UTEP (3-10, 0-1 C-USA) will continue the first three game homestand to start league play since 2009 by challenging LA Tech (6-6, 1-0 C-USA) at 7:05 p.m. MST Thursday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids.
The Miners fell, 83-81, in OT to UTSA in their league opener on Jan. 1 while the Lady Techsters downed Southern Miss at home, 72-61, on Dec. 30. LA Tech had dropped its final three non-conference games. The Miners haven’t started 0-2 in conference play since 2003-04 when they were members of the WAC.
The visit from Southern Miss (2 p.m. Jan. 7-Superhero Saturday and post-game youth clinic; first responders, medical professionals, law enforcement get $3 admission with ID) will conclude the homestand.
Steve Kaplowitz (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 Techsters (@LATechWBB) on Twitter.
INSIDE THE SERIES
– Louisiana Tech leads the series, 10-5, but it is deadlocked (4-4) when playing in El Paso.
– UTEP has won three straight in the series, including sweeping both meetings last year for the first time.
– LA Tech won the first nine meetings between the programs, when both programs played in the WAC
GETTING TO KNOW LA Tech Overall: 6-6 Home: 4-3 Road: 2-3 Neutral: 0-0
C-USA: 1-0 Home: 1-0 Road: 0-0
– Louisiana Tech is one of five programs in NCAA history with at least 1,000 wins (1,079-second all time). It has participated in 27 NCAA Tournaments, 13 Final fours, eight national championship games and won three national titles.
– LA Tech returned seven letter winners, including two starters, from last year’s team (14-16, 9-9 C-USA).
– Got off to a start of 5-3 on the year before dropping three straight to conclude non-league play at 6-6.
– Halted the skid by posting a 72-61 home win vs. Southern Miss in the C-USA opener for both squads.
– Five players contributing between 9.1-11.6 points/game to help team put up 70.1 points/game.
– Drilling 46.8 percent of its shots, including 32.1 percent (52-162) from three-point range.
– LA Tech is among the leaders for C-USA and boasts top-100 NCAA rankings for field-goal percentage (46.8-first/21st), assists/game (16.1-second/57th), three-point percentage defense (28.6-third/70th), field-goal percentage defense (36.6-third/73rd), rebound margin (+4.8-fourth/80th) and scoring offense (70.1-third/98th).
– Rochelle Vasquez paces the team in assists/game (3.4-15th C-USA/244th nation) and scoring (11.6 ppg) while Jasmine LeBlanc tops the squad for rebounds/game (8.0-fifth C-USA/111th nation) and blocks/game (1.1-eighth C-USA/218th nation).
– LeBlanc (80.0-fifth C-USA/120th nation) and Vasquez (76.1-10th C-USA/182nd) have thrived at the line.
– Notable Louisiana Tech alumni include Trace Adkins (country music star) and Phil Robertson (cast member of A&E’s Duck Dynasty).
LAST MEETING WITH LA Tech (UTEP 72, at LA Tech 65, 2/20/16)
– UTEP wrapped up a 25-3 run around halftime to take control of the game before holding off a furious rally in an exhilarating 72-65 win at Louisiana Tech Feb. 22, 2016.
– It was a back-and-forth contest early on, with four lead changes and nine ties during the first 13 minutes of action alone. The Lady Techsters led 19-17 with7:17 to play in the second quarter before the Miners started to find a rhythm at both ends of the court.
– UTEP closed the half on a 13-3 push to carry a 30-22 cushion into halftime before peeling off the first 12 points of the third quarter to rip the game wide open. The margin swelled to as many as 22 (61-39) with 8:12 to play in the game before LA Tech finally made a run.
– The home side put together a 24-6 run over the next 6:45 to trim the Miner advantage to four (67-63) with 40 seconds left but UTEP kept its composure on the way to securing its fifth consecutive win. It is the first home league setback on the season for LA Tech, which also slips to 190-27 all time in conference games at the historic Thomas Assembly Center.
– Jenzel Nash poured in 24 points to go along with nine rebounds to lead the way but she was far from alone. Starr Breedlove (15 points, seven assists),Lawna Kennedy (10 points) and Chrishauna Parker (nine points, five rebounds) also got things going to help propel the Miners to their fifth consecutive win.
– It marked UTEP’s first road win in its sixth trip to Ruston.
GOING BACK IN TIME – UTSA 83, at UTEP 81 (1/1/17)
– Sparkle Taylor (career-high tying 28 points) and sophomore Najala Howell (career-high 20 points) provided a nice one-two scoring punch but UTSA’s Tesha Smith converted a putback off Loryn Goodwin’s air ball with four seconds left in overtime to send her squad past UTEP, 83-81, in the C-USA opener for both squads at the Don Haskins Center on Jan. 1.
– Zuzanna Puc’s shot to force double overtime was too strong.
– There were 10 ties and 14 lead changes and was the first OT contest to start league play since ‘04-05.
– UTEP, which trailed by 10 (17-7) five minutes in, forced OT with Howell’s trey with 0.5 seconds left.
– Taylor made the most field goals (13) by a Miner since 1999.
– Tamara Seda recorded her second straight and fifth double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) on the year
– UTEP made eight more field goals (34-82, 41.5 percent) while also shooting a better percentage than UTSA (26-70, 37.1 percent) but the Roadrunners overcame that through a barrage of three pointers (9-21) and living at the free-throw line (22-31). UTEP was 8-10 on free throws despite holding advantages for both points in the paint (40-28) and second-chance points (18-14).
– UTEP’s seven-game win streak in league openers was halted.
– The Miners slipped to 10-6 in situation under Keitha Adams, including 9-3 since joining C-USA (‘05-6).
– UTEP is now 14-22 all time in conference openers.