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Miners prep for 2016 Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands

UTEP will spend the week of Thanksgiving in tropical paradise by taking part in “Island Division” of the 2016 Paradise Jam.

The Miners (1-2) will have three match-ups in as many days against power conference programs, locking up with LSU (3-1) on Thursday, NC State (4-0) on Friday and Kansas State (3-0) on Saturday.

Each contest is slated to start at 1:15 p.m. MST/4:15 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time (Eastern Standard Time plus one hour) and will be played at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center.

This is the fourth time under head coach Keitha Adams that UTEP will travel to compete at an in-season tournament at an exotic location. The Miners won the 2012 Junkanoo Jam (Nov. 22-23, 2012; Freeport, Bahamas), split a pair of contests at the 2013 Puerto Rico Classic (Dec. 20-21, 2013; San Juan, Puerto Rico) and lost their only game played (two others cancelled) at the 2014 Hardwood Tournament of Hope (Nov. 25-27, 2014; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico).

While UTEP is 10-48 all time vs. teams from a power five conference (at point of match-up), the Miners stand 7-5 in the situation since the 2012-13 season.

UTEP stomped Division II program Western New Mexico, 93-46, on Nov. 17 to improve to 1-2 on the year; the Miners were 0-2 for the first time since 2008-09 and just the fourth occasion (2001-02 and 2002-03) during the Keitha Adams era. The win also prevented the first start of at least 0-3 since Adams’s initial campaign (2001-02) at the helm of the program when UTEP dropped five straight.

Fans are encouraged to connect with the Miners on Facebook (UTEP Women’s Basketball), Instagram (@utepwbb) and Twitter (@UTEPWBB).

 

BRIEF RUNDOWN ON THE PARADISE JAM FIELD

LSU – Overall: 3-1 Home: 2-1   Road 1-0     Neutral 0-0

–  LSU has six letter winners, including three starters back, from last year’s team (10-21, 3-13).

–  The Lady Tigers are rolling early in 2016, bolting out to a 3-1 start with the lone loss coming vs. UCONN.

–  Alexis Hyder (14.0 ppg, 7.5 rpg), Raigyne Moncrief (12.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg), Chloe Jackson (11.3, 5.8 rpg) and Ayana Mitchell (10.3, 3.8 rpg) are the key contributors for LSU. No one else on the squad is contributing more than 6.0 ppg or 2.5 rpg.

–  2-0 on the year vs. C-USA foes, with a 77-73 win at LA Tech (11/11) and 66-55 home triumph vs. Rice (11/16).

–  Gone 101-237 (42.6 percent) on two-point shots and 4-38 (10.5 percent) on three-point tries.

NC State – Overall: 4-0 Home: 4-0   Road 0-0     Neutral 0-0

–  NC State returned four starters and 12 letter winners from last year’s team (20-11, 10-6 tied fifth ACC). It brought back its top five scorers from the 2015-16 season.

–  The Wolfpack have a storied history, with an all-time record of 843-443; they have made 32 postseason tournaments (28 NCAA/AIAW Tournaments), won five ACC regular-season titles and four ACC Tournament titles.

–  NC State (4-0) got off to a start of at least 3-0 for the sixth straight year.

–  Scored 80+ points in first three games of the year before tallying 77 last time out; balanced attack with seven players tallying at least 6.0 ppg. They are in the form of Chelsea Nelson (10.8 ppg), Aislinn Konig (10.5 ppg), Dominique Wilson (9.5 ppg), Ashley Williams (9.0 ppg), Kaila Ealey (7.5 ppg), Miah Spencer (7.3 ppg) and DD Rogers (6.3 ppg). Nelson leads the effort on the glass.

Kansas State – Overall: 3-0 Home: 3-0   Road 0-0     Neutral 0-0

–  Kansas State returned four starters and nine letter winners from last year’s team (19-13, 8-10 sixth Big 12, NCAA Second Round).

–  The Wildcats are 894-556 all time as a program, with 19 postseason bids (14 NCAA, five WNIT).

–  Kayla Goth (14.7 ppg), Breanna Lewis (14.0 ppg), Kindred Wesemann (11.7 ppg) and Peyton Williams (8.3 ppg) lead the attack for the Wildcats. Lewis (9.3 rpg) and Williams (8.0 rpg) are top rebounders.

