

–  The field is set for the single-elimination 2017 C-USA Women’s Basketball Championship presented by MetroPCS (March 8-11, Birmingham, Ala.-UAB), but teams are still jockeying for position.

–  WKU (15-2) will be the top seed and Middle Tennessee (14-3) has the second seed locked up. The Miners (5-12) are locked in at 11th and Marshall (4-13) will be 12th.

–  The winner of LA Tech and Southern Miss (Friday) will have the third seed.

–  Seeds four through six (UTEP’s first-round opponent) will be either LA Tech (12-5) or Southern Miss (12-5), and Charlotte (11-6) and Old Dominion (11-6) in and order to be determined.

–  UTSA (9-8) will be between seeds 7-9 while North Texas (8-9) and Rice (8-9) will fall between seeds 7-10.

–  Host UAB (7-10) could be finish anywhere between seeds 8-10.

–  The top four teams as seeded by the regular-season standings receive a bye. The tournament winning will gain the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.

 INSIDE THE SERIES (UTEP LEADS, 2-1 OVERALL; UTEP LEADS, 1-0 IN CHARLOTTE)

–  UTEP leads the series, 2-1, with victories in each of the past two seasons.

–  The Miners outlasted Charlotte, 94-91, in double overtime to claim the outright 2016 C-USA regular-season championship in front of a roaring 4,012 fans at the Don Haskins Center on Feb. 27.

–  During the 2014-15 campaign UTEP won 75-72 at Halton Arena (2/12/15)

–  Charlotte won the first meeting between the programs, 92-86, in El Paso on Jan. 18, 2014.

GETTING TO KNOW CHARLOTTE

Overall: 19-9                 Home: 9-4   Road 10-3   Neutral 0-2 | C-USA: 11-6                  Home: 4-4   Road 7-2

–  Charlotte returned three starters and six letter winners overall from last year’s team (19-12, 12-6 C-USA). The 49ers earned an at-large bid to the WNIT but were edged by Wake Forest (L, 72-69, 3/17/16).

–  Charlotte has 14 postseason appearances (12 WNIT, two NCAA) in program history.

–  Charlotte is 18-9 this season, and appears poised to play postseason basketball for the 14th time in the past 15 years (no bid in 2015). The 49ers went to the “Big Dance” in 2003 and 2009 while making WNIT runs in the other seasons.

–  After a 3-3 start to the season, Charlotte caught fire to win nine straight and 14 of the next 16 contests. The 49ers then lost four straight (by a combined 12 points) but they’ve bounced back to win back-to-back contests since.

–  Charlotte leads C-USA in blocks/game (5.9) and assists/game (16.9). It is also second in scoring offense (74.0) and field-goal percentage defense (38.9), third in turnovers forced/game (17.9) and turnover margin (+2.5), fourth for 3-point field-goal percentage (34.6), 3-point field-goal percentage defense (30.8), scoring margin (+7.0) and steals/game (9.0), fifth in fewest turnovers/game (15.4), sixth in  rebounds/game (38.5) and seventh in field-goal percentage (43.7).

–  The 49ers have top-100 NCAA team rankings several categories: they are eighth in blocks/game, 16th for assists/game, 37th in scoring offense, 50th for field-goal percentage, 59th in 3-point field-goal percentage, 66th for turnover margin, 75th in turnovers forced/game, 85th for scoring margin and 87th in steals/game.

–  Grace Hunter is fifth in C-USA for rebounds/game (8.2), fifth in defensive boards/game (5.4), seventh for scoring (17.2) and minutes/game (34.6), ninth for blocks/game (0.8) 11th in free-throw percentage (77.3), field-goal percentage (48.3) and offensive boards/game (2.9), Hunter is 89th nationally for field-goal percentage.

–  Lefty Webster is tied third in C-USA for assists/game (5.0), fourth for steals/game (2.4), sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8) and minutes/game (35.9) and 3-point percentage (38.0), tied seventh in defensive boards/game (4.7), eighth for blocks/game (1.0) and in free-throw percentage (79.5), 13th for points/game (13.5) and 14th in rebounds/game (6.3).  Webster has top-100 NCAA rankings for assists/game (47th), minutes/game (62nd), total steals (64th), total assists (66th), steals/game (67th),  and field-goal percentage (97th).

–  Nyilah Jamison-Myers paces C-USA for blocks/game (2.0), is eighth in field-goal percentage (50.8), tied eighth for offensive boards/game (2.8), 19th in rebounding (5.9) and 27th in scoring (11.3). Jamison-Myers has top-100 NCAA rankings for blocked shots/game (46th) and total blocked shots (52nd).

