Andres Acosta | El Paso Herald-Post
University officials released the 2019-20 UTEP Women’s Basketball Schedule on Tuesday.
The Miners will play a total of 18 regular season home games, beginning with the regular season opener versus UC Riverside on Saturday, November 9.
“We are very excited about the upcoming season’s schedule,” third-year UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “We will play nine non-conference home games. This is quite a bit different from years past as we have been on the road a lot in the early part of the season. We will play NM State twice and we hope to continue doing so for many years to come. We will travel to SMU for a great matchup between a Conference USA team and an American Athletic Conference team. In addition, we will have return games at home versus Weber State, Tulsa, and WNIT Champion Arizona. Perhaps the most exciting part of our non-conference schedule will be our own Thanksgiving Classic. We will square off against Western Michigan and Georgia State in the friendly confines of the Don Haskins Center. This will make for a preseason schedule that will challenge our team and get us ready for the tough Conference USA grind.”
The Miners will be home for nine of their 11 non-conference games, the exceptions being matchups at I-10 rival NM State (Nov. 13) and SMU (Dec. 19). The first nine games of the season will either be played in El Paso or within 40 miles of it, until the Miners board a plane for the first time to battle the Mustangs in the Metroplex.
UTEP’s season-opening opponent, UC Riverside, was a 17-game winner last season and tied for second place in the Big West Conference with a 10-6 mark. The Miners will face NM State twice in the month of November – on Nov. 13 in Las Cruces, and on Nov. 23 in El Paso. The Aggies are coming off a 26-7 campaign, a 15-1 Western Athletic Conference record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The Miners will also host Alcorn State (Nov. 16) and long-time rival New Mexico (Nov. 19) in November. The Lobos were 24-7 in 2018-19, 14-4 in the Mountain West Conference (second place) and earned a bid to the WNIT. Tip-off for the Nov. 19 game will be 11 a.m. to attract local schoolchildren.
UTEP’s Thanksgiving Classic will take place Nov. 29-30, with the Miners meeting Western Michigan and Georgia State. Georgia State compiled 17 victories a year ago, meriting an appearance in the postseason WBI.
The Miners will face a lighter load in December with only four games, including three in the Haskins Center. UTEP will host Weber State (Dec. 4) and Arizona (Dec. 7) prior to taking a 12-day break between games for finals.
The Wildcats posted 24 victories last season and marched to the WNIT title behind junior guard Aari McDonald, who averaged 24.1 points per game. UTEP will wrap up the calendar year by playing at SMU (Dec. 19) and hosting former WAC and C-USA adversary Tulsa (Dec. 29).
UTEP will play 18 C-USA games in 2020 – up from 16 the last two years – with 14 of the 18 games set as the C-USA women’s teams will adopt the “Bonus Play” model followed by the men a year ago.
In a differentiation from the men’s model, the final four opponents of the regular season will be determined based on power rankings in December.
Five dates are penciled in to play the final four games – Feb. 22, Feb. 26, Feb. 29, March 5 and March 7 – with UTEP playing two home games and two road games during that span.
Prior to “Bonus Play,” however, the Miners will host FIU (Jan. 2), Florida Atlantic (Jan. 4), UTSA (Jan. 18), Rice (Jan. 23), North Texas (Jan. 25), Charlotte (Feb. 6) and Old Dominion (Feb. 8), and play at Southern Miss (Jan. 9), LA Tech (Jan. 11), Middle Tennessee (Jan. 30), UAB (Feb. 1), WKU (Feb. 13), Marshall (Feb. 15) and UTSA (Feb. 20).
UTEP will go on the road to face four of the top six teams from last year’s final league standings, although the Miners will host defending champion Rice, which finished 28-4 (16-0 C-USA) in 2018-19.
UTEP’s 2019-20 roster features eight returning letterwinners (senior G/F Ariona Gill, junior guard Alexa Hoy, junior guard Jordan Jenkins, sophomore guard Sabine Lipe, senior guard Neidy Ocuane, senior guard/forward Jade Rochelle, sophomore forward Ariana Taylor, senior guard/forward Katarina Zec) joining seven newcomers (junior guard Tia Bradshaw, freshman guard Avery Crouse, freshman guard Katia Gallegos, freshman guard/forward Arina Khlopkova, freshman forward Tatyana Modawar, junior forward/center Michelle Pruitt, junior forward Dejanae Roebuck). Zec is the top returning scorer at 10.1 points per game, while the Miners have added junior college standouts Bradshaw, Pruitt and Roebuck, and a vaunted freshman class that features local star Gallegos, who prepped at Franklin High School.
UTEP Women’s Basketball Season Tickets are on sale now by calling (915) 747-6150. Reserved floor seats are $120 and general admission are $60.
2019-20 UTEP Women’s Basketball Schedule | All times Mountain
Oct. 26 Eastern New Mexico (EXB) 1 p.m.
Nov. 2 St. Mary’s (Texas) (EXB) 1 p.m.
Nov. 9 UC Riverside 7 p.m.
Nov. 13 at NM State 7 p.m.
Nov. 16 Alcorn State 1 p.m.
Nov. 19 New Mexico 11 a.m.
Nov. 23 NM State 1 p.m.
Nov. 29 Western Michigan# 3:30 p.m.
Nov. 30 Georgia State# 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 4 Weber State 7 p.m.
Dec. 7 Arizona 1 p.m.
Dec. 19 at SMU 6 p.m.
Dec. 29 Tulsa 1 p.m.
Jan. 2 FIU* 7 p.m.
Jan. 4 Florida Atlantic* 1 p.m.
Jan. 9 at Southern Miss* TBA
Jan. 11 at LA Tech* TBA
Jan. 18 UTSA* 1 p.m.
Jan. 23 Rice* 7 p.m.
Jan. 25 North Texas* 1 p.m.
Jan. 30 at Middle Tennessee* TBA
Feb. 1 at UAB* TBA
Feb. 6 Charlotte* 7 p.m.
Feb. 8 Old Dominion* 1 p.m.
Feb. 13 at WKU* TBA
Feb. 15 at Marshall* TBA
Feb. 20 at UTSA* TBA
Feb. 22 TBD* TBA
Feb. 26 TBD* TBA
Feb. 29 TBD* TBA
March 5 TBD* TBA
March 7 TBD* TBA
Home games in bold | # UTEP Thanksgiving Classic | *Conference USA game
All dates and times subject to change