Eliana CabralI (lf) and Grace Alvarez (rt) | Photos courtesy UTEP

UTEP Women’s Basketball inks two guards in 2021 Recruiting Class

Head coach Kevin Baker and the UTEP Women’s Basketball program announced the signing of two guards, Eliana Cabral and Grace Alvarez, to their 2021 class Thursday morning. 

Cabral signs with the Miners after averaging 9.4 points per game with a 45.8 field goal percentage in her first season at New Mexico Junior College (2019-20), earning her Honorable Mention plaudits to the Western Junior College Athletic Conference’s All-Conference team.

The native of Montijo, Portugal, logged double-figure points on thirteen separate occasions her sophomore season and played a key role in the Lady Thunderbird offense down the stretch, averaging 15.2 points per game in NMJC’s final five games.

“We have been recruiting (Cabral) for several years now,” Baker said. “We have watched Eliana grow into a solid, all-around basketball player. She has the ability to attack the rim off the dribble, score from mid-range and has become a great shooter from the three-point line. She is very athletic and can defend well.

“Eliana is going to have a great year at NMJC and will emerge as one of the top players in the country,” Baker said. “We cannot wait for Eliana to join our team and play in the Haskins Center.”

Cabral also has experience competing for the Portugal National Team.

Also joining the UTEP backcourt in 2021 is point guard Grace Alvarez from Heights High School in Houston, Texas. Alvarez helped Heights to a 26-9 record, leading the Bulldogs with 18.8 points per game, 5.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.9 steals per game as a junior.

“The relationship I have built with the coaches and team over the past several months really made UTEP feel like home,” Alvarez said in an interview with Vype back in July. “Coach Baker and his staff really made me feel that they are invested in helping me grow as an individual and a player.”

(Alvarez) is one of the top high school players in the state of Texas,” Baker said. “She is a point guard that can score the ball multiple ways, create scoring opportunities for others and can rebound at a high level. Grace has terrific court vision and speed. She will fit in well with our high tempo and fast-paced offense. She has tremendous range from the three-point line. Grace is poised to have a great senior season and will prove to be one of the best players in the country.”