–  Ciara Gregory leads C-USA in 3-pointers/game (3.3), 3-point makes (90) and attempts (246).. She is also 11th for scoring (14.2) and 3-point percentage (36.5). Gregory is among the top-100 nationally for 3-pointers/game (sixth), 3-point attempts (ninth) and makes (ninth) and percentage (93rd).

–  Laia Raevntós is tied for third for assists/game (5.0), fifth in C-USA in steals/game (2.3) and 11th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5). Raevntós is among the top-100 nationally for assists/game (47th), steals/game (72nd), total assists (74th) and total steals (85th).

–  Notable university alumni include Clay Aiken (Broadway star/American Idol runner-up), John Maine (former MLB pitcher) and Robert F. Hull, Jr. (CEO of Lowes).

LAST MEETING WITH CHARLOTTE: at UTEP 94, Charlotte 91 (OT),  Feb. 27, 2016

–  UTEP forced 30 turnovers and got big efforts from several players to outlast Charlotte, 94-91, in double overtime to claim the outright 2016 Conference USA regular-season championship in front of a roaring 4,012 fans at the Don Haskins Center on Feb. 27.

–  Jenzel Nash enjoyed a monstrous game (career-high 31 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals in career-high 47 minutes) to lead the way for the Miner, who pushed their overall win streak to seven while halting the 49ers’ undefeated surge at five.

–  Lulu McKinney buoyed Nash with 18 points, including two big triples in the second overtime period, while Starr Breedlove (13 points) and Cameasha Turner (12 points) also hit double figures in scoring.

–  Charlotte shot 51.6 percent (33-64) from the floor and won the boards (50-36) but was done in by the relentless pressure from the Orange and Blue.  UTEP had a 43-2 advantage in points off turnovers, in addition to a notable 34-3 cushion for bench scoring.

–  The visitors looked poised to hand UTEP its first home loss of the year, leading 72-70 with 15 seconds to play in regulation and in possession of the ball. Nash had other ideas, though, coming up with a steal and drawing a foul. She calmly sank both charity stripe tosses to tie the tilt. Charlotte called timeout to set up a play but misfired at the buzzer.

–  There were just eight points total in the first overtime, and Nash’s potential game-winning shot wouldn’t drop with one tick left to send it to double overtime. Nash nailed a triple to get the scoring started in the second extra period before a free throw by Laia Raventos made it 79-77 UTEP with 3:15 on the clock.

McKinney then took over, draining clutch triples on consecutive possessions to give the Miners some much-needed breathing room (85-78, 1:42 to play).

–  Charlotte continued to battle down the stretch but never got closer than three the rest of the way.

–  It was the first double-overtime game at the school since 2005-06.

–  It marked the second game in program history with both teams scoring 90+ points.

GOING BACK IN TIME (at Old Dominion 87, UTEP 68, March 2, 2017)

.-  Sparkle Taylor continued her blistering play offensively with a 27-point outburst while Tamara Seda (13 points) andLulu McKinney (10 points) also reached double figures in scoring but it wasn’t enough in a 87-68 setback at Old Dominion Thursday.

–  Jennie Simms poured in 30 points to go along with seven assists to lead the charge for the Lady Monarchs. ODU also received big games from Destinee Young (14 points, 14 rebounds) and Ashley Jackson (12 points, six rebounds).

–  UTEP took good care of the basketball (13 turnovers) while forcing 17 giveaways that led to 18 points, kept it competitive on the glass (ODU, 38-33) and shot 39.4 percent (28-71) but the home side compensated for all that with a tremendous shooting night. The Lady Monarchs nailed 60.7 percent (37-61) from the field, including 76.9 percent (10-13) in the third quarter and 66.7 percent (10-15) in the final frame.

–  ODU built a 34-20 lead midway through the second quarter but UTEP fought to get within seven (39-32). Unfortunately the Lady Monarchs used a 9-0 run early in the third quarter to push out by 15 and UTEP couldn’t get closer than 10 the rest of the way.

H-P Sports In Depth: UTEP Softball Season Starts Thursday

The UTEP softball team will commence its 2017 schedule at the Kajikawa Classic on Feb. 9. The Miners will open the weekend against a pair of Pac-12 programs, starting with Stanford (2:15 p.m. MT) and host school Arizona State (4:45 p.m.).

Day two will see Saint Mary’s College (Calif.) and Virginia.

