Photo courtesy UTEP
IRVING, Texas – Katarina Zec (All C-USA second-team) and Katia Gallegos (C-USA All-Freshman team) both picked up honors from Conference USA, the league office revealed Monday.
Zec, who was named to the league’s five-member All-Academic team on March 6, secured her second honor of the postseason.
“No one works harder or is more committed that Katarina Zec,” UTEP head coach Kevin Baker said. “So to see her become an all-conference player is not surprising at all. There is not a player that deserves it more than Kat. She has been an amazing player for us all season and put together a solid senior year. She is a top player in C-USA, and is proof that hard work and total dedication pays off.”
Gallegos becomes the first Miner to be named to an All-Freshman squad in five years after a sensational first year with the Orange and Blue.
“This has been a very unique year for freshmen on C-USA teams,” Baker said. “Many freshmen made huge impacts on their respective teams. Katia being selected to the All-Freshmen team is even a bigger accomplishment than usual. She has proven to be not only one of the top freshmen in C-USA, but also one of the best overall players in the league. She led the conference in assists and was one of the biggest reasons for our turnaround this season. Katia is a special player that will continue to be honored and set records in her career at UTEP.”
Zec turned in a banner senior season, leading the team in scoring (12.8 ppg), minutes per game (31.8), 3-pointers made (41) and 3-pointers attempted (116). She has been incredibly consistent, having reached double figures in scoring in 34 of the past 41 contests dating to last year.
The effort allowed her to become a member of the 1,000-point club at UTEP, with her total of 1,112 career points currently ranking eighth all time in program history.
The native of Serbia has displayed an all-around game, rating second on the squad in rebounding (5.1 rpg) and third in steals (34). She poured in a career-high tying 22 points against Old Dominion on Feb. 8, while netting 21 in the win at Southern Miss on Jan. 9. She has started every contest on the year, hitting at least three triples in five different contests.
Gallegos enjoyed a record-setting year for her hometown Miners. She has dished out a UTEP freshman single-season record 146 assists, which broke a 15-year old mark that was previously held by Shalana Taylor (142, 2004-05). She paces C-USA and is 34th nationally for assists per game (5.0). She is also third in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.7).
Gallegos has stuffed the stat sheet across the board, topping the squad in steals (50), while ranking third on the unit for both scoring (9.7 ppg) and rebounding (4.7 rpg). She has started all 29 games on the year, earning the second-most minutes per game (30.0 mpg) on the roster.
Zec, Gallegos and the rest of the squad will open play this week at the 2020 Conference USA Air Force Reserve Conference USA Women’s Basketball Championships presented by Baylor Scott & White Sports Performance Center at The Star.
The Miners will be seeded seventh and will square off against 10th-seeded Florida Atlantic at 12:30 p.m. MT/1:30 p.m. CT Wednesday in the first round of the event. The winner will advance to face second-seeded Old Dominion.
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