Game Notes In PDF Format
The UTEP women's basketball team (2-0) will lock up with NM State (2-0) in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 at 1 p.m. MT Saturday. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234. The contest continues the Miners' season-opening five-game homestand. UTEP pushed its record to 2-0 on the year after downing CSU Bakersfield, 53-47, on Nov. 14. The Aggies are also 2-0 on the year, including 1-0 on the road. Last time out they emerged victorious at Western Michigan, 66-54, on Nov. 11. The contest will be broadcast locally on 600 ESPN El Paso with Steve Kaplowitz and Traci Miller on the call. There will also be a live stream on CUSAtv.com (subscription based).
NCAA women's basketball games are played in four 10-minute quarters. Teams reach the bonus and shoot two free throws on the fifth team foul in each quarter. In the four-quarter format, team fouls reset to zero at the start of each frame. Teams have four timeouts (three 30s, one 60), three of which carry over to the second half. They will be able to advance the ball to the frontcourt after a timeout with less than 59.9 seconds in 4Q. There are seven media timeouts (four under five minutes in quarter/first called), two intermission media timeouts (after first and third quarters) and the first team-called timeout during the second half. Bands or amplified music may play during any dead ball.
NM State got off to a 2-0 start on the year, outscoring its opponents by an average 22 points. The defending four-time WAC champions are led by the duo of Brooke Salas (22.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Gia Pack (16.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg). Nana Sule (7.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.o bpg) has also proven to be a key contributor. NM State was voted to finish first in the WAC preseason poll in quest of its fifth consecutive regular season title. Salas was dubbed preseason WAC Player of the Year. The team returns three starters and eight letter winners overall from last year's team that went 18-13, including a 11-3 conference record. At the helm is second-year head coach Brooke Atkinson (18-13 overall record), who led the Aggies to a postseason appearance in the WNIT. They have top-100 NCAA rankings for fewest fouls per game (14.5-43rd), rebound margin (12.0-48th), scoring margin (22-64th), free-throw percentage (74.4-72nd), and turnovers forced (21.5-72nd). Individually Salas is ranked in the top-100 nationally in three different categories. The senior sits 40th in the nation in points per game with 22.0 (second in the WAC), 42nd in field-goal percentage at 66.7 (first in the WAC) and 73rd in field goals made with 18 (third in the WAC). New Mexico State is a major university in Las Cruces, N.M., which was founded in 1888 under the name of Las Cruces College. Notable alumni include actor Scott Bailey, who is best known for his playing the role of Sandy Foster on the CBS soap opera Guiding Light, and former Olympic basketball player Chito Reyes. Additionally, Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered the planet Pluto (since reclassified to a dwarf planet), taught astronomy at the school from 1955 until his retirement in 1973.
"New Mexico State has a really solid team this year, led by Brook Salas and Gia Pack. They are off to a good start at 2-0 and will be a challenging matchup for our team. Saturday should be a fun rivalry game for our kids, and I look forward to watching them compete. Our fans have been awesome so far this year, and we hope they will come out this week and keep supporting this great group of Miners."
NM State leads the longest running series in program history, 49-37, but the Miners hold a 26-18 advantage in El Paso. UTEP is 15-7 against the Aggies since the start of the 2005-06 season, but NM State has claimed the past two meetings. Last year the Aggies downed UTEP, 76-68, in El Paso (12/10/17), while in 2016-17 they successfully defended their homecourt, 67-56 (12/15/16). The rivals played at least twice every year from the inception of UTEP's program (1974-75) through 2013-14, but for the fifth straight year the two programs will square off just once.