The weekend will conclude for UTEP on Feb. 11 against another Pac-12 program in Utah. The Miners will compete in the Kajikawa for the third time in program history and first since the 2015 season.

UTEP is 2-8 all-time at the classic in Tempe. The Miners are looking to make it to their second consecutive Conference USA Tournament after posting their first ever winning league record (13-11) in 2016. Junior Courtney Clayton is the reigning C-USA Player of the Year as she hit .416 and set program records for hits (79) and doubles (21).

Senior Kiki Pepi was named All-C-USA second team after leading the squad with 42 RBI. Kaitlin Ryder and Clayton were also named to the Preseason Conference USA team on Jan. 18. Senior Kaitlin Fifield (11 wins, 82 Ks) returns the Miners’ leading pitcher from 2016.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. STANFORD

The Cardinal leads the all-time series 1-0 after the two programs met at the Kajikawa Classic on Feb. 8, 2015. Stanford defeated UTEP 11-0 (five innings). The Miners tallied four hits in the contest as Courtney Clayton went 2-for-2. Kiki Pepi and Taylor Sargent also each connected on a knock.

SCOUTING STANFORD

The Cardinal finished the 2016 campaign with an overall record of 13-35, including a 0-24 Pac-12 mark. Stanford’s 13 victories were the fewest since its 15 wins in 1995. The Cardinal hit .232 with 35 home runs in 2016. Senior INF Kylie Sorenson returns as the team’s leading hitter. Sorenson, named All-Pac-12 second team, led the Cardinal in batting (.330 avg.), while she was tied for the team lead in home runs (seven) and ranked second in RBI (21) in 2016.

Senior Bessie Noll returns after hitting .294 with seven dingers and 14 RBI, while junior catcher Victoria Molina returns after tallying 20 RBI and connecting on a trio of home runs. Sophomore Carolyn Lee and junior Haley Snyder return to the circle as the leading hurlers. Lee led the staff in ERA (5.76) and innings pitched (155.2), while Snyder led in K’s (58). Lee and Snyder each won six games in 2016.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. ARIZONA STATE

The Sun Devils lead the all-time series 4-3. The two programs last met on April 7, 2015 in a doubleheader at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex, as no. 19 Arizona State swept UTEP. The Sun Devils dominated the Miners 12-1 in five innings in game one, but the Orange and Blue responded with a better showing in game two, losing a close contest 13-11.

In the second game, Kiki Pepi went 3-for-4 with three RBI. The Sun Devils jumped out to a 12-2 lead, but UTEP scored five runs in the sixth, as Hope Moreno started the rally with a pinch-hit solo home run. The Miners scored four more run in the seventh, but came up short. 

SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE

The Sun Devils finished 32-26 overall and 6-17 in Pac-12 action. Arizona State connected on 63 dingers and hit .310. Despite the losing league mark, Arizona State advanced to the NCAA Regionals, going 2-2 in postseason action. Senior shortstop Chelsea Gonzalez returns as the team’s leading hitter, fashioning a .309 average while connecting on 12 long balls (ranked second), while leading the squad with 47 RBI in 2016.

Junior hurler Breanna Macha returns after posting a 7-7 record with a 5.13 ERA. Macha threw 84.2 innings, walking 30 and fanning 39 last year. The team’s leading pitcher in 2016, Kelsey Kessler (graduated), led the staff with a 16-13 record, a 2.95 ERA and 191 K’s in 204.1 frames.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. SAINT MARY’S COLLEGE

UTEP leads the all-time series 2-1. The two programs first met on Feb. 12, 2009 at the Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, N.M. with the Miners winning 9-5. UTEP and Saint Mary’s met again in familiar territory as the two schools split a pair of contests at the Hotel Encanto Tournament in Las Cruces in 2014.

The Miners defeated the Gaels 6-2 on Feb. 7, but fell 11-10 in nine innings the next day. Kaitlin Fifield, a freshman at the time, made her first career start against SMC on Feb. 8, striking out nine in 5.2 innings of work.

SCOUTING SAINT MARY’S COLLEGE

The Gaels posted a 20-27-1 record in 2016. Saint Mary’s College lost most of its leading hitters, but return junior Hailey Sparacino’s 10 home runs and 45 RBI from 2016. Katie Moss also returns, as the senior led the pitching staff in wins (12), ERA (2.53), innings pitched 169.0 and K’s (130). The Gaels only connected on 14 home runs, while hitting .249 last year.

