UTEP Sophomore Guard Katia Gallegos | Photo by Michael Reese

UTEP women’s basketball team lands 6th in C-USA Poll; Gallegos Voted Preseason All-Conference

UTEP women’s basketball was voted to finish sixth in the 2020-21 Conference USA Preseason Poll, the league announced Wednesday morning.

Sophomore guard Katia Gallegos was also selected to the 2020-21 C-USA Preseason Team, making her the first Miner to appear on the list since Jenzel Nash and Sparkle Taylor in 2016-17.

This is also the highest preseason slot UTEP has received since the 2016-17 season. Middle Tennessee is the favorite to win the league this year, while Rice and Old Dominion also received first-place votes.

Last season, the Miners improved by seven wins to a 16-14 record (8-10, C-USA) in head coach Kevin Baker’s third year at the helm of the program. UTEP notched a victory over Florida Atlantic, 95-67, in the conference tournament before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Miner offense averaged 72.6 points per game, good for third-best in the conference.

As one of three sophomores and the lone Miner featured on the 2020-21 C-USA Preseason Team, Gallegos returns for UTEP this season after leading the team in assists (154), assists per game (5.1), steals (52) and steals per game (1.7) as a freshman.

Gallegos also led Conference USA in assists (154) in her rookie campaign, averaging 5.1 per contest, while she was third on the team in scoring with 9.6 points per game.

The El Paso native and Franklin High School alumna scored a career-high 23 points in an 89-72 victory over Southern Miss. Gallegos’ career-high in helpers (12) came on February 2, 2020, to sweep the season series with the Lady Golden Eagles.

2020-21 C-USA Preseason Poll (first-place votes)

  1. Middle Tennessee (8)
  2. Rice (3)
  3. Old Dominion (3)
  4. Charlotte
  5. WKU
  6. UTEP
  7. UAB
  8. North Texas
  9. Louisiana Tech
  10. Florida Atlantic
  11. Southern Miss
  12. Marshall
  13. UTSA
  14. FIU

2020-21 C-USA Preseason Team

Katia Gallegos, UTEP

Mariah Linney, Charlotte

Amber Dixon, Louisiana Tech

Savannah Wheeler, Marshall

Aislynn Hayes, Middle Tennessee

Anastasia Hayes, Middle Tennessee *

Nancy Mulkey, Rice *

Amari Young, Old Dominion

Ajah Wayne, Old Dominion

*Co-Preseason Players of the Year