The UTEP women’s basketball team will challenge Idaho State in the 2011-12 campaign lidlifter for both squads inside the Don Haskins Center at 1:05 p.m. MST Saturday.
There are a lot of great promotional items on tap for the game against the Bengals. Each fan will get a 2011-12 team poster, along with a raffle ticket that enters them into winning one of four premium items at Saturday’s contest. The ticket also automatically enters the fan into the “Grand Prize Giveaway Nights” which will take place on Nov. 29 (New Mexico State), Jan. 22 (Houston) and Feb. 26 (Rice).
There will also be in-game promotions in the stands, and on the court, where fans can win great prizes. Following the game there will be a free skills clinic, which is open to all individuals eighth grade and under.
“We’re very excited to play our opening game,” UTEP head coach Keitha Adams said. “Idaho State has a really good, veteran team. We know we will have to be ready to play. Miner fans, come be a part of a great afternoon of college basketball.”
The Miners dispatched St. Mary’s, 79-56, in their lone exhibition contest on the year on Nov. 5. Freshman Jenzel Nash paced the squad with 15 points to lead a balanced UTEP offense. Junior Kristine Vitola (13 points, 11 rebounds) and sophomore Kayla Thornton (11 points, 10 rebounds) each recorded a double-double while junior Anete Steinberga (11 points) and freshman Chrishauna Parker (10 points) also reached double figures in scoring.
ISU also impressed in its exhibition game, dismantling Montana Western, 100-61, on Nov. 16. Six different players tallied at least seven points, with junior forward Jessa Jeppesen leading the way with 19 points.
The Bengals return all five starters and eight letterwinners overall from last year’s squad, which went 18-12 to finish with the third-highest win total in program history. Highlighting the returnees is a trio of 2011 Big Sky All-Conference performers, in the form of senior Chelsea Pickering (first team) and juniors Kaela Oakes and Ashleigh Vella (honorable mention.
Saturday’s showdown marks the second meeting all time between the programs. The Miners downed the Bengals, 77-66, in the first round of the UTEP Thanksgiving Classic on Nov. 26, 2010.
Audio and video of the game will be streamed live online through the all-access section of UTEPAthletics.com.