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. VIRGINIA

Virginia won the only contest against UTEP by the final score of 14-5 in five innings on Feb. 6, 2015. The Cavaliers jumped on the Miners with 13 runs in the first three innings during the season-opening contest at the Kajikawa Classic. Courtney Clayton went hitless but did tally an RBI.

SCOUTING VIRGINIA

The Cavaliers finished 18-33 overall with a 7-14 ACC mark. Virginia hit 48 home runs with a .262 batting average and 56 stolen bases. Senior catcher Katie Park returns as the team’s leading hitter in 2016. Park led the way with seven home runs and 38 RBI. Erika Osherow led the pitching staff, as a freshman, with 13 wins and a 3.07 ERA.

Osherow tallied 122 strikeouts and only 53 walks in 214.2 innings of work. She also chipped in with three long balls and 10 RBI. Senior Kaitlin Fitzgerald hit .296 with two dingers and 26 RBI (second on team).

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. UTAH

Utah leads the all-time series 3-1. The two schools first met on Feb. 25, 2006, as Utah won 8-0. The Miners scratched out a 3-2 victory on Feb. 25, 2007. The two programs last met on Feb. 14, 2014 at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. The Utes rallied to win 4-3, as they scored a pair of runs in the top sixth.

SCOUTING UTAH

The Utes finished 35-22 overall and 13-10 in Pac-12 action. Utah advanced to the NCAA Tournament, winning its first four postseason contests. Utah hit .299 with 38 home runs. Senior Hannah Flippen returns as she led the squad with 13 long balls and a .413 batting average, while ranking tied second on the team with 34 RBI.

Senior Anissa Urtez also returns, as she led the Utes with 46 RBI, while hitting .380 and connecting on four dingers. Pitchers Katie Donovan and Miranda Viramontes, both juniors in 2017, led the staff in 2016. Donovan (2.47 ERA) led the way with a 20-11 record, while tallying 141 K’s and only 67 walks in 178.1 innings. Viramontes went 9-9 but, fashioned a 2.73 ERA. She tallied 92 strikeouts and 56 walks in 123.0 innings.

PRESEASON SELECTIONS

UTEP softball juniors Courtney Clayton and Kaitlin Ryder were selected to the 2017 Conference USA Preseason team on Jan. 18 as voted by the league coaches. It’s the first time since 2010 in which a pair of Miners (Camilla Carrera and Chelsea Troupe) were voted to the preseason squad.

IMPROVED CONFERENCE PLAY

UTEP finished Conference USA play with a 13-11 mark, the first ever winning league record in program history. Prior to fourth-year head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk arriving to UTEP, the softball team had won a total of six league contests during a three-season span (2011-13). The Miners were 6-64-1 during that span, while fashioning a 31-41 league mark during the Echo-Hawk era.

Prior to the 2016 season, the best C-USA record was an 11-13 finish in 2010. At one point during the 2016 season, UTEP set a program record by winning eight conference games in a row. The Miners swept LA Tech (March 19-20), swept FIU (March 25-26) and won their first two games against UTSA (April 2).

FIRST POSTSEASON ACTION SINCE 2010

After UTEP had posted its first ever winning conference record (13-11), the Miners earned a spot at the Conference USA Championship in Denton, Texas after a five-year absence. Not only did the Miners get in, but they rallied to beat FIU, 5-4, on May 11. It was the first postseason win since the 2009 season.

The tournament bid was UTEP’s fourth, as the Miners have forged a 4-4 record in postseason play.

CLAYTON’S RECORD-BREAKING MVP SEASON

Junior Courtney Clayton was announced as the 2016 Conference USA Player of the Year prior to the Conference USA Tournament. Clayton was also named to the All-C-USA first team after breaking multiple UTEP records and helping the Miners advance to the postseason. Clayton set a single-season program record in doubles (21), hits (79) and at bats (190). Clayton’s .416 batting average is the third best single-season average in program history, while she was the first Miner to hit over .400 since 2012 and one of three to ever hit over .400 in a single season.

Clayton’s .416 average ranked second in C-USA and 46th nationally, while leading C-USA in doubles. Clayton’s player of the year honor was also the first for the program since 2012. Clayton’s glove also did work as she tallied 119 assists, the second most in program history during a single season.

KIKI KEYED IN

Senior Kiki Pepi made her mark, earning All-Conference USA second team after her efforts. The third baseman was a hoover, as Pepi set the single-season school record by recording 134 assists in 2016, and set the program’s single-game record by tallying nine assists at FIU on March 25.