Katarina Zec poured in a career-high 22 points while matching the program record for 3-pointers with seven but homestanding NM State downed UTEP, 76-68, inside the Pan-American Center on Dec. 10, 2017. The Miners led by one (34-33) at the half before the Aggies used a huge third quarter (25-13) to surge into the lead. The margin swelled to as many as 15 (67-52) before UTEP eventually struck back with a 7-0 run to cut it to seven (69-62) but it was too little too late. Both squads shot well from the floor (UTEP 44.8 percent, NM State 45.3 percent) while also nailing 12 three pointers each, but NM State converted 21 UTEP turnovers into 23 points to create some separation. Conversely NM State's 11 giveaways led to seven UTEP points. The Miners tried to make up for it by winning the boards (40-31) for the eighth time in as many games, which resulted in a 12-4 cushion in second chance points, but it wasn't enough. Tamara Seda joined Zec in double figures with 12 points while Jordan Alexander flirted with a double-double (eight points, career-high 11 rebounds). Najala Howell and Roeshonda Pattersoneach finished with nine in the game.
Zuzanna Puc registered her fifth career double-double (12 points, personal-best tying 12 rebounds), and the defense did the rest in UTEP's 53-47 win against CSU Bakersfield at the Don Haskins Center on Nov. 14. The Miners held the Roadrunners to 28.8 percent (17-59) from the field, while also winning the rebounding battle (46-34) in the tightly-contested ballgame. UTEP outscored CSUB, 19-9, in the final frame to rally back from a four-point deficit (38-34) through 30 minutes of action. There were six ties and eight lead changes, with the final with coming during a 9-0 Miner run in the fourth quarter. The surge, which spanned roughly five minutes, turned a 41-36 deficit into a 45-41 advantage. UTEP never relinquished the lead from that point. The biggest shot was a 3-pointer by Neidy Ocuane, which proved to be the lone triple (1-20) of the game for the Orange and Blue. CSUB did fight back to tie the contest, 47-47, but the Miners pitched a shutout over the final 2:18. Katarina Zec connected on 6-8 at the charity stripe in that sequence to give the home side just enough to pull out the win. Zec finished with nine points and eight boards to support Puc, while Jordan Alexander contributed eight points and a quartet of rebounds. Sophomore Jordan Jenkins added six points and a career-high tying five boards. The Roadrunners were led by 13 points and 12 boards from Malayasia McHenry. CSUB's Alexxus Gilbert and Jazmine Johnson were held to a total of 14 points on a combined 4-16 shooting. The duo entered the contest contributing 29.5 ppg on a combined 22-49 from the floor.
UTEP is off to a 2-0 start for the second straight season and third time in the past four years. The Miners are now 6-1 in the month in November under head coach Kevin Baker.
UTEP bested CSU Bakersfield, 53-47, on Nov. 14 despite finishing 1-20 from 3-point range. The only other time the Miners made one 3-pointer when attempting at least 20 shots from beyond the arc was when they went 1-21 in an 80-44 loss at New Mexico on Feb. 27, 1992. In the season opener the Miners had 27 turnovers but won by 26 points, the largest margin of victory in program history in the 65 games (14-51 record) with at least 27 giveaways.
UTEP has kept the first two opponents to a total of 98 points (49.0 ppg, first C-USA/39th NCAA). Alcorn State tallied 51 points on Nov. 10 before CSUB was held to 47 on Nov. 14. It marks the first time since 2013-14 that the Miners have limited consecutive DI opponents to 51 points or less. That year UTEP did so in three straight dominating performances (W, 84-39, Kansas State, 11/16/13, W, 92-43, NAU, 11/22/13 and W, 63-40, Northern Colorado, 11/27/13).
Making UTEP's defensive prowess even more impressive thus far in 2018-19 is that fact that it is doing so without a ton of whistles. The Miners lead C-USA in fewest fouls per game (16.5) and opponents have committed 17 more total infractions (50-33) than UTEP thus far.
UTEP has won the rebounding battle in the first two contests, including tying for the sixth-best rebounding margin (+27, 48-21) in program history in the opener against Alcorn State (11/10). The Miners enter Saturday's game vs. NM State at +19.5 on the glass (first C-USA/11th), aided by having both Zuzanna Puc (9.5 rpg, second) and Katarina Zec (8.5 rpg, tied sixth) among the top 10 in C-USA Nearly half (nine of 19) of Puc's rebounds have come at the offensive end, allowing her to pace the league in offensive boards per game. Meanwhile, 15 of Zec's 17 total rebounds have been of the defensive variety, which places her tied for first in the conference in defensive boards per game (7.5).