–  K-State has a +31.7 scoring margin (77.7-46.0) and a +14.0 rebounding margin (46.7-32.7)

INSIDE THE SERIES

–  UTEP and Kansas State are tied, 3-3, with the Wildcats claiming the most-recent match-up, 73-42, on Nov. 25, 2014, in the opening game of the 2014 Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The Miners are 2-3 vs. the Wildcats under Keitha Adams, aided by wins in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

GOING BACK IN TIME

 at UTEP 93, Western New Mexico 46 (11/17/16)

–  UTEP opened the game on a 27-0 run and never looked back on the way to a 93-46 conquest of division II program Western New Mexico on Nov. 17.

–  The Miners set program single-game records for both total rebounds (66) and rebounding margin (+45) while the 47-point margin of victory ranks eighth on the charts.

–  UTEP connected on 61.2 percent (41-67) of its shots-the fourth-best effort at the school- while holding the Lady Mustangs to 22.4 percent (15-67), the 11th lowest by a foe.

–  UTEP dished out 26 assists (tied seventh) on 41 made field goals (tied fourth). Additionally, the Orange and Blue outscored WNMU, 58-0, for points in the paint while more than doubling up the visitors with bench scoring (48-21).

–  Freshman Zuzanna Puc led the way with a career-high 19 points and seven rebounds, but she had plenty of support. Sparkle Taylor (13 points, 11 rebounds), Najala Howell (10 points, 12 rebounds) and Tamara Seda (10 points, 14 boards) all posted double-doubles while freshman Jakeira Ford added a career-high 13 points in just 14 minutes of action off the bench.

–  Lulu McKinney dished out a career-high nine assists-while committing only one turnover- to help direct the squad’s offensive efforts. Freshmen Katarina Zec (11 points), Roeshonda Patterson (six points), Faith Cook (five points) also set personal highs in scoring while redshirt-freshman Jessica Barbosa scored two points and had two boards in her collegiate debut.

QUICK HITTERS

–  The Miners top the conference in both rebound margin (+16.0-16th nation) and total rebounds (155-30th nation). UTEP is also among the league and country’s leaders for blocked shots/game (6.7-second/20th), rebounds/game (51.7-second/eighth)  and scoring offense (70.7-fourth/125th).

– Senior Sparkle Taylor among the league and national leaders for double-doubles (two-first/ninth), free throws made (17-second/41st) and attempted (21-third/56th), field goals made (19-fourth/135th), and attempted (47-second/76th), points per game (18.3-seventh/105th) and rebounds/game (9.7-third/75th).

–  Taylor has posted back-to-back double-doubles; she had two double-doubles her first three years.

–  Junior Axelle Bernard is second in C-USA and 22nd nationally in blocked shots/game (2.2).

–  Junior Tamara Seda has two starts this year; she had two total starts last season. Seda has grabbed 8.7 rebounds per game (sixth C-USA/130th nation).

–  Junior Lulu McKinney’s 5.3 assists/game is third in C-USA and 61st nationally. She is also sixth/127 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.29).

GETTING TO KNOW THE 2016-17 MINERS

–  Senior Jenzel Nash (currently suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules) is the lone returning starter from last year’s team (29-5, 16-2 C-USA, advanced WNIT Quarterfinals). Nash, along with sophomore Najala Howell, junior Lulu McKinney, redshirt-junior Tamara Sedaand senior Sparkle Taylor are the five returning letter winners. Also back is redshirt-freshman Jessica Barbosa, who practiced with the team last year but did not play.

–  UTEP has more newcomers (eight) than returnees (five) on the roster for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign when it also had that ratio.

–  There are six true freshmen (Faith Cook, Jakeira Ford, Roeshonda Patterson, Zuzanna Puc, Rachel Tapps and Katarina Zec) and a two junior-college (Axelle Bernard, Chanel Khammarath) transfers.

–  Including Barbosa, the seven freshmen are the most at UTEP since the 2008-09 season (also seven).

–  The Miners lost nine letter winners, including four starters from last year, but from a pure statistical standpoint they still returned (includes Nash) a decent amount of production from the ‘15-16 squad.

   FG Made             441                   441                882                                  50.0%

   Points                  1166                 1250              2416                                48.3%

   Rebounds            643                   722                1084                                47.1%

   FT Made              222                   275                1365                                44.7%

   Minutes Played    2889                 3986              6875                                42.0%

   Assists                188                   268                456                                  41.2%

   Steals                  160                   237                397                                  40.3%

   3FG Made            62                     93                  155                                  40.0%

   Blocked Shots     35                     77                  122                                  28.7%

 

BASIC FACTS ON THE PROGRAM

–  UTEP is 540-627 in its 43rd season as a women’s basketball program, including 1-2 this year.