Pepi’s bat was not slouch, as she hit .318 and led the Miners with 42 RBI. Pepi tied second for the team lead in home runs (seven) and ranked third on the team in doubles (13). Pepi’s RBI total ranked tied seventh with two other players, while Charlotte’s Haley Pace and Florida Atlantic’s Melissa Martinez paced C-USA with 49 RBI.

DIGGING THE LONG BALL

UTEP connected on 51 home runs in 2016, the fourth most during a single season in program history. The Miners ranked no. 2 in Conference USA behind LA Tech (64 home runs). The dingers keep increasing each season that Tobin Echo-Hawk has been at the helm – hitting 30 in 2014 and 39 in 2015. UTEP only connected on 18 home runs in 2013.

UTEP’s home runs per game (.93) ranked second in C-USA and 58th nationally. LA Tech led the conference (1.19), while UL Lafayette led the nation (1.96).

MINERS ARE A HIT

UTEP set a program record by tallying 451 hits in 2016, surpassing 2009’s 442 hits. The Miners ranked fourth in Conference USA behind Marshall (456), Florida Atlantic (472) and FIU (479). Hits have increased every season with Tobin Echo-Hawk at the helm. In 2014, Echo-Hawk’s first season, the Miners tallied 402 hits, while recording 416 hits (ranked fourth best) in 2015.

BEST AVERAGE IN PROGRAM HISTORY

UTEP hit .307 in 2016, the best single-season mark in school history surpassing 2007’s average (.303). The Miners ranked third in Conference USA in hitting behind Marshall (.310) and FIU (.325), while ranking no. 48 nationally.

Under Tobin Echo-Hawk in three seasons, the Miners are hitting .297, which includes a .293 average in 2015 and a .290 average in 2014. Prior to Echo-Hawk’s arrival, UTEP hit .264 in 2013.

SEEING DOUBLE

UTEP hitters grinded out a Conference USA-leading 85 doubles in 2016, the second most in program history and three short of setting the school’s single-season record. The Miners recorded 87 doubles in 2008.

UTEP led C-USA in doubles per game (1.55), while ranking 29th nationally. Courtney Clayton led C-USA with 21 doubles, while Taylor Sargent’s 15 doubles ranked fifth and Kiki Pepi’s 13 doubles ranked tied seventh.

SETTING DEFENSIVE RECORDS

UTEP’s defensive fielding has improved since the arrival of head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk, while the Miners set multiple records in 2016. The Miners sported a program single-season best .962 fielding percentage, set a single-season record in assists (533) and double plays turned (30), while only committing 61 errors (third least in program history).

#TURNUP

UTEP tallied a single-season school record 30 double plays turned in 2016. The Miners led Conference USA in that department, while their .55 double plays per game ranked tied seventh nationally. In fact, the Miners turned a double play in the third game of a three-game sweep against North Texas, while turning a spectacular double play to beat FIU in the first round of the C-USA Tournament.

Hope Moreno was part of 18 double plays turned, which is a single-season school record and Cortney Smith was part of 11 double plays turned, ranking tied fifth in program history.

CLASS OF 2018

Juniors Courtney Clayton, Hope Moreno, Kaitlin Ryder and Taylor Sargent came to UTEP prior to the 2015 season and have contributed right away. During their sophomore campaigns, Clayton led the Miners in multiple categories, Moreno hit .325 and led the team in putouts (322), Ryder ranked second on the team in hitting (.350) and runs scored (31), and Sargent hit .313 and ranked second on the team in doubles (15).

Due to a season-ending injury, junior catcher Linda Garcia will miss the 2017 season and will redshirt during the campaign. Garcia ranked tied second in home runs (seven) in 2016.

FIFIED’S CIRCLE

Senior Kaitlin Fifield is UTEP’s returning leader in ERA (4.39), wins (11), innings pitched (167.1) and strikeouts (82). The El Paso native tallied a career high in wins in 2016 and tossed the program’s sixth no-hitter during a 2-0 win against Texas A&M-C.C. on Feb. 26, 2016 in College Station, Texas. During the no-hit contest, Fifield tied a career high by fanning nine batters, while walking only one.

Fifield also set a UTEP single-season record by forcing 310 groundouts. Fifield has fashioned 22 wins during her career and is ranked fourth on the program’s all-time win’s list. Kelly Curran ranks third (24), while Danielle Pearson ranks second (25).