Ten different Miners are earning at least 10.0 minutes per game, with only Zuzanna Puc (31.0) and Katarina Zec (30.5) securing more than 30.0 mpg. All five starters are above 20.0 mpg, while Alexa Hoy (20.5 mpg) paces the reserves.
UTEP paces C-USA and is among the NCAA leaders in rebound margin (+19.5, 11th), rebounds per game (47.0, 33rd), scoring defense (49.0, 39th) and fewest fouls per game (16.5, 94th). The Miners are also in the upper echelon of C-USA/NCAA in defensive rebounds per game (34.0, second/23rd), field-goal percentage defense (.295, second/34th), 3-point field-goal percentage defense (.295, fourth/50th), assists per game (16.5, third/78th) and scoring margin (+16.0, fourth/91st).
Zuzanna Puc leads C-USA and is 27th nationally in field-goal percentage (72.2) and tops the league in offensive rebounds per game (4.5). Puc also is also among the C-USA/NCAA rankings in rebounds per game (9.5, second/104th), and scoring (15.0, tied 11th/250th).Katarina Zec is tied for the top spot in C-USA in defensive boards per game (7.5). Overall Zec grabs 8.5 rpg (tied sixth/167th). Jordan Jenkins is tied for seventh in the league in assists per game (3.5) while also being ranked in C-USA/NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.33; third/142nd).
Kevin Baker is in his second year (19-14) at the helm of the UTEP women's basketball team. He is in his 17th year overall (363-145) as a head coach, including his seventh season (141-44) as a college head coach. He has a unique background which has seen him rise through the coaching ranks from the high school level, to NCAA Division III, then NCAA Division II and now his NCAA Division I position at UTEP. He has set school records for wins at every previous stop of his career, and has taken every prior school to the postseason with a total of five district championships. He is an eight-time Coach of the Year. In his most-recent posts prior to UTEP, Baker's teams captured back-to-back conference championships at UT-Tyler and Angelo State. Baker led both a Division II (Angelo State) and Division III (UT-Tyler) school to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Kevin Baker set the school record for most wins (17-14) by a first-year Miner head coach in 2017-18, but that doesn't even begin to tell the whole story. The seven previous first-year head coaches had an average combined record of 8-17. Carol Ammermann (11-5, 1974-75) and Janet Wood (11-16, 1979-80) shared the school mark for wins (11). Baker obliterated that figure while also joining Ammermann as the lone individuals to experience a winning season in year one at UTEP. Furthermore, Baker became the initial first-year Miner head coach to taste victory at the league tournament.
Kevin Baker is the only coach in program history to get off to a start of at least 2-0 in each of their first two seasons (2-0 this year, 4-0 in '17-18). It's still very early, but if the Miners can finish above .500 (currently 2-0) Baker would become the first coach in program history to post winning records in each of their opening two seasons. Carol Ammermann went 11-5 in 1974-75, but slipped to 6-11 the ensuing year. Baker is the eighth head coach in program history.
The Miners are 8-0 under Kevin Baker ( 1-0 this year) when shooting at least 50 percent from the floor. Other notable records in the Baker era include being 14-4 (1-0 in '18-19) when tied or leading after three quarters, 9-1 (1-0 this year) when scoring 70+ points, 8-1 (1-0 this season) when drilling better than 40 percent from 3-point range (min. four makes) and 6-1 in November (1-0 in '18'19).
The 2018-19 season marks the 45th in program history. The 1974-75 squad, the inaugural one at UTEP, will be honored in the Miners' game against WKU on Feb. 2, 2019. The 1974-75 finished 11-5, including 8-1 in El Paso.
UTEP returned four letter winners (Jordan Alexander-8.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, Jordan Jenkins-2.0 ppg, 1.4 apg, Zuzanna Puc-9.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg and Katarina Zec-9.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg) from last year's squad (17-14, 7-9 C-USA). Also back are a pair of players (Ariona Gill and Neidy Ocuane) who sat out last year as redshirts. The Miners also added six newcomers (Eliana Cabral, freshman guard, Alexa Hoy, sophomore guard, Sabine Lipe, freshman guard, Jade Rochelle, junior guard/forward, Conchi Satorre, freshman point guard and Ariana Taylor, freshman forward), but Cabral is slated to take a redshirt year in 2018-19. The squad is under the direction of second-year head coach Kevin Baker, who is assisted by Lori Morris, Michael Madrid and Kayla Weaver.
