UTEP Women Open C-USA Play Saturday vs UTSA

The UTEP women’s basketball team (3-10, 0-0 C-USA) will begin Conference USA play by competing at UTSA (5-7, 0-0 C-USA) at 1 p.m. MT/2 p.m. CT Saturday.

“We are very excited to start Conference USA play. We will go in to San Antonio Saturday to play a UTSA team that is much improved from last season. Their interior post play has been solid this year and they do not give up many points. Our team is aware how tough the challenge of playing a conference opponent on the road. I believe we will be ready to play,” said UTEP Head Coach Kevin Baker.

It is the first of two meetings on the year between the programs, with the Roadrunners making the trek to El Paso on February 23.

The Miners were upended, 66-45, in their nonconference finale at Tulsa on Dec. 29. UTSA tasted victory for the second time in the past three games by toppling Texas A&M-Kingsville, 86-55, on Dec. 30.

The Roadrunners are 5-3 at home on the season while the Miners will be in search of their first road triumph (0-4) of the campaign.

UTEP is 10-3 in Conference USA openers since joining the league (2005-06), aided by winning eight of the last nine. The Miners are 1-0 under Kevin Baker in the situation, emerging victorious at FIU, 77-76, on Jan. 5, 2018. Overall UTEP stands 15-22 all time in conference lid lifters.

Saturday’s contest marks the third time in the past four years that the Orange and Blue will begin league action on the road.

UTSA leads the series with the Miners, 22-11, including a mark of 12-4 all time vs. UTEP in San Antonio. The squads split the season series in 2017-18, with the road team tasting victory in both contests. The Roadrunners have a 6-4 advantage since joining C-USA, including a mark of 3-2 when playing at home.

The series dates to the 1980’s when both squads were members of the Oil Country Athletic Conference.

UTEP surged out to a 34-22 halftime lead but UTSA rode the hot hand of Crystal Chidomere to rally past the Miners, 58-55, at the Don Haskins Center on Feb. 23. Chidomere tallied 23 of her game-high 29 points in the second half to help the Roadrunners slip past the Miners. UTEP has now dropped four straight games by a combined 12 points.

Najala Howell registered 17 points to pace the Miners, but her potential game-tying 3-point shot in the waning seconds rimmed out as UTSA completed its comeback. Tamara Seda scored 11 points to join Howell in double figures while Jordan Alexander added nine points. UTEP shot 44.0 percent (22-50) to UTSA’s 41.5 percent (22-53) but made 19 turnovers while also being outrebounded, 35-29. Marie Benson recorded 14 points to buoy the efforts of Chidomere.

UTEP’S opponents have a combined win/loss record of 86-73 (54.1) on the season, with the 10 losses on the year coming against teams that are a combined 70-36 (66.0).

Six of UTEP’s 10 losses have come by seven points or less, with a pair of one-point setbacks, one by two points, one by four points, one by five points and one by seven points. The Miners have held a lead in seven of the setbacks, including double-digit advantages against both Arkansas State (12/1/18) and at New Mexico (12/5/18).

The game will be streamed online at ESPN+.