POSTED: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 3:07pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 - 5:52pm
UTEP head women’s basketball coach Keitha Adams released the 2010-11 schedule on Wednesday, with 10 games against teams which earned postseason bids last year, matchups against both New Mexico and New Mexico State and a potential showdown against Arkansas at the fourth-annual UTEP Thanksgiving Classic highlighting the slate.
“I think we have a great schedule,” Adams said. “I’m looking forward to this season. We will play a lot of home games early on, which will be a good opportunity for our fans to get to know our team. It is a competitive schedule which will allow our team to be battle tested by the time conference play rolls around.”
The Miners, who have the best winning percentage in Conference USA over the past four years (84-40; .677), will tune up for the campaign by facing St. Mary’s University in an exhibition contest on Nov. 7.
UTEP will tip off its 28-game regular-season slate by playing host to UC Irvine on Nov. 13. It will mark the first of 17 home contests on the year, with the Miners aiming to improve upon their dominant mark of 55-11 in the Sun City since the start of the 2006-07 season.
Tilts against the Aggies (Nov. 17), Eastern New Mexico (Nov. 20) and Alcorn State (Nov. 22) will follow before Arkansas, High Point and Idaho State venture to El Paso to help comprise the field for the Thanksgiving Classic. The Miners will take on ISU, 15-15 a year ago, in the first round of play on Nov. 26. The third/fourth-place game and championship contest are slated for Nov. 27.
UTEP will wrap up the season-opening seven-contest homestand by facing Cal State Northridge on Dec. 3. The Miners will travel to picturesque Santa Barbara, Calif., to take on UC Santa Barbara in their road opener on Dec. 11, which will be followed by the final two non-conference home games.
After taking on in-state foe Texas State (Dec. 17), UTEP will square off against the Lobos on Dec. 20. A quick turnaround will send the Miners to the “Centennial State” to take on Denver, 18-13 last year, on Dec. 22. The Miners will conclude non-league play by locking up with NM State at the Pan-American Center on Jan. 2.
UTEP will then turn its attention to what is shaping up to be a very competitive and compelling Conference USA season. It will open up at home against rival East Carolina (Jan. 6). Houston (Jan. 16), Rice (Jan. 20) and Tulsa (Jan. 27) also visit El Paso in January. There will also be four road games in the month, with UTEP playing at Marshall (Jan. 9), Memphis (Jan. 13), SMU (Jan. 23) and Tulane (Jan. 30).
UAB invades the Don Haskins Center on Feb. 6 before the Miners make their way to the Eastern Time Zone for the second time of the year to take on UCF (Feb. 10). UTEP will return to El Paso in order to challenge the defending C-USA Champions Green Wave (Feb.13). A long weekend in the “Space City” will pit the Miners against Rice (Feb. 17) and Houston (Feb. 20).
The month will wrap with a pair of games at home, in the form of Southern Miss (Feb. 24) and SMU (Feb. 27). UTEP concludes the 16-game conference slate at Tulsa (March 3).
The Miners will host the 2011 C-USA Championship from March 9-12. All-session ticket passes to the league’s pinnacle event may be purchased for $50. Season tickets for the season are also on sale, with $50 guaranteeing individuals a reserved floor seat for every regular-season game. Please call (915) 747-6150 for all ticket orders and inquiries.
UTEP will return seven letterwinners from last year’s squad (16-16), including five individuals who started at last 15 games during the 2009-10 campaign. Notable returnees include juniors Dietra Caldwell (2009 C-USA Freshman of the Year) and Briana Green (two-year starter), sophomore Anete Steinberga (2010 All C-USA freshman team) and senior sharpshooter Sviatlana Trukshanina (.436 career three-point FG%). Buoying the returnees will be seven newcomers (four transfers and three true freshmen).
Adams, the winningest coach in program history, is entering her 10th year at the helm of the program. She has directed UTEP to a mark of 139-129, including 136-104 over the last eight years. Adams has led the Miners the team to four winning campaigns overall. The effort matches the total of such seasons from the 1978-79 campaign until the 2002-03 campaign (26 such campaigns).