–  Made four postseason bids (2016,-WNIT quarterfinals; 2014-WNIT runner-up, 2012-NCAA first round and 2008-NCAA second round), sporting combined record of 9-4 (8-2 WNIT, 1-2 NCAA).

–  Won four league championships (2016 C-USA regular season, 2012 C-USA regular season and conference tournament and 2008 C-USA regular season); 1-1 record all time in league tournament title games, winning the title in 2012 and falling in 2008.

–  Six 20+ win seasons (all since 2006-07), including four of the past five; never had more than 18 wins in a season before Keitha Adams.

–  One of 10 programs nationally (Baylor, Chattanooga, FGCU, James Madison, Maryland, Notre Dame, South Carolina and UConn) to have won 29+ games at least three times in the past five years.

–  Cracked the top-25 poll in two seasons (2015-16, 2007-08), including being ranked in the final six weeks in ‘07-08, while receiving votes in eight campaigns total (‘15-16, ‘13-14, ‘12-13, ‘11-12, ‘08-09, ‘07-08 and ‘06-07). Mentioned in the AP Preseason Poll four times, including garnering three points in ‘16-17.

–  Became first C-USA women’s team to go 16-0 while claiming program’s initial league title in 2008.

–  Finished 15-1 in 2012 and won the program’s first conference tournament championship.

–  Own C-USA single-season record for winning streak at 23, which was set in 2007-08

–  The University of Texas at El Paso (founded in 1914) recently enjoyed a centennial celebration.

–  Notable alumni include former ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Sam Donaldson,  well-respected NFL referee Ed Hochuli, former NASA astronaut Danny Olivas engineer & Dennis Poon, who designed Taipei 101 & some of the tallest buildings in the world..

THE ADAMS FILE

–  UTEP’s all-time win leader Keitha Adams is 277-188 in her 16th year at the helm of the program. Overall she stands at 404-225 in her 21st year as a collegiate head coach, making her one of two active C-USA coaches (Southern Miss’ Joye Lee-McNelis is the other) with 400+ career collegiate wins.

–  Adams is the only three-time C-USA Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year (2016, 2012 and 2008).

–  All six 20+ win seasons and seven of the eight with 18+ victories have been during her tenure.

–  She is responsible for all four postseason bids (NCAA in 2012 and 2008; WNIT 2016 and 2014) and all four conference championships (2016 C-USA regular season, 2012 C-USA regular season and conference tournament and 2008 C-USA regular season) in school history.

–  Twenty of the 23 major individual career records at the school are held by players from her era.

–  Posted at least 16 wins in 10 seasons; there were three such campaigns in program’s first 27 years.

–  More than 120 games above .500 (236-114) since joining Conference USA for the 2005-06 season.

–  Earned votes in top-25 poll in eight seasons (‘15-16, ‘13-14, ‘12-13, ‘11-12, ‘08-09, ‘07-08 and ‘06-07).

–  Grabbed a top-25 ranking in two seasons (2015-16 and 2007-08; was in poll final six weeks of ‘07-08).

–  Never achieved national ranking, let alone even earn points in a poll, before Adams’s era.

–  UTEP has compiled 52 separate months with a winning percentage of .500 or better under Adams compared to just 20 with a losing record. Eight of those 20 came in her first two years.

–  Coached 24 players who have gone on to play professionally, including ‘08 WNBA draft picks Izabela Piekarska & Natasha Lacy.

–  Impacted the international game at the highest level, with Noni Wharemate representing New Zealand at ‘08 Olympic Games.

–  Every  player who has  exhausted her eligibility at UTEP during her tenure has graduated.

THIRD-BEST IN TEXAS SINCE 2006-07

–  The Miners have the third-most wins among all DI programs in Texas since 2006-07.

–  Recent national champions & 2014 NCAA Elite 8 participants Baylor (318-47) and Texas A&M (262-86) lead the way while UTEP (222-99), Texas (210-125, fourth) and TCU (189-133-fifth). Lamar (188-130-sixth),

Stephen F. Austin (179-134-seventh), Prairie View A&M (176-146-eighth), SMU (170-142-ninth) and Texas Tech (165-156-10th) account for the remainder of the top 10.

SPECIAL RUN

–  122-45 since the start of 2011-12 season (school-record tying 29-5 last year), with 74 double-digit wins.

–  One of 10 programs nationally (Baylor, Chattanooga, FGCU, James Madison, Maryland, Notre Dame, South Carolina and UConn) to have won 29+ games at least three times in the past five years,

–  Played postseason basketball in three of the past five years, with a pair of deep runs in the WNIT (2014 runner-up, 2016 quarterfinals) and securing the C-USA automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament (lost, first round).