ROSTER BREAKDOWN

The 2017 roster will be composed of 22 student-athletes. Five seniors (Kaitlin Fifield, Taylor Grohmann, Miranda Gutierrez, Erika Harrawood and Kiki Pepi), five juniors [Courtney Clayton, Linda Garcia, Hope Moreno, Kaitlin Ryder and Taylor Sargent], five sophomores (Ariel Blair, Mariah Ellis, Brianna Redd, Cortney Smith and Lindsey Sokoloski) and seven freshmen (Pamala Baber, Macey Brown, Devyn Cretz, Mallorie Cross, Allie Johnson, Bryanna Molina and Ruby Sanchez) will grace the newest edition of the roster. Ellis (Underwood University) and Redd (UTPB) are both transfers, while Cretz is listed as a redshirt freshman.

SUN CITY SLUGGERS

The 2017 UTEP softball roster will list seven student-athletes from El Paso. Ariel Blair (Hanks), Kaitlin Fifield (Chapin), Taylor Grohmann (Americas), Erika Harrawood (Franklin), Bryanna Molina (Hanks), Brianna Red (Hanks) and Ruby Sanchez (Montwood) all played their high school softball in the Sun City. Blair, Molina and Red were all teammates at Hanks High School at one point during their high school careers. Miranda Gutierrez is from Chino Hills, Calif., but did play her first two years of collegiate softball at El Paso Community College.

CALIFORNIA LOVE

The current roster will feature nine players from the state of California: Pamala Baber (Rialto), Devyn Cretz (Corona), Mallorie Cross (Yucaipa), Mariah Ellis (Los Angeles), Linda Garcia (Fontana), Miranda Gutierrez (Chino Hills), Hope Moreno (La Habra), Kiki Pepi (San Diego), Kaitlin Ryder (Chatsworth) and Cortney Smith (Moreno Valley).

Flyin’ Miners Return to Albuquerque for New Mexico Classic

After a bye week the UTEP track team return to the Albuquerque Convention Center this Friday and Saturday to compete in the New Mexico Classic.

This will be one of the largest meet in terms of entries for the Miners. Teams competing include USC, Texas, Texas Tech and Ole Miss.

Getting the action Friday at 4 p.m. MT in the women’s weight throw will be Adebola Akomolafe, Cierra Chenault and Fayon Gonzales. Tobi Amusan will compete in both the long jump at 4:30 p.m. and 200m. Amusan ran a season-best 23.56 at the Cherry & Silver Invitational, which is ranked 16th in the nation. Israel Ramsay will be the lone Miner in the high jump.

In the first running event Rebbecca Oshibanjo will look to earn a spot in the semifinals in the 60m hurdles. Ana Molinar and Florence Uwakwe will compete in the 60m dash shortly after.

In the long distance race Gladys Jerotich and Kayla Pallares compete in the 3,000m run.  In the mile run Linda Cheruiyot and Winny Koech and Truphena Sum run for the Miners.

On the men’s side, freshman Connor Graham will get things started in the pole vault at 4 p.m. Donivan Ortega pulls double shifts in the triple jump and the long jump with Brandon Moss joining him in the latter. The Miners will have two throwers in the weight throw with Karol Kroncos and Kevin Rincon competing. In the high jump Austin Ondijo will be the Miner competing.

The 200m dash will feature James Bias and Asa Guevara competing in the one day final. In the 3,000m run Daniel Cheruiyot will look to improve his time after setting a personal best earlier this season at the Commodore Invitational.

Saturday’s schedule begins at 10 a.m. with the women’s shot put featuring Samantha Hall and Lucia Makrasova for the Miners. Tyler Ragin will compete in the long jump, the only Miner in the field.

Freshman sensation Emmanuel Korir returns to the convention center after setting a world best in the 600m (1:14.97). Korir will race in the 800m, where he holds the nations fastest collegiate time this season.

Jonah Koech will compete in both the 800m and the mile run along with Cosmas Boit.

The meet will be streamed (behind a paywall) on FloTrack and can be viewed using the following linkhttp://bit.ly/2h72p8L or you can follow along with live stats being posted on http://www.liverunningresults.com/public_html/events/unmcollegiate2017/

Gallery+Story: Two in a Row! Miners down Florida Atlantic in OT 66-65

Omega Harris scored 18 points, and hit the jumper that gave the Miners the lead for good to start overtime in an eventual 66-65 victory over Florida Atlantic on Saturday.

Following 12 consecutive losses, UTEP (4-13, 2-3 C-USA) has posted back-to-back wins for the first time this season.  The Miners knocked off FIU in double overtime, 88-87, on Thursday.