Half (6-12) of the Miners' roster in 2018-19 is comprised of international players. It is the largest such ratio (50 percent) in program history Eliana Cabral (Portugal), Sabine Lipe (Latvia),Neidy Ocuane (Mozambique), Zuzanna Puc (Poland), Conchi Satorre (Spain) and Katarina Zec (Serbia) give UTEP a distinct international flavor this season.
The Miners feature five native Texans (Jordan Alexander, Dallas, Alexa Hoy, Rockwall,Jordan Jenkins, Tennessee Colony, Jade Rochelle, Grandview and Ariana Taylor, Houston) on the roster. The only other American on the team (Ariona Gill) hails from Las Vegas, Nev.
For the third straight season the Miners features a squad with just one senior (Jordan Alexander). She is far from alone in terms of leadership, with five juniors (Ariona Gill, Neidy Ocuane, Zuzanna Puc, Jade Rochelle and Katarina Zec) on the roster. Puc and Zec have earned a pair of letters for the Miners. Gill and Ocuane sat out last season as redshirts, while Rochelle is a transfer from Blinn College.
UTEP (2-0) has 29 games on tap in the 2018-19 regular season, including 15 slated to be played at the Don Haskins Center. The Miners will compete in a pair of tournaments (Seventh-Annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic and Las Vegas Christmas Shootout) during nonconference action. UTEP will also face both NM State (Nov. 17-home) and New Mexico (Dec. 5-road), in addition to Pacific-12 member Arizona (Dec. 17-road) and former C-USA foe Tulsa (Dec. 29-road). There are 16 C-USA games on the docket. The 2019 C-USA Championships will be held at The Star in Frisco, Texas, for the second straight year, with the winner clinching the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Miners have the fourth-highest winning percentage and fourth-most victories among all DI programs in the state of Texas since 2006-07. Power conference members Baylor (386-53, 87.9%), Texas A&M (311-109, 74.0%) and Texas (265-140, 65.4%) lead the way followed by the Miners (248-134, 64.9%). Lamar (235-143, 62.2%), Stephen F. Austin (227-147, 60.7%), TCU (224-164, 57.7%), Prairie View A&M (204-179, 53.3), SMU (198-176, 52.9%), and Texas Tech (187-196, 48.8%-10th) round out the top 10.
The Miners are 148-80 since the start of the 2011-12 season, with 86 double-digit victories in that time frame. UTEP has played postseason basketball three times during the stretch, making two deep runs in the WNIT (2014 runner-up, 2016 quarterfinals) and earning the C-USA automatic bid to the 2012 NCAA Tournament (lost, first round). The Orange and Blue have enjoyed 15 separate winning streaks of at least three games during that time frame.
UTEP has an all-time home record of 362-219, including standing 2-0 in the Don Haskins Center in 2018-19. The Miners have amassed a record of 162-45 at home since 2006-07, including 95-28 since 2011-12. Aiding that 95-28 mark was a school-record (winning percentage) 19-1 home record in 2015-16. UTEP has been particularly strong in nonconference play, standing 82-12 in the Sun City in such contests since 2006-07.
UTEP is 144-363 all time on the road, including finishing 5-8 in 2017-18. When playing at a neutral site the Miners stand 60-79, including 3-1 last year. Since the start of the 2006-07 season UTEP is 60-68 on the road, including 36-37 since 2011-12.