–  Enjoyed 14 separate winning streaks of at least three games during that time frame.

–  Contrast that with one three-game losing skid and one six-game setback streak.

WINNING NUMBERS UNDER COACH ADAMS

–  213-43 when leading at halftime.

–  203-60 when keeping foes to less than 40 percent from the floor.

–  198-70 when committing fewer turnovers than opponents.

–  195-50 when connecting on at least 40 percent of their shots.

–  184-61 when winning the rebounding battle.

–  172-23 when scoring 70+ points, including 78-4 with 80+ points (11-0 with 90+ points and 4-0 100+ points).

–  145-35 when allowing less than 60 points.

–  92-14 when opposition has more turnovers than field goals.

–  77-4 with 80+ points (10-0 with 90+ points and 4-0 with 100+ points

HOME SWEET HOME

–  181-54 at home since 2002-03, with winning home records in all 14 of those seasons. Overall 182-66 in El Paso under head coach Keitha Adams.

–  80-17 in El Paso since 2011-12, but stands at 1-2 this year.

–  Posted the longest winning streak (19 games) in program history last year before falling in thee WNIT Quarterfinals (L, 67-71), to Pacific 12 powerhouse Oregon.

–  86-23 in non-conference regular-season home games under Adams, including 73-11 since 2006-07.

TRAVEL TIME

–  70-105 on the road under head coach Keitha Adams, hindered by 15-52 mark her first five years.

–  56-53 on the road since ‘06-07

–  32-22 on the road since ‘11-12 season.

–  Posted third-most road wins (8-3 record) in program history last year. Effort secured the fourth winning road record and sixth with road winning percentage of .500 or better under Adams. In the program’s first 27 years, UTEP’s best effort was finishing at .500 twice (2-2, ‘74-75 and 7-7, ‘92-93).

–  The Miners’ only non-conference road game on the docket is at New Mexico (Dec. 11).

CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS

–  Redshirt-senior Jenzel Nash (currently suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules) is among the Miner career leaders in many categories. She is fifth in steals (174), seventh in individual wins (87) and field-goals attempted (1,036), 10th in free throws made (237), 11th for field goals made (362), 12th in points (1,023), 14th for assists (194) and free throws attempted (334), tied 15th for three-pointers attempted (222), 23rd in games played (100) and 29th in rebounds (374).

–  Senior Sparkle Taylor is 15th for individual wins (71), 19th in field-goals made (324), 22nd for points (836), 25th in free throws made (171) and tied 24th in games played (97).

–  Junior Lulu McKinney is 12th in three-point attempts (238),  18th in three-pointers made (66) and tied 19th in assists (173). She is also closing in on 500 career points (444).

ALL ABOUT OPENERS

–  Northern Arizona knocked off UTEP, 65-51, on Nov. 11 to hand the Miners their first season-opening loss since 2009-10 (L, 66-54 at Florida Gulf Coast, 11/13/09).

–  Senior Sparkle Taylor erupted for a career-high 28 points, which were also the most by a Miner in a season opener since at least 1983-84 (prior records incomplete).

–  UTEP slipped to 23-20 all time in season openers, including 20-7 when doing so in El Paso.

–  The Miners fell to 10-6 in  campaign lidlifters under head coach Keitha Adams, including 8-3 when starting the year at home. Overall they are now 27-14 in home opener, including 12-4 under Adams.

CLIFFNOTES ON THE ‘16-17 SEASON

Texas Southern 89, at UTEP 68 (11/13/16)

–  Sparkle Taylor posted her third career double-double (14 points, 13 rebounds) but visiting Texas Southern rode the hot shooting of Kaitlyn Palmer (24 points) to knock off UTEP, 89-68, inside the Don Haskins Center Sunday afternoon.

–  Palmer connected on 8-16 from three-point range to lead a quartet of players in double figures for the Lady Tigers.  TSU, which has averaged 20 victories over the past four years, connected on 45.8 (33-72) of its shots while the youth-laden UTEP squad finished at 36.1 percent (27-72) from the floor.

–  UTEP won the boards (49-48) and forced 15 turnovers but was outscored, 44-30, in points in the paint while TSU also had a 25-7 advantage in points off turnovers.