UTEP has played consecutive overtime games for the first time since January of 1995, and posted consecutive overtime victories for the first time since topping Cincinnati (OT) and Kansas (2OT) in the 1966 NCAA Tournament.

“I thought we did a better job tonight of establishing a post-up game,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “It was probably our best game of the year in terms of lack of turnovers, only nine which is a huge positive for us.  We still have a lot of room for growth.  Omega scored 18, and you feel like he maybe could’ve had 24 tonight.  Matt [Willms] did some nice things.  He had 16, and you feel like he could’ve had 25 tonight with little finishes and free throws, things that we’re going to keep working at and try to get better.  But our team needed this weekend.  We did some nice things.  We’re attempting to get better.  The team that we beat tonight beat Ohio State on the road earlier in the year.  They were not able to establish a post-up game.  I thought our interior defense was better.”

The Miners held FAU (5-11, 1-4 C-USA) to 36.2 percent shooting, including 21.4 percent (6-for-28) from three-point range. Gerdarius Troutman pretty much single-handedly kept the Owls in the game, scoring 22 points and making all six of his team’s three pointers.  He was 6-for-9 from beyond the arc, the rest of the squad was 0-for-19.

UTEP led throughout the first half and remained in front until 3:57 remaining in regulation, when Troutman hit two free throws for a 50-49 FAU lead.  It was the Owls’ first advantage since 4-2 early on.

Willms broke a 52-52 tie on a free throw with 1:22 remaining, and Dominic Artis’ layup pushed the Miner lead to three (55-52) with 13 seconds left.  Troutman hit his fifth three of the game with five seconds on the clock to sent it to overtime.

The Miners scored the first four points in overtime, built an eight-point lead (66-58) with 1:15 to play, then withstood a furious rally by the Owls.

After Troutman cut it to one (66-65) on his final triple of the evening with three seconds left, the ball was inbounded to Trey Touchet who threw it into the frontcourt, enabling time to run out.

UTEP placed four players in double figure scoring for the second consecutive game.  Willms scored 16, Paul Thomas had 14 points and eight rebounds, and Artis added 11 points.

“Paul Thomas has really grown here in the last three or four games, but particularly this weekend at home,” Floyd said.  “He is rebounding it, he is finishing plays, he made a nice finish coming through the lane there at the end.  We’re making little plays that we weren’t making late, like Trey rebounds a free throw late and gets fouled for two.  Paul gets a big defensive board late.  We were able to buy some minutes out of various defenses that we threw out there.  But overall we are pleased.”

After falling behind 4-2 early, the Miners scored eight straight points to take a 10-4 lead on a layup by Harris with 14:34remaining in the half.  Florida Atlantic knotted the score at 11, but UTEP answered with a 9-0 run to power ahead 20-11 on a layup by Touchet with 8:43 to play.

Florida Atlantic ended the half with an 8-2 run to trim a 24-15 deficit down to 26-23. Troutman made two of his three first-half three-pointers over the final 3:29 of the period.

The Miners will conclude their three-game homestand against UTSA next Saturday (Jan. 21) at 7 p.m.

“We’ve got another game next Saturday against a team that beat us, and it will be a good measuring stick,” Floyd said.  “I think UTSA is 4-1 in the league with a road win at Louisiana Tech.  They also swept these two teams that beat us.  I would hope that we’ll come out and play inspired again next Saturday.”

Gallery by Herald-Post Chief Photographer Andres Acosta

Video+Story: Bar Honors 1966 NCAA Champions with Mural, Photos and Shared Memories

The spirit and memories of the 1966 NCAA Texas Western Championship is revived through photos, memorabilia, a mural featuring the champions and family stories at a recently opened boutique bar at Mesa and Cincinnati streets.

The boutique bar, aptly named Spirit 66, is looking to open Dec. 30 – Sun Bowl weekend- at 2712 N. Mesa. Updates on opening day may be found at Spiritof66elpaso on Facebook and Instagram.

Bar owner, Isabel Salcido, 31, said the idea stemmed from her love of the university’s history and her family’s stories.

Last year UTEP celebrated the 50 th anniversary of the historic NCAA Championship win when Texas Western College won the championship game against Kentucky State. Furthermore, then head coach, Don Haskins, made a historic move by starting five African American players – a move that forever changed college basketball.

Texas Western was renamed the University of Texas at El Paso a year later.

