• September 28, 2021
 UTEP to take on former league rival SMU Thursday

UTEP to take on former league rival SMU Thursday

After a break for finals the UTEP women’s basketball team (7-2) will return to action by playing at former WAC and Conference USA member SMU (4-4) at 4 p.m. MT on Thursday.

“SMU is a very dangerous team because they are so athletic. They do not always score on a first shot. They hit the offensive boards hard. They will also be a tough road test for our team. But we have been playing well , and I expect a great game,” head coach Kevin Baker shared.

The Miners had a four-game winning streak snapped by No. 20/19 Arizona, 54-43, on Dec. 7. The Mustangs are coming off a 66-51 vanquishing of North Dakota on Dec. 9.

It will mark the second and final nonconference road game for UTEP, which emerged victorious at I-10 rival NM State, 63-57, on Nov. 13. SMU is 3-3 at home, including a victory over defending C-USA Champion Rice.

A win would afford UTEP its first 2-0 start on the road since 2011-12 and fourth overall in program history. Incredibly enough the 2011-12 team holds the school standard for best road start at 3-0; it went on to finish 11-1 on the road. UTEP was also 2-0 on the road in 1998-99 and 2006-07.

Thursday’s game will be streamed live online through PonyUpTV.

UTEP is off to a 7-2 start on the year, which is a stark reversal from a year ago. The Miners were 2-7 at this juncture in 2018-19, and eventually finished the year at 9-22. UTEP could match its overall win total from a year ago before conference play begins if it is able to pick up a road win at SMU and then knock off Tulsa at home. 

Five of UTEP’s victories have been by double figures, including three of at least 20 points. The Miners had their largest differential (+45) under head coach Kevin 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).

It marks the first time since 2013-14 that UTEP posted at least three nonconference wins against DI programs by 20+ points. That year the Miners had six such efforts prior to league action.

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

Up next, the Miners will be break for the holidays before wrapping up nonconference play at home against Tulsa at 1 p.m. MT on Dec. 29. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.

Staff Report

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