–  Junior transfer Axelle Bernard stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, seven rebounds and five blocks in a team-high 34 minutes of action. Freshman Zuzanna Puc nearly recorded a double-double (nine points, 10 rebounds). Freshman Jakeira Ford (nine points, three rebounds), Junior Lulu McKinney (seven points, four assists), junior transfer Chanel Khammarath (five points, two steals), freshman Katarina Zec(five points, two rebounds) and sophomore Najala Howell (five points) buoyed the efforts of Taylor.

–  Taylor’s 13 rebounds were a career high, as were her 31 minutes played.

Northern Arizona 65, at UTEP 51 (11/11/16)

–  Senior Sparkle Taylor erupted for a career-high 28 points but Northern Arizona downed UTEP, 65-51, in the season opener for both squads at the Don Haskins Center Friday.

–  NAU wrapped a 20-2 run around halftime to put the Miners in a 15-point (36-21) hole with 7:28 to play in the third quarter. But Taylor, who was limited to four first-half points as result of picking up two early fouls, caught fire. She put on an offensive clinic, scoring 18 of UTEP’s next 20 points in the game to fuel a 20-4 run and propel the home side back ahead (41-40) with 2:21 to play in the third period. After going to the bench with her third foul, NAU scored the next nine points of the contest to pull back ahead (49-41) with 7:39 left in regulation. UTEP didn’t get closer than seven the rest of the way.

–  Junior-college transfer Axelle Bernard (five point, five rebounds) and redshirt-junior Tamara Seda (five points, seven rebounds) got involved as well offensively but no one else on the squad contributed more than four points. Freshman Jakeira Ford shared the team lead for rebounds at seven.

–  All eight Miner newcomers saw action in the game, and the Miners even had five freshman on the court at junctures during the game.

 

at UTEP 72, St. Mary’s 54 (Exhibition Game, 11/4/16)

–  Sparkle Taylor poured in 18 points while sophomore Najala Howell added 11 off the bench to help the UTEP knock off St. Mary’s (Texas), 72-54, in an exhibition contest on Nov. 4.

–  Crushed the Rattlers on the glass (55-35) with redshirt-junior Tamara Seda leading the way with 10 boards. UTEP’s depth also factored into the contest, with the Miners holding a 36-8 advantage from reserve scoring.

–  Things went back-and-forth early with four ties and five lead changes over a competitive first quarter of action. UTEP seized control during the second quarter, with Taylor coming alive for eight points to lead a 16-7 charge that afforded the Miners a 12-point cushion (37-25) at the break. St. Mary’s scored the first six points of the third quarter to cut the lead in half (39-33) but the Orange and Blue peeled off eight straight to put away the Rattlers for good.

–  All 14 Miners earned at least seven minutes of action, but Taylor (24 minutes) and junior-college transfer Axelle Bernard (20 minutes) were the only players to have 20+ minutes.

ALL ABOUT THE FANS

–  Tremendous support to help propel UTEP to a pair of deep runs in the WNIT (2014 runner-up honors, 2016 quarterfinals). Averaged 7,773 fans/game during all 10 (8-2 record) WNIT contests in El Paso.

–  Aiding those numbers were back-to-back sellouts (first in program history) in the semifinals and finals of the 2014 WNIT.

–  Ranked in the top-50 nationally for three of the past five years

–  Placed 28th in 2013-14 (3,793 avg.), 42nd in 2012-13 (2,708 avg.) & 46th in 2011-12 (2,639 avg.)

–  25-3 under head coach Keitha Adams in home games with 4,000+ fans.

2015-16 YEAR IN REVIEW

–  Put together one of the finest years in program history in 2015-16. The Miners equaled the school record for wins (29), took home the 2016 C-USA regular-season championship (16-2) and advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2016 WNIT. All four games in the WNIT were played in El Paso, with the Miners averaging 6,405 fans in the timeframe.

–  Set single campaign records set for steals (397) turnovers forced (706) with head coach Keitha Adams skillfully deploying a mixture of defensive schemes.

–  Received votes in the USA TODAY Sports women’s basketball coaches top-25 poll for six consecutive weeks, including breaking into the top 25 (#25) for the second time in school history the week of March 1-6. UTEP also picked up votes for a school-record 14 straight weeks in the AP Top-25 poll.

–  Became the first team in program history to put together three separate winning streaks of at least seven contests and set the school mark for longest home undefeated surge at 19.

–  Took home three of the six major individual awards from C-USA, with Keitha Adams (Coach of the Year), Starr Breedlove (Newcomer of the Year) and Sparkle Taylor (Sixth Player of the Year) being honored. UTEP also had a league-high three of the 16 All C-USA honorees and was the only team in the conference to have multiple individuals on the All-Defensive team.

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