After a lengthy break for finals week, UTEP (2-5) will play at I-25 rival New Mexico (3-5) at 2 p.m. Sunday. The Miners haven’t played since pounding Houston Baptist, 75-45, on Nov. 30 while the Lobos were edged, 69-65, at home vs. Minnesota on Dec. 6.
This is the first and only road contest during non-league action for the Miners. The match-up kicks off “Rivalry Week,” with UTEP to play host to NM State in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 at 7:05 p.m. MST on Dec. 15.
Fans should arrive early for the unveiling of the 2016 Conference USA Regular-Season Championship banner and WNIT participant (advanced to quarterfinals) banner..
UTEP was saddled with a losing record in the month of the November for the first time in 13 years (1-2 in 2003-04), but in part that can be attributed to ranking 60th in strength of schedule according to the most-recent NCAA data. Another factor is the relative inexperience of the squad.
Nine of the 14 student-athletes on the Miners’ roster are in their first year of playing games at the D1 level. Moreover, there are seven freshmen.
UNM is 3-3 at home, averaging 4,465 fans (16th nation) in those six games. Keitha Adams is no stranger to big crowds; her squads are 28-9 when playing in front of 4,000+ fans (25-3 at home, 3-6 on the road), including 1-2 in the situation at New Mexico.
The game will be broadcast on 600 ESPN El Paso, KROD-AM Radio, with Duke Keith on the call. The Mountain West Network will be live-streaming the game for free on its website. Fans can also stay up-to-date by following the Miners on twitter (@UTEPWBB).
INSIDE THE SERIES
– New Mexico leads the series, 31-17, but the Miners are 5-2 against the Lobos since the 2007-08 season.
– UTEP won 70-62 in El Paso on Dec. 2, 2015, in the lone meeting between the programs last year.
– UNM is 19-4 vs. UTEP in Albuquerque, including a 72-57 win in the last meeting at The Pit (12/14/14).
– The two programs faced off at least once per year from 1974-75 through 1986-87.
– The rivalry resumed in 1991 & continued through 1998-99 when both schools were members of the WAC.
THE LAST MEETING WITH New Mexico (at UTEP 70, New Mexico 62, Nov. 15, 2015)
– Lulu McKinney poured in a career-high 22 points on her birthday to help keep the UTEP undefeated on the year following a 70-62 win against I-25 rival New Mexico on Dec. 2.
– The Miners led wire-to-wire, with a game-opening 14-2 run putting the Lobos in a big hole.
– UTEP hit 12-of-24 from three-point range (tied for sixth most all time at UTEP), with McKinney connecting on a ridiculous 6-of-8 (tied fourth all time at UTEP) from beyond-the-arc.
– Cameasha Turner (16 points) and Starr Breedlove (11 points) joined McKinney in double figures.
– UTEP made only seven turnovers (tied for sixth fewest in a game) and had 17 assists on 23 field goals.