The UTEP women’s basketball team (7-1) will face a tremendous test when it plays host to undefeated and No. 20/19 Arizona (8-0) at 1 p.m. MT Saturday.
“This is by far the best Arizona team they’ve had in many, many years. They were good last year but they added some more pieces to the puzzle. They could make a run in the NCAA Tournament. They could go pretty deep I think,” Miner head coach Kevin Baker shared. “They’ll be a frontrunner to win the Pac-12. I think that they are really going to be a dangerous team. As far as our team is concerned, we have nothing to lose in the game.”
The Miners are riding a four-game win streak, including besting Weber State, 70-51, on December 5. The 2019 WNIT Champion Wildcats have won 14 straight games dating to last year, including being off to an 8-0 start in 2019-20.
UTEP is playing for the second time in three days, in addition to closing out its seven-game homestand (5-1 in stretch).
UTEP is 7-1 on the year, its best start of the Kevin Baker era. It also is the top beginning to a season in four years (8-0, 2015-16). Five of the victories have been by double figures, including three of at least 20 points.
The Miners had their largest differential (+45) under Baker in a 92-47 drubbing of Alcorn State (11/16), in addition to toppling Western Michigan (11/29) by 30 (76-46) and a 20-point (65-45) dispatching of NM State (11/23).
UTEP is 1-19 all time against ranked opponents, most recently being clipped by eight (85-77) by No. 11 Penn State in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament on March 18, 2012. The Miners’ lone victory against a ranked team came in a 50-46 home win against No. 11 Utah on Jan. 31, 1998.
No. 20/19 Arizona is the first ranked team to face UTEP in El Paso since No. 22 Houston snuck past the Miners, 68-64, on March 10, 2011, in the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament.
The first 600 fans in attendance will receive a special UTEP T-shirt. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.
The game will be streamed on ESPN+ with Colin Deaver and Izabela Piekarska on the call. It will also be streamed through 600 ESPN El Paso with Brandon Cohn and Traci Miller on the call.