UTEP is 566-662 in its 45th season as a women's basketball program, including standing 2-0 in 2018-19. The Miners have made four postseason bids (2016,-WNIT quarterfinals; 2014-WNIT runner-up, 2012-NCAA first round and 2008-NCAA second round), sporting a combined record of 9-4 (8-2 WNIT, 1-2 NCAA). UTEP has claimed four league championships (2016 C-USA regular season, 2012 C-USA regular season and conference tournament and 2008 C-USA regular season). It has a 1-1 record all time in league tournament title games, cutting down the nets in 2012 and falling in 2008. There have been six 20+ win seasons (all since 2006-07), UTEP has cracked the top-25 poll in two seasons (2015-16, 2007-08), including being ranked in the final six weeks in '07-08, while receiving votes in seven campaigns total ('15-16, '13-14, '12-13, '11-12, '08-09, '07-08 and '06-07). The Miners have been mentioned in the AP Preseason Poll four times (most recent 2016-17). In 2008 UTEP became the first C-USA women's team to finish undefeated in league play (16-0) while claiming the program's initial league title. The Miners finished 15-1 in C-USA in 2012 in addition to also winning the program's first conference tournament championship. UTEP owns the C-USA single-season record for winning streak at 23, which was set in 2007-08. The University of Texas at El Paso was founded in 1914. Notable alumni include former ABC News Chief White House CorrespondentSam Donaldson, well-respected and former NFL referee Ed Hochuli, former NASA astronautDanny Olivas engineer & Dennis Poon, who designed Taipei 101 & some of the tallest buildings in the world.
The Miners compiled an overall record of 17-14 (7-9 in C-USA play, 9-4 in nonconference 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). UTEP also won a game at the C-USA tournament, and it even led top-seed UAB by five points late in the third quarter before ultimately succumbing, 75-66, on March 8, 2018.
Fans are encouraged to connect with the Miners on Facebook (UTEP Women's Basketball), Instagram (@utepwbb) and Twitter (@UTEPWBB).
The Miners will open up their seventh-annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic against Nicholls State at 3:30 p.m. MT on Nov. 23. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids, and may be purchased by calling (915) 747-5234.
Zuzanna Puc poured in 18 points to pace a quartet of players in double figures as the UTEP women's basketball team cruised to a 77-51 season-opening win vs. Alcorn State on Nov. 10.Ariona Gill (15 points), Jordan Jenkins (career-high 11 points, six assists) and Katarina Zec (11 points, personal-best tying nine rebounds) also got after it for the Miners. UTEP connected on 52.6 percent (30-57) from the floor, tied for the sixth-best rebounding margin (+27, 48-21) in program history and racked up 23 assists on 30 made field goals. They held ASU to 30.2 percent (16-53) shooting and forced 20 turnovers. Conchi Satorre pitched in five points and a trio of boards in 10 minutes of action to lead the reserves in scoring. The Lady Braves scored the first two points of the contest on a jumper, but UTEP punched back with a 12-0 surge over the next five minutes. The home side never trailed again.
UTEP's 26-point romp against Alcorn State served as its largest margin of victory under head coach Kevin Baker. The previous high was a 20-point differential (69-49) vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Nov. 18, 2017.
UTEP improved to 25-20 all time in season openers, including 21-7 when doing so in El Paso. The Miners are now 2-0 under Kevin Baker in season lidlifters.
UTEP tuned up for the 2018-19 season with a pair of exhibition games against NCAA Division II programs. The Miners downed Western New Mexico, 66-45, on Oct. 27, and dispatched St. Mary's (Texas), 70-51, on Nov. 4. Jordan Alexander (17 points, six rebounds) and Ariona Gill(14 points, rebounds) set the tone in the win vs. WNMU. Zuzanna Puc pitched in nine points and six boards while Jordan Jenkins added seven points and three assists. The Miners led by 15 (20-5) after the first quarter, and they were never truly threatened the rest of the way. Puc (15 points), Alexander (13 points, six rebounds) and Katarina Zec (10 points, four assists) set the tone in the victory vs. St. Mary's. Once again the Orange and Blue started strong, racing out to a 22-8 lead on the way to the 19-point win. UTEP drilled better than 44.0 percent from the floor in both contests while holding each of its foes to less than 31 percent shooting. It also forced 18+ turnovers in each tilt. All 10 Miners earned at least seven minutes of playing time in both games, but no one played more than 30 minutes.