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EL PASO, Texas
–The UTEP women's basketball team will square off against Division II member Western New Mexico in an exhibition contest at the Don Haskins Center at 1 p.m. MT Saturday. It marks the first of two exhibition games on the docket, with the Miners also set to play host to Division II St. Mary's (Texas) on Nov. 4 (1 p.m.). Admission is free for both tilts.
"We are very excited and ready to play our first exhibition game," UTEP head coach Kevin Baker
said. "We have been working hard and scrimmaging each other since this summer, and we welcome the idea of playing another opponent. Our staff will use this game as a way to evaluate where we are as team at this point in the season."
UTEP returns four letter winners (senior forward Jordan Alexander
-8.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, junior forward Zuzanna Puc
-9.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, junior guard/forward Katarina Zec
-9.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg and sophomore point guard Jordan Jenkins
-2.0 ppg, 1.4 apg,) from last year's squad. Two players who redshirted (junior guard/forward Ariona Gill
and junior point guard Neidy Ocuane
) are eligible to compete this year.
The Miners also have six newcomers (freshman guard Eliana Cabral
, sophomore guard Alexa Hoy
, freshman guard Sabine Lipe
, junior guard/forward Jade Rochelle
, freshman point guard Conchi Satorre
and freshman forward Ariana Taylor
) on the squad, with four true freshmen and two junior-college transfers. Cabral is slated to sit out the season as a redshirt, but the other five individuals could make an impact.
The Miners compiled an overall record of 17-14 (7-9 in C-USA play, 9-4 in non-conference action) to surge past the 2016-17 team's overall victory total (8-23) by nine wins while also exceeding the number of league victories (5-13 C-USA). The effort allowed Baker to become the most successful first-year head coach at the school in program history. The squad showed an innate toughness, setting the school standard for most wins (7-5) in a season for tilts decided by five points or less.
UTEP finished with the second-highest shooting percentage (.435) in a season in program history, drilling 710-1632 from the floor. Only the 1980-81 unit shot it better (.450).
UTEP converted on the second-highest free-throw percentage (.735) in school history, sinking 435-587 attempts. That trailed only the efforts (.746) of the 2002-03 squad The Orange and Blue also sported the second-best rebounding margin (+7.9) in program history, winning the battle of the boards (39.2-31.3). The 2011-12 squad remains the best in the category with a +9.5 margin (44.2-34.7).
Season tickets for the 2018-19 campaign remain on sale and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-6150.