FILE: UTEP #12 Sparkle Taylor was the 2016 C-USA Sixth Player of the Year for the regular-season champion Miners. She also helped UTEP earn runner-up honors at the 2014 WNIT and advance to the quarterfinals in 2016
IRVING, Texas- After a historic performance UTEP senior guard Sparkle Taylor has been voted as the Conference USA Women’s Basketball Player of the Week, it was revealed by the league office Monday morning.
Taylor scored 34 points against both North Texas (2/16) and Rice (2/18) to become the first player in program history to post back-to-back 30+ point games.
“Sparkle is a great young lady whom I’ve enjoyed coaching these four years,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “I’m happy for her to receive this honor.”
Taylor accumulated 68 points (34.0 points/game) on a combined 65.7 percent (23-35) shooting from the floor and 80.8 percent (21-26) at the charity stripe. She also nailed her only 3-point attempt, which was just her second make from beyond-the-arc this year.
Taylor drilled better than 63 percent from the field in both of the games while connecting on at least 75 percent at the free-throw line in each contest as well. The Flint, Mich., native also got after it on the glass by averaging 9.0 rebounds. She had seven boards against North Texas while snaring 11 against Rice for her third double-double this season.
Taylor set the tone for the week with a career-high 34 points against North Texas (2/16). It was the most points by a Miner in a league game in 26 years (Holly Russ, 35 vs. San Diego State-1/19/91) and tied as the sixth-highest scoring output in program history.
She sunk 11-16 from the floor while also setting career bests for free throws made (12) and attempted (16). The 12 makes tie for eighth most at UTEP while the 16 attempts earned her a share of 10th.
Taylor was especially effective in the third quarter, scoring 13 of UTEP’s 18 points in the frame. That tied as the fourth-most points by a Miner in a quarter. She now has four quarters with 13+ points, the most by any Miner in the four-quarter format era (started 2015-16).
Just two days later and against the top-defensive team in C-USA-Rice entered the game ranked first in the league in scoring defense (58.8) and second in field-goal percentage defense (37.9)- Taylor did it again. She set the tone early by tallying 10 points and continued to pile them up as the contest progressed.
She drilled 12-19 from the field, including 1-1 from distance, while making 9-10 at the free-throw line. Taylor also had the big rebounding day with the aforementioned 11 boards.
Taylor and the rest of the Miners will return to action with the final homestand of the season. Florida Atlantic will serve as the opponent for UTEP’s annual “Play 4 Kay” game at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday. In an effort to raise the awareness for the battle against breast cancer, all fans who will free will get in free. The Miners will then look to send Taylor out in style on “Senior Day” against FIU at 2 p.m. Saturday.