“Being raised here in El Paso, my grandparents would take my parents to the basketball games, and then my parents took me to the games,” Salcido said. “And they would tell me about the 1966 basketball team. My family was a real influence on me and I wanted the project to mean something – you know business with a purpose.”

A 2012 UTEP graduate, Salcido said she bartended at Liquor Dicks – the very location where Spirit of 66 opened – to help pay her bills through college. When she was done and received her bachelor’s degrees in Finance and Computer Information Systems, she said she wanted to open up a unique bar across from UTEP that would honor the 1966 Basketball Team.

“There are a lot of people in El Paso that don’t know the history and I want to embrace it and show them what the spirit was here,” Salcido said. “And it’s just a piece of UTEP’s history that I want to share with everyone else.”

Spirit 66 showcases a mural that depicts the staring line up of the 1966 Texas Western Basketball team holding the NCAA Trophy. Above them, a profile of Don Haskins yelling at the team, with his alter ego – a grizzly bear – roaring from behind.

Artist Nacho Garcia Jr., was asked to take on the project of the mural honoring the 1966 Basketball Team from Texas Western. Garcia was a freshman at Texas Western when Haskins was coaching what would be known as the 1966 NCAAChampionship Team. The basketball games at the time were held at Memorial Gym.

“When I saw these guys play you could tell it was different,” Garcia said. “Haskins stressed defense. Not this run-and- shoot offensive game that, at the time, all the colleges were running and shooting. So, all the teams they played were not prepared for it. ”

The hardest part of completing the mural is getting the eyes just right, Garcia said. Garcia said the mural was a testament to those members on the team that have passed – Harry Flournoy, Bobby Joe Hill, and of course head coach Don Haskins.

Flournoy passed in November at 72; Hill died at age 59, in December 2002; and Haskins died at the age of 78 in September 2008.

“No other Texas college has ever reached the NCAA,” Garcia said. “We are the only ones in the whole state of Texas that made it that far and achieved it. Don came close in the 70s and in the 80s – and they’d go to the sweet 16, but they never duplicated this. And it’s an achievement that may never be duplicated.”

For more information visit Spiritof66elpaso on Facebook and Instagram.

Four Miners Selected to C-USA All-Freshman Team

Four Miners were designated to the Conference USA All-Freshman football team, as selected by the league’s 13 head football coaches.

UTEP’s four selections were linebacker Jayson VanHook, defensive back Justin Rogers, defensive lineman Chris Richardson and offensive lineman Greg Long. UTEP was one of three schools that produced league-high four players on the team.  It’s the first time in program history that four Miners garner a spot in the all-freshman team. The previous two years, UTEP placed three Miners on the All-Freshman team.

VanHook played in all 12 games and moved to the starting rotation after the second game of the season. He notched 36 stops (17s/19a), 5.5 TFL (18 yards) and one sack. The linebacker ranked ninth on team in tackles and first amongst UTEP freshman. He posted a stellar showing versus Texas recording seven stops, 1.5 TFL and first career sack.

Rogers saw action in 11 games and in started in four at the corner position as a true freshman. He registered 17 tackles (10s/7a), one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one interception, one quarterback hurry and seven pass breakups in his first season. Rogers posted first interception for 26 yards against FIU and added a breakup and three tackles.

Richardson played in all 12 games and earned starts in the last two showings. The defensive lineman recorded 21 total tackles (4s/17a) and a pass breakup. Richardson notched a career-high four stops against Houston Baptist.

Long played in nine games and made four starts as a true freshman. The El Paso native has seen action at the right guard and left tackle positions. Long’s efforts on the offensive line helped lead Aaron Jones as C-USA’s top rusher and UTEP’s all-time leading rusher.

Special ‘Mining Minds’ Lighting Celebrates First Day of Classes

The “Mining Minds” pickaxe sculpture at UTEP’s University Avenue roundabout will be illuminated in blue and orange on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, to commemorate the original first day of classes on Monday, Sept. 28, 1914.

Twenty-seven students were enrolled in the first class at the State School of Mines and Metallurgy, now UTEP. They came from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Missouri, Louisiana, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Mexico.

“Mining Minds” is an iconic piece of public art installed in 2010 to enhance the campus. At night, orange lights illuminate the steel structure while light from LEDs emanate from the perforated “ones” and “zeroes” at each end of the pick.

On special occasions, including historic dates, major annual milestones and to celebrate special accomplishments, the pick is illuminated in blue and orange. Learn more about the statue and its artist at miningminds.utep